Southeast Christian Church’s long-standing bookstore, The Living Word, is reopening Sunday, Sept. 6, at the Blankenbaker Campus with a new name: Southeast Bookstore.
“The purpose of the Southeast Bookstore is to provide resources to help the Southeast family connect with Jesus and personally engage in His mission,” Southeast Stewardship Pastor Steve Carter said. “At both our campus and online store we offer Bibles, books, Bible studies, sermon media and more to help people grow in their faith and deepen their relationship with Jesus.”
The Southeast Bookstore will be open Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and also will offer books on Christian life, marriage and family, support and recovery, greeting cards and sermon series resources.
Most of what is available in the bookstore also will be available on the bookstore’s website, www.southeastbookstore.org.
“The Southeast Bookstore will be able to be more focused in what we offer,” said Patty Long, who manages the Southeast Bookstore and the Ministry Resource Center. “This will allow us to be able to support all the ministries at all of our campuses, however we can. If there’s a resource our church leaders recommend, we want to be able to provide that to people. We’re also very excited to be improving our website and increasing our online inventory. I’m looking forward to being able to provide resources for people to connect to Jesus, wherever they are.”
Sharon Milburn, who has worked at the bookstore for 14 years, overflows with stories of people who have connected to Jesus and deepened their relationship with Him just by picking up a book.
“Every day, there’s a story of someone who comes in because they’re going through something,” Milburn said. “It’s a couple on the brink of divorce, someone with a family member in prison who’s requesting a Bible, someone who’s at the end of their rope who has nowhere else to go. We get to put a Bible in their hands or point them to a book that speaks to where they are and what they’re going through.”
Milburn shared a story of a young woman who came into the bookstore several months ago who was looking to purchase a Bible, but didn’t have enough money. Another man in the store noticed and approached Milburn, offering to pay for the woman’s Bible.
When the woman came up to the counter, Milburn said, “Don’t worry, it’s been paid for. Someone wanted you to know that God loves you.”
The woman broke down crying and thanked Milburn and her anonymous donor for their kindness.
Then another man, who was next in line, offered up extra cash to pay for another person’s Bible.
“Give this to someone who needs it,” he told Milburn.
Milburn began praying that the Holy Spirit would show her who to give the money to, and the same day, Southeast member Kim Cash walked into the bookstore. Cash was looking to purchase a Bible for a former inmate who had recently been baptized.
“Each person who is baptized at Southeast is given a voucher for a free Bible at the bookstore,” Milburn said. “Kim was looking to buy a study Bible, which costs more than the voucher was worth. When she told me what she wanted to do, I immediately told her I had been given money from another church member and had just prayed about who to give it to. When I told her, we both just cried.”
Milburn said that thousands of people have come through the bookstore doors, looking for something to help them get through life’s hardships. Bookstore staff have the opportunity to pray with people and help them get the help they need.
The Southeast Bookstore is also a great place to serve.
“We’re a volunteer-driven ministry, and if you love Jesus, people and books, we’d love for you to serve with us,” Milburn said. For more information on serving in the Southeast Bookstore, contact Milburn at (502) 253-8204.
Renovations to the store at the Blankenbaker Campus have been underway for months. The space now features a seating area and high-top tables for those who wish to bring in a laptop or read a book before they purchase it. These spaces will be closed due to COVID-19 safety precautions, but will open as soon as it is safe to do so.
“We’re hoping that this will become an extension of the café and a place where people can find a quiet spot to get to know Jesus better,” Long said.
If you’d like to order a book outside of bookstore hours, visit www.southeastbook
store.org or call (502) 253-8204.