Christian retail is a hot market. Mainstream stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and even grocery stores throughout the nation are profiting from the sale of Christian books, music, and DVDs.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, brings in annual sales from Christian merchandise in excess of $1 billion annually. It shouldn’t come as a surprise from both a business and values based perspective. Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton always wanted to reflect the values of his customers and uphold morality to support their local community.
With Wal-Mart, Target, and grocery stores such as Publix in the south selling Christian books and merchandise, consumers have more options. That means the some 8,000 small Christian retailers scattered across the U.S. can no longer charge obscene retail prices for wholesome God fearing merchandise. This is good for consumers. Furthermore where the big retailers like Wal-Mart and Target fail to have product depth, smaller retailers can provide additional attention to Christian customers seeking enriching spiritual materials and music.
Why are Christian self-help books and music flourishing across the country and getting the attention of major retailers?
1. People are spiritually hungry and not being sufficiently fed on Sundays at church.
Most people physically eat three meals a day. How then spiritually can we be expected to live on one small snack a week spiritually? Many churches don’t allow for very long sermons any more. Pastors are afraid people will leave and therefore have shortened their messages. Many in the pulpit are trying to be entertaining and thereby have minimized their ability to equip and empower God’s people.
Those who are spiritually hungry are therefore running to Christian bookstores to obtain edifying and enriching materials to empower them to serve God. Beyond churchgoers are those spiritually desirous of a relationship with God who never attend church. They too are seeking stimulating spiritual material to awaken and feed their spirit.
2. As the world gets increasingly troublesome and America becomes all the more engrossed in a global war on terror, people are fearing for their lives.
As life becomes more precious and sacred once again, people are awakening to their mortality and becoming spiritual. People want to know about the end-times, the end of the age, how they ought to live, and want to be adequately prepared for major global occurrences lest they be caught unaware.
3. Marriages and families are falling apart like never before.
As marriages and the family structure is disintegrating due to increased immorality throughout the land, many are running back to the Bible and its ageless truths. When your life, marriage, and family begins falling apart you will humble yourself and seek help. Many are doing so through self-help Christian books with timeless truths.
4. Parents are having a difficult time rearing their children in a secularized culture that is trying to swallow them up.
MTV, hip-hop music, dance clubs, ghetto dress codes, and foul talking youth are frightening parents. Many are seeking guidance from spiritual authors who address issues they face on a daily basis. Tough talk is needed and when Pastors shun their responsibility, mature parents run to bookshelves seeking answers and guidance.
The Christian retail industry is estimated to be a $3 billion business annually, according to the Christian Booksellers Association. Beyond Bibles and books, retailers are doing very well selling Christian apparel, music, videos, gifts, artwork, software and a variety of children’s products.
Christians want to follow the great commandment given by Jesus to love their neighbor and seek to begin by showing them the way to salvation through Christ. Creating a culture of our own, Christians and retailers are successfully impacting the world and awaking the lost to the reality of the risen Christ. Nothing is more satisfying than to see people excited about the love of God and newness of life in Christ.