Christian bookstore becomes part of community
By Brian Lazenby
Rev. Mike Frisby looks across his Bible from the pulpit at Index Community Church. Several in the congregation are staring intently at their phones. Others are studying iPads or a variety of other tablets.
At first glance, it is enough to make a pastor question his sermon’s topic. Perhaps he should have chosen something more interesting. but he knows the moment he asks the congregation to lift up their Bibles, these same people will be holding their electronic devices above their heads.
“The world has really changed,” says Frisby, who has been preaching since 1973.
Recently, an event at Index Community Church had to be rescheduled. Organizers posted the change on the church’s Facebook page, and word quickly spread.
This is what Frisby calls one of the benefits of technology, yet he and his wife, Caryl Frisby, are walking a tightrope between this modern technology and the ways of the past.
Frisby understands that the future of the church is made up of online Bibles, emails, text messages and Facebook. Yet he and his wife also operate a small Christian bookstore at a time when everything is going digital.
The Frisbys opened Walls of Grace Christian Bookstore in West Liberty in November. Inside the store they sell a variety of Bibles, Amish books, CDs, DVDs, Christian gifts, church supplies and workbooks used in group Bible study classes.
They believe books still have their place, but they acknowledge things are changing.
Frisby says that there are pros and cons to the new technology. Communication with the congregation can happen fast with electronic technology. Technology also makes conducting research for his sermons quicker and more efficient.
“I have almost 3,000 books in the church library, but it is easier to let the computer do the work for you,” he says. “There are certainly advantages to technology.”
Another advantage is attracting young people — many of whom are extremely computer and social-media savvy — to the flock.
On the other hand, Frisby believes technology can confuse a congregation because members are bombarded with so many different messages. Many of them contrary to the church’s teachings.
“Technology can be a great thing when used correctly,” he says, noting that he considers himself a traditionalist. “But I love books, and people are still reading books.”
Mrs. Frisby knows that many in the local community would rather support a local business than shop online. There are also many that still prefer holding a book in their hands rather than reading from a computer screen.
At Walls of Grace, Mrs. Frisby can order any books that are not on hand, and they will be available in about three days, provided they are in stock at the manufacturer.
“As a minister, I feel the community needs a Christian bookstore,” he says. “It just says something about the community to have that resource available.”
Walls of Grace
709 Main Street – West Liberty