by Bob Gerow
It would be an oddity to find a waiting room without something to read. And almost without exception, the reading material is full of advertisements. Savvy advertisers know you will see their ads as you flip the pages. So they pay for the space, make their presentations as attractive as possible, and take a chance you will linger at their ads (and buy their stuff!).
What does this have to do with a missions organization like AMG International?
The gospel message entrusted to us is a matter of life and death to every reader. As long as the Provider's conditions are met, the "product," we are announcing is free of charge to any who would have it. The urgency of our mandate calls for getting the Word out as widely and effectively as possible.
That's why Newspaper Evangelism is so effective. A newspaper or magazine will get into places that some of us will never go.
Under cover of a magazine or newspaper, a paid gospel ad makes its way into cars, waiting rooms, classrooms, offices, and homes. Eventually, someone takes notice and reads it more closely. Even if the reader only appears to be flipping pages, the light of the gospel enters a life, awakens a longing for something better, and provides a way to find out more.
Consider how economical this strategy is: For the price of ad space, the publisher prints the message, distributes it widely, and effectively "guarantees" it will be read. In much of the world, readership can be many times higher than even published circulation numbers. One daily in India boasts ten readers for every copy they print! Sometimes the readers include one who finds the Good News on an old paper that was used to wrap groceries!
I used to see folks handing out tracts in New York City. But for some, showing interest in a tract was too public; too embarrassing; too confrontational. Hundreds of tracts quickly ended up in a gutter or sewer line. Not so with newspaper evangelism. The Holy Spirit can engage an interest while everyone else in the room, or on the street corner, takes no special notice. After all, "everyone reads magazines and newspapers."
Is It Effective?
The picture above was taken after one gospel ad was placed in India. Those are all cards from readers asking for more information. Some wanted a Bible correspondence course. Others simply had questions. None of them would have responded at all had they not been reading the newspaper!
Years ago a brother in Colombia used gospel ads to challenge readers to find out more about Christ who alone brings peace.
Gospel messages have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Greece for several decades!
Gospel messages often appear in business magazines for readers in Lebanon.
The Good News has even been a frequent occupant of classified ads in movie magazines and tabloids in India.
Within the last year, AMG has begun a newspaper evangelism ministry in Spain. Ads regularly appear both Andalusia, and among a concentrated population of Spaniards in North Africa!
Whether in Thailand and Burma, Argentina or Indonesia, every week The Good News of Jesus Christ is slipping into people's lives under the cover of their favorite magazines and newspapers. And AMG International has been involved in this exciting ministry initiative for sixty years!
AMG's financial commitment to newspaper evangelism is $18,000 monthly in 14 countries around the world. We are eager to expand into waiting opportunities as the Lord provides. Every gospel ad makes it possible to touch the hearts and minds of the lost with the only NEWS that ultimately matters.
Bob Gerow is development administrator for AMG International.