Starting a Church Book Table, Part 1

Last week I wrote advocating for your church to start a book table. Regardless of the size of your congregation, providing good reading material for your people will be to their spiritual benefit in two ways. First, they’ll be reading books that nurture them. Second, you’ll hopefully wean them off of Amish romance novels, fiction (real or otherwise) books about end times events, and books that masquerade as Christian but are in reality heretical. You’d be surprised what your people may be reading.

You do not have to invest a large sum of money to get started with a book table. Depending on the size of your church and the resources available, $250 will get you off to a start. If you can afford $500-$750 or more, so much the better. Choose books that are of interest to the people in your congregation. If you go with obscure or heady stuff, you’ll be left with a pile of unsold books. Remember that each book you sell is going to replenish most of the initial investment that you make. We would replenish our table periodically from the money returned from sales.

So where do we start? I recommend beginning with booklets or mini books from the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF). This link takes you to booklets that are able to be purchased singly, while this link takes you to booklets that come 5 in a package. From what I can tell the Westminster Seminar Bookstore discounts these titles by about 25%. Most of them appear to be available on Amazon for the full price, usually $3 or $4. If you’d rather have 3 copies of 20 different titles, Amazon may be your best bet, but you’ll pay slightly more.

These booklets – and there are several dozen titles – cover marriage issues, parenting challenges, general Christian living, and a host of hot-button topics your people may be wrestling with, ranging from depression to ADD to angry children.

Also, if your people are not readers – or at least readers of Christian books – these are concise and helpful. It’s a good starting point for helping your people read.

If your budget is severely limited, mixing these booklets with copies of articles such as those I recommend for your congregation in “Tools of the Trade” gives you a good start. But hopefully you can stock the book table with other titles as well.

To that end, I’ve been spending time on the website, compiling a list of recommended titles. I’ll share some of these next week. I’m going to do this in two stages. I’ll start with books that lean toward dealing with practical issues. Then in another post I’ll add in some books that are a bit deeper and deal with theological issues.

There are a number of outlets for buying Christian books. I am not affiliated with Westminster, but I recommend them because they only carry books that have passed the test of being biblically sound. There are some titles that they don’t stock, due to the seminary’s theological position (Presbyterian/Reformed). However you won’t have to wade through lists of books that include titles you’d want your people to avoid.

Again, let me recommend that you charge no more than what you’ve paid for your book table books. If you try to make a profit, you are likely to have to deal with sales tax and other issues. You should check your state’s laws just to be sure that you comply with any tax codes.

As I said, next week I’ll share some recommended titles. For now, why don’t you do a little dreaming, and see what you can do to select 20 of these very helpful booklets to start with, more if your budget allows.

Have a blessed weekend!

Author: Peter Bogert

Married to Laura, with three adult children, 7 grandchildren. I’m an avid baseball fan, and I enjoy listening to audiobooks about military history, and reading Theology. I was ordained a Baptist pastor and served two churches over a 41 year period. After a three year hiatus I'm glad to be serving at Calvary Bible Fellowship Church in Coopersburg, PA. And I’m glad you stopped by!

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