by Justin Lonas
Though you may not realize it, when you subscribe to Pulpit Helps, you're doing more than just signing up for a magazine. You are actively participating in the work of an organization involved in spreading God's truth in over 40 countries around the world: AMG International.
The story of Pulpit Helps is really the story of AMG. Dr. Spiros Zodhiates started Pulpit Helps in 1975 as an outgrowth of his personal study, writing, and teaching ministry (through radio). His passion for the Word of God that you have appreciated through the years is equaled only by his passion for reaching the whole world with the truth of that Word. His whole life and career have been dedicated to those two passions, and Pulpit Helps is just a small window into that work.
Zodhiates came to New York City from Cyprus in 1946 to join a fledgling group known as the American Committee for the Evangelization of the Greeks (later called the American Mission to the Greeks, hence the initials AMG) with a fiery desire to give God's Word to his fellow Greeks both in the United States and Europe.
When, in 1949, he took a shipload of New Testaments to Greece to distribute, he encountered a young girl who asked him for bread for her starving family. He realized that all those Bibles couldn't fill her stomach, and that she and others in her situation wouldn't realize their need for spiritual food if their need for physical food went unmet. The Lord convicted him and led him to follow Christ's ministry model of meeting needs and sharing truth simultaneously.
From that experience, under Zodhiates' leadership (he became president of the organization in 1966), AMG began using childcare centers to provide meals and education for children and raising them up to be faithful servants of God. Zodhiates also began utilizing radio to spread God's truth. His New Testament Light program was heard on stations across the country for decades and clips (primarily from the television broadcast of the 1980s-90s) are still available on YouTube.
As the ministry expanded beyond simply the Greek people, the organization's name was changed to Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel, keeping the same initials, but putting the whole world in its focus.
Today, AMG continues its mission around the world. Evangelism, Bible teaching, childcare, and publishing are the core of its work, but AMG also operates full-service hospitals, seminaries, vocational training centers, outreach camps, church planting ministries, and short-term mission opportunities. Distinctively, while AMG utilizes cross-cultural missionaries, the vast majority of the organization's work is done by national workers, raised up by God to serve in the country of their birth. Nationals are already fully integrated into the culture, customs, and lives of those whom they serve, and AMG remains committed to directing its resources to enable them to effectively reach their own countrymen for Christ.
AMG also widely uses print to get out the message of the Gospel. Through newspaper evangelism (placing Gospel ads in secular newspapers), truth is spread in otherwise closed countries. AMG Publishers, originally an avenue for Zodhiates to distribute his exegetical commentaries, is today best known for the KeyWord Study Bible, which indexes important words in the English Bible to their Hebrew or Greek counterpart in an original language dictionary at the back of the book. Additionally, they publish a wide variety of study materials, reference books, commentaries, Christian living titles, and Christian fiction, all of which are driven by their desire to plant God's truth in as many hearts as possible. Since its creation, AMG Publishers has produced over 600 titles and today offers its books in many different languages around the world.
Pulpit Helps, while distinctly focused on equipping pastors, small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, and others to faithfully study God's Word, apply it to their lives, and teach it to their congregations, is intertwined with many other ministries of AMG. We provide a window on the organization's work through this column each month, and we often promote AMG Publishers' books and utilize their material for our content. In addition to numerous overseas English-speaking subscribers, Pulpit Helps is repackaged and redistributed by AMG in India, Indonesia, and other countries so that pastors and evangelists there can have access to the same encouragement and exhortation that you depend on here.
As you can see, AMG is a unique and broad organization. Perhaps it is best be described by Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 9:22, "I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some." Because, over the years, Pulpit Helps has not been as intentional as we should have in telling our readers the full story of who we are, we wanted to set the record straight and let you know the scope of what you're taking part in when you read the magazine.
We hope that you'll take the time to learn more about AMG International and prayerfully consider building on your subscription by getting more involved. Sponsoring a child, taking a group from you church on a short-term team, purchasing a newspaper evangelism ad, or giving someone a KeyWord Study Bible are just a few of the ways that you can get started and show us how much you've appreciated Pulpit Helps in your life and ministry. We're very proud of our heritage and how it continues to allow us to serve you!
To learn more about AMG International, visit www.amginternational.org, call (800) 251-7206, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to P.O. Box 182200, Chattanooga, TN 37422.
To learn more about AMG Publishers or to request a catalog, visit www.amgpublishers.com, call (800) 266-4977, e-mail email@example.com, or write to 6815 Shallowford Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37421.
Justin Lonas is editor-in-chief of Pulpit Helps magazine.