If you couldn’t give someone a complete Bible, only a few books of it, what books would you choose? Likely, your answer includes one or more of the Gospels. As the true story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, the Gospels are of utmost importance in evangelism (and in our own faith). And last month, we looked at how the Psalms are helpful in outreach. We looked at how they help us express a range of emotions that show us that God not only understands but that He is also okay with our feelings. We also talked about how they show community and point us to Christ.
Well, at the time that article was posted, Concordia Gospel Outreach had actually sent out over five thousand copies of books featuring the Psalms and the Gospels with artwork from The Enduring Word Bible. These were placed into communities around the United States. Before COVID-19 hit the USA, CGO had already been working (thanks to generous donations) on this visual scriptural resource. We wanted to create an item that could be used to spread the Gospel with the actual Word and encourage people to dive into their personal study of the Word. We prayed that these books would be a blessing to ministries far and wide and that the Word of the Lord would be put into the hands of people who needed hope.
Into a Church Community
We sent copies of The Psalms and Gospels to many places, including my home state of Michigan. At Faith Lutheran Church in Grand Blanc, parish nurse Christie Hansard knew that during this pandemic her ministry would have to change and adapt to the new landscape. “I started doing phone visits with some of our parishioners, and it seemed to be received well. We set up a table at church with hymnals and devotional resources for home church,” says Hansard. Her congregation’s goal was to switch to a more digital format to keep their members in worship.
When Hansard saw that she could add The Psalms and Gospels into these materials, she jumped at the chance. Her congregation received thirty-six copies to give out. “I had sixteen contacts the first day. I printed up a prayer card and wrapped twelve colored pencils together and put it all in a gallon bag.” says Hansard.
The members who received these have been blessed by the Visual Faith movement through the comfort of the Word.
Outside of Their Church Community
But it isn’t only the congregation of Faith Lutheran Church that has received The Psalms and Gospels. An acquaintance of Hansard’s mentioned that she had started attending a local church through their online services. She didn’t belong to a church and hadn’t been going to one prior to the stay-at-home orders in the state. “I told her about our project and she asked if she and her daughter could have one of the Bibles. I quickly ran two of them over to her house.” This started a series of porch-drop offs where Christie and her team ran the rest of these copies directly to the houses of those who wanted to learn more about God’s Word. God promises to work through His Word, and the congregation at Faith Grand Blanc is seeing movement. Christie has led online devotions based on the Psalms and the Gospels for her Church and has seen a deep interest in using the Visual Faith movement to enhance their time in the Word. They are planning on hosting a Visual Faith retreat when it is safe to do so.
Christie said of her church’s response to this global pandemic, “I would like to think we are giving our parishioners wrap-around care: phone, video, and drop offs, all pointing to Jesus—who He is, what He has done for us, and how He continues to care for us in our daily lives. Thanks to Concordia Publishing House, we can spread the Gospel even in the midst of a pandemic.”