Building on what it calls a “movement” in churches started by the 2005 edition of The Story, a chronological retelling of the Bible, Zondervan this month launches a campaign to promote the new Story edition and the line it has given birth to--more than 30 different products aimed at all ages. And the firepower behind the line is high-caliber: best-selling author Max Lucado is both its spokesman and the author or co-author of three of its books.
Joining Lucado as spokesman and author is Randy Frazee, who became Lucado’s co-pastor in 2008 and preached his first 31 sermons based on the 31 chapters of The Story, introducing Lucado to the book.
Zondervan took note of their involvement and in 2009 created The Story-based study programs they tested in100 churches nationwide. Then came direct-to-church sales, with 400 congregations currently using the materials. The final phase, beginning this month, features the release of The Story trade books for adults, teens, and ages 3-5, 4-8, and 8-12, all with study guides. Frazee’s The Heart of the Story: God’s Masterful Design to Restore His People releases in August; Lucado’s God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours comes out in September.
Lucado and Frazee, with Karen Davis Hill, wrote The Story for Children (June), a collection of 48 Bible stories; Lucado authored God’s Story, Your Story: Youth Edition (Sept). There are separate study programs for preschool, early and later elementary, as well as teens.
“I would compare this campaign to the Purpose Driven Life campaign in size and scope,” said Bob Rogers, v-p of marketing and sales for The Story. “It includes product from all over Zondervan: Bibles, church/academic, kids, curriculum. We’ve even included a song list for worship leaders that coincides with The Story package for adults, small groups, and kids.” More than 175,000 copies of The Story book have been sold, according to Rogers, “the majority since we launched the first phases of the campaign, and the numbers are growing steadily each month.”
Pastors, he said, are the movers behind the movement. “The life cycle of the product is such that once a pastor uses it, he talks about it to others. It’s all about the testimonials.”
Other aspects of the campaign include a Certified Dealer Program for retailers, launching in June, offering dedicated display areas and product training; Wow!, a September CD released through EMI Music, featuring 24 Christian music artists and original The Story music; a December tour featuring eight Christian artists at 12 venues performing Christmas songs and The Story music; and greeting cards and other products planned for 2012.