A Church member who is active in Good News brochure distribution told me that he recently tried to encourage other brethren to participate in the program. One member told him: "I did that back in the '80s and it didn't work!"
Upon learning this, I wondered why that member, and perhaps others, came to this conclusion. Was it because he thought the brochure pick-up rate was too slow? Did he encounter rejection or opposition? Did he become discouraged when brochures and displays were occasionally discarded? Was it difficult for him to find distribution locations?
In my view, even though these difficulties and hurdles do indeed occur, it does not indicate brochure distribution is unsuccessful or unproductive. These challenges are simply part of "doing business" and don't imply failure or ineffectiveness.
Typically, the pick-up rate for commercially distributed brochures is very slow. All literature "take one" campaigns require interested consumers to make a concerted effort to select a flyer or brochure from a display. Not everybody does it. But those who do have shown a curiosity about a particular subject. Understanding this fact should help brethren avoid becoming discouraged or losing heart if they don't see much brochure "movement" taking place from a display.
Also, when it comes to rejection or opposition, it should be no surprise to us that the true gospel message is not now, and has never been, a popular one (John 15:18-25 John 15:18-25  If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.
 If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
 Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
 But all these things will they do to you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
 If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
 He that hates me hates my Father also.
 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
 But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
American King James Version×; 16:33). Indeed, opposition does occasionally occur, particularly by those who endorse differing religious doctrines (2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:12Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
American King James Version×). And it does take a bit of effort to find distribution locations for brochures. But, with perseverance, optimism and prayer, those endeavors are regularly rewarded.
For example, a member-distributor from Kentucky recently mentioned this to me in an e-mail message: "I'm having good responses from the Lexington Kroger stores as far as folks taking the literature, and it's my hope to have a display at each of their locations as well as other businesses in town. We have an extremely busy YWCA not far from my office where I've set out the literature. It also appears to be a positive location for folks picking up the material."
Even though "take one" brochures move at a turtle's pace, we have found that subscription response has been very good. On average, response to a commercial direct media offer is around 1 percent of the total number of literature pieces distributed. However, people have responded to our brochures at between 2.0 to 3.7 percent!
But the question some brethren might ask is: "Why not simply let the home office handle the entire job of preaching of the gospel? What's the point of my participating in a hands-on matter in my community?"
The fact is, home office advertising can only reach a segment of the population. The media staff can do much, but certainly not everything. The fact is, numerous opportunities to reach the public abound at the local level.
That is why we want to give brethren the tools of inexpensive, yet eye-catching, brochures and displays to reach into their own towns and neighborhoods with Christ's message of good news. Brethren can have an effect on the lives of their own family members, neighbors and friends in a way that a large centralized program often can not.
Consider this: What if each of the approximately 10,000 subscribers to United News distributed just five brochures per month for one year? The results would be that about 600,000 people would have an opportunity to learn about the true gospel. And 12,000 to 22,000 of them would request and receive a booklet and become a Good News subscriber. Isn't that incentive and reward worth the effort of every member in the United Church of God?
I often mention the following to those who are currently participating in the brochure program: "If you were not doing what you are in helping preach the gospel in your community, just who would be?" This might be a good question for each of us.
If you live in the United States and would like to participate in the brochure distribution program or would simply like more information, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free (888) 369-9940. We have just printed three brand-new 3 1/2by-8 1/2-inch trifold "take one" brochures: "The Debt Trap," "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy" and "Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension" (see photos).
With permission, you can place these attractive brochures in restaurants, supermarkets, motels, hospital and clinic lobbies, hairdressers, senior centers, libraries, convenience stores and many other locations. Or you can simply offer copies to interested family members, coworkers, neighbors and friends.
Please let me know the quantity of each brochure and the number of acrylic displays you would like to have. We'll have them on the way to you shortly. I look forward to hearing from you! UN