Making Evangelism Resources Free to the End User: How a creation science book exceeded 13,000 downloads in 3 months
Director of the Adventist Learning Community
Media Director of the Adventist Learning Community
In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus gives his last charge to his followers before leaving Earth. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Because of technology the Seventh-Day Adventist Church now has the tools necessary to exponentially increase the speed and efficacy of our efforts in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission. Name the issue, topic, or belief that needs to be shared with the world, and digital technology can help spread our unique Adventist message anywhere and anytime.
One of the most important questions facing our world today is the age of the Earth. The Bible begins with the story of how God spent an entire week of His time, designing, crafting, and speaking the world into existence. The Creation story lays the foundation of truth for the rest of the Bible. However, much of the popular culture and Christian debate on this subject is discourteous and impassioned. Creationists, evolutionists, and theistic evolutionists often share their views in the media, pulpit, and classroom as if they had little respect for the intellect or beliefs of their respective audiences. With emotions running high and politically incorrect rhetoric the norm, our Church should be a voice of reason and loving interaction. An informed and compassionate Creationist is a much more effective evangelist than one that relies on uninformed passions. The spiritual stakes are high on this issue, and so we should take it seriously and educate ourselves to help others see God’s involvement in the origins of our planet.
To help buttress scientific support for the Young Earth Model of Creationism, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Faith and Science Council has provided the funding necessary to write and distribute a free digital text version of Faith, Reason, and Earth History: A Paradigm of Earth and Biological Origin by Intelligent Design (3rd edition). Written by renowned geologist Leonard Brand, PhD, and celebrated paleontologist Art Chadwick, PhD, the free eBook can be downloaded by anyone in the world interested in the science behind a more Biblically accurate understanding of Creationism.
In Faith, Reason, and Earth History, Drs. Brand and Chadwick provide a researched perspective for contemplating Earth’s origins in terms of Scripture and science. After reading the free text, it becomes apparent Creationism is supported in many ways by scientific observation. However, the authors are fair to both science and Scripture and point out there are questions and issues that remain for both creationist and evolutionary scientists. Brand and Chadwick maintain creationists have no need to approach science with trepidation and apprehension, and that it is possible to have enough intellectual humility and admit all sides of the discussion have unanswered questions about the origins of the planet.
Simply making a resource for evangelism and truth available for free is only part of the Church’s responsibility. Having a powerful resource without a marketing strategy means the resource could potentially sit on the proverbial shelf gathering dust with only a few people appreciating it. This is why the North American Division’s Adventist Learning Community partnered with Andrews University Press, and the General Conference Communication and North American Division (NAD) Big Data and Social Media departments to market this valuable text. By developing a marketing strategy with Jamie Jean Schneider of Big Data and Social Media, the Adventist Learning Community (ALC) developed distribution platforms, eBook formats, and a marketing campaign for sharing the resources with the world.
In less than 3-months, the book has been downloaded for free over 13,000 times. Typically, a best seller in Adventist publications sells approximately 5,000 books. By not printing the book, we saved thousands of dollars ($12,000). $300 of that savings is now being used to market the book online allowing for greater reach than the printed book (1,000 copies) would have received at a fraction of the cost.
By utilizing imagery from a documentary ALC filmed for Drs. Brand and Chadwick entitled, “Dry Bones and Fossil Trackways - Geology Research from a Biblical Perspective”, a promotional “trailer” for the book was developed. This trailer was then incorporated into a promotional template provided by NAD’s Social Media and Big Data department. The subsequent promotional package was then shared with social media directors around the Church. These digital gatekeepers then became social media ambassadors for the advertising campaign for the textbook. Within a matter of days, Brand and Chadwick’s text was being marketed on Facebook, Twitter, and internet search engines.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has historically been an early adopter of technology to further the Great Commission. The distribution success of Faith, Reason, and Earth History is proof the Church should continue to embrace technology as a tool for furthering evangelism, and that incorporating a digital marketing strategy can exponentially increase the reach and impact of the Church’s resources and efforts. The tools for reaching the world are readily available and surprisingly inexpensive, the Church just needs to decide to use them in a strategic and intentional fashion.
Learn more about the book and download.
Download the promotions packet and become a social media ambassador.