The ministers in your local Christian bookshop...
Scott commented, "To effect any significant change, one would have to be employed in the store." While I object that if we all participated in the ministry of the Christian bookshop towards its reformation it would have a significant change, it's clear that much does depend on the staff. And certainly it's the staff who we blame when we complain about the shop! So, even given that we're all going to work towards the reformation of the Christian bookshop, what makes a good staff member in a local Christian bookshop?
Now do you have some idea of why you complain about the staff in your local Christian bookshop?
If you had someone in your church who was a Christian of tested service in the church, with theological understanding, a pastoral concern for God's people, a passion for evangelism, and people skills, what would you advise them? To go manage a Christian bookshop for the whole of their life? No, you'd have signed up to be a pastor - or if you were feeling more sacrificial, a missionary. We leave the Christian bookshops to the Christian business people, and then criticise them because they don't minister the gospel faithfully according to the qualifications of eldership. So elders: rather than despair of your local Christian bookshop, perhaps you should 'set apart' some of your godly church members for ministry in a Christian bookshop. Staff of a Christian bookshop are ministers in a ministry. We don't expect them to be less. Why not encourage them to be as much?
-> Pray for the ministers (staff) who serve in your local Christian bookshop.
-> Encourage them in their ministry both by expressing your appreciation of it in as much as it is good (encourage the good wherever you find it, and if you can't find it, look harder) and perhaps sharing a little of your vision for its ministry. Encourage them by participating in the reformation of the ministry as I've suggested in previous posts. Encourage them by telling them that you pray for their ministry (and do so!).
-> Also: Consider whether this ministry is for you. Yes, that's what I said. Also consider whether someone in your church has this character and gifts and could be encouraged to consider it.
-> Look over the role of the staff of a Christian bookshop again. Now pray for the Lord to give the vision, burden and equipping for this ministry to some such people! Every time you find yourself thinking about your local Christian bookshop (or lack of it), pray this again.
To wrap up this mini-series of posts I'll add a brief testimonial epilogue as the next post.