Churches use the Christmas story to draw people to the reason for the season.
A small, but powerful, booklet makes evangelizing easy.
GuideStone® President O.S. Hawkins had one goal for his new book, The Christmas Code: providing a tool that pastors and churches could use as a church-wide evangelism tool during the holiday season.
Hawkins said that during his decades of pastoral ministry, he recognized that hearts are softer during the holiday season.
"I always saw December as the greatest time to evangelize," Hawkins says. "Carols are playing in the mall and people are more receptive to the message of the Christ child. Surveys again and again indicate that people will come to church during the holidays: They're just waiting for our invitation."
The Christmas Code: Daily Devotions Celebrating the Advent Season is Hawkins' new 64-page devotional booklet designed to be used December 1–25. The booklet was very well-received and sold almost a quarter of a million copies during its preorder phase. Like all of Hawkins' books, author royalties and proceeds benefit Mission:Dignity, GuideStone's ministry to retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows in financial need.
At the conclusion of the book, it includes a section, "God's Personal Gift to You," the plan of salvation, ensuring readers are given an opportunity to respond to the gospel.
Dr. Rob Zinn, pastor of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, California, part of the fast-growing Inland Empire region, and a GuideStone trustee, was captivated when he read the book while returning from a GuideStone trustee meeting.
"I'm passionate about Mission:Dignity," Zinn says, "and I'm passionate about what GuideStone does."
Initially, Zinn had planned to order 1,000 copies to take to a state convention meeting in Fresno and encourage other pastors to buy the books for their churches.
After sharing his idea about buying the books with others at the Fresno meeting, others indicated interest in 30,000 copies of the book. On his way home, another 5,000 were planned to be bought.
By the time the book was released, Zinn says the church and others he influenced had ordered almost 70,000 copies of the book. Preorders nationwide broke sales records before its official release date.
"We're going to cover the state," Zinn says. "Every association [in California] is getting an amount of books to share with their pastors."
Noting that many cultural trends start in California, Zinn says he hopes to see revival stirred in California and sweep across the nation.
"If all we see through this effort is 10,000 decisions, that’s 10,000 coming to Christ because of The Christmas Code," he says. "I'm praying for it."
Readers of The Christmas Code will find a daily Scripture reading December 1–25, a "Code word" to live throughout the day and a daily Advent prayer. It also contains "God's Personal Gift to You" (the plan of salvation) in the back.
Zinn says Immanuel Baptist Church will provide five copies to every family in the church — one to keep and use as a family and four to give away.
"It's getting harder and harder to get people to do personal evangelism," Zinn says, "but they'll give a book. I think this is a tool the Holy Spirit can use to draw people to the gospel."
The book, which retails for $2.99, is available for less than a dollar per copy with bulk orders of 100 or more.
"You may not be able to buy a Coke® or a pack of gum for under a dollar anymore, but you can provide a beautiful Christmas devotional book with the plan of salvation for every lost person in your community for less than a dollar," Hawkins notes.
More information on ordering the book with free shipping, as well as a link to read the first seven chapters for free, can be found at OSHawkins.com.
Churches are using The Christmas Code to impact their communities! Creative uses include:
- Placing copies at every house in the community as a gift from the church and inserting an invitation to your Christmas services and events.
- Providing copies to members to place on every door of every home on their block as a gift with invitations to the church's Christmas services.
- Providing copies to members for church-wide family devotionals during the month of December.
- Giving copies as gifts to visitors during November and December.
- Placing one in each Christmas card as a personal gift.
Deeply discounted bulk orders are available by calling Thomas Nelson ChurchSource at 1-800-727-3480 or by visiting ChurchSource.com/the-christmas-code-booklet. Use promo code "CODEFREE" to receive free shipping.
(Retail price is $2.99. Bulk purchases of 10 or more are $1.79 each; 50 or more are $1.50 each; 100 or more are $0.99 each; 500 or more are $0.90 each; 1,000 or more are $0.85 each; and 2,000 or more are $0.75 each.)