(The Canadian Bible Society received the following report written by Bill Lawton, volunteer for Missionaries Association of Canada, a CBS partner based in Edmonton, Alberta.)
Why 365 in 365? Quotas encourage and motivate me. They give me something concrete to aim for. They may bother some people, but I thrive on them.
My latest ministry quota was 365 in 365, i.e. I prayed and worked to place 365 copies of the New Testament in the hands of serious seekers in 365 days. All 365 people were individuals and total strangers to me. No New Testaments (NT) were given out at meetings. None was taken by disinterested people ‘just to please me.’
My confidence is based on “My Word shall not return unto me void” (Isaiah 55.11). I am fully confident that each New Testament will bear fruit.
My 365th day was July 17, 2017 and late in the afternoon I handed out my 365th NT for the ministry year. You can’t imagine the feeling of accomplishment it gave me. I felt like that ‘kid with a new toy’!
I love percentages! Maybe because I’m a Certified Management Accountant. About 50% of the recipients were women; about 50% were young adults; about 50% declined my offer. So I’ve offered NTs to 730 people in my last ministry year.
I intentionally walk to do my shopping and business chores. Ministry is incorporated into this time, usually twice a week. The area is about a square kilometre. 95% of the NTs have been placed within this area. Everyone has been polite. My age may have something to do with it. I’m 82!
I introduce myself with these words: “May I give you a small book that has changed my life over the past 45 years? It is published by the Canadian Bible Society.” That brief introduction immediately differentiates me from others who might be distributing.
I place a bookmark which is a copy of the “Knowing God Personally” evangelistic tract. It has a label on the front which says: “This bookmark is a summary of the NT. Please pray the prayer on page nine.” The purpose of this is to remind people that the New Testament is full of divine invitations.
Many people I have met on the pavement have stopped to exchange pleasantries. It’s my prayer that my life confirms the message of the New Testament. They see a person whose life has been transformed by the Word. I tell them I’ve been walking the talk for 45 years. Throughout the year, I have met lots of lovely people. On Monday afternoon July 17, recipient no. 365 insisted on paying for my coffee and muffin!
God’s Word will bless the lives of the families of 365 people. Let’s say the average household is four; that means 1,460 people’s lives have been impacted. Best of all, my own life has been immensely blessed in the process. I highly commend colporteuring as a ministry, especially for older people.