The late Dr Klaus Bockmuehl wrote a booklet entitled Books — God’s Tools in the History of Salvation (Vancouver, BC: Regent College, 1986). The title has always resonated with me because it summarises well why Graceworks is in publishing (our other ministry focus is teaching and training). Publishing is a tough industry, especially with the disruption caused by ebooks and giant book sellers like Amazon. Many established publishers have shut down or have been bought over. Graceworks is a small publisher based in a country with a limited market. But we press on because we believe that this is what the Lord wants us to do. We press on because we believe the right book in the right hands at the right time can change a life. Or the right ebook read by the right person at the right time can transform a life. We press on because we believe that books can be God’s tools for His purposes.
Saturday before last, March 18, we launched The Generations Project. This book aims to help the different generations in church understand themselves and each other in order to minimise conflict and misunderstanding between them, and to help them work together, contributing their different strengths. Similar studies have been done in the US and other countries, but we believe that each country is also impacted by local conditions. We pray that this book will lead to better unity in the churches at a unique time in history where there are five to six generations living and working together, generations that have been shaped by different formative experiences. We are delighted when we read comments like the one below by someone who heads up a NextGen ministry in his church.
One of the big pressing issues in the local church today is and will be the generational issue. How do the different generations perceive and express their faith, and what are their expectations and needs of the church?
1 Chronicles 12:32 says, “Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…”
We need leaders and pastors who have an understanding of the times and the generations, to know what we ought to do and where we ought to go. This book should be in the hands of every church leadership team.
Every book we publish is a lot of work and an act of faith. We can’t really predict how a book will be received. And because we are a very small operation, we have to be selective as to what titles we publish. As much as we want our books to impact lives, there are also bills to be paid. And so we are delighted when we get responses like the above.
The next book that we will be launching is entitled Assault on the Body — Sexual Violence and the Gospel Community. Here in Singapore, we often think that sexual violence is something that happens in other denominations and in other countries. But it is right here in Singapore. The book seeks to chronicle stories of those who have been sexually violated in churches in Singapore. We will also look at how some churches have tried to deal with this horror. Our goal is not to sensationalise the issue but to name it for what it is and to seek biblical responses to this particular sin. Again, our hope is that the Lord will see fit to use this book as His tool for a prophetic voice in our churches so that we are awakened to the presence of sexual assault and respond appropriately.
We will continue to publish books that seek to connect God’s heart and mind to the issues of the day. We will continue to do this until He tells us to stop. Or we run out of money. Klaus Bockmuehl quotes Thomas à Kempis:
If he shall not lose his reward who gives a cup of cold water to his thirsty neighbour, what will not be the reward of those who by putting good books in the hands of those neighbours, open to them the fountains of eternal life? (34)