“This initiative has been such a huge promotion for the Bible and the Bible Society. I even overheard some women talking about it in the supermarket!” Vera Mitic, Executive Secretary of the Bible Society of Serbia, cannot contain her excitement about a project that has seen the publication and distribution of almost 1 million Bible booklets in just two months.
It began quite tentatively. A young, energetic marketing manager at Alo, Serbia’s second-largest daily newspaper, had the idea to offer Bible booklets to readers. But she knew little about the Bible and had never heard of the Bible Society. It was through the Orthodox Patriarchate that she eventually met Mrs Mitic. From there, an ambitious project developed.
Throughout August and September, Alo offered readers a free Bible booklet every Wednesday. Those distributed in August contained parts of the Old Testament, while September’s booklets focused on the New Testament. If they collected all the booklets, readers ended up with almost the full Bible for the price of eight daily newspapers! Advertising in prominent locations such as bus stops and post offices ensured that demand was high. It was also of great benefit to the Bible Society.
“We have raised our profile at no cost at all,” says Mrs Mitic. “Our logo has been everywhere: we could never had afforded such effective advertising!”
Building on success
The relationship between Alo and the Bible Society has benefited the newspaper, too, as it has seen circulation increase. Now the partners are considering how to build on this success. They are planning to offer a prayer booklet in November, and next year may see them collaborate to produce a full Bible, sharing the production costs and the income from sales.
“People everywhere, young and old, have been eager to get the booklets,” Mrs Mitic continues. “It’s clear that this project is really meeting a need.
“One girl I spoke to explained how she finds the full Bible unapproachable, but that the booklets are far easier to read. People have been motivated to finish reading one week’s booklet before they got the next one!
“It’s really encouraging that a secular newspaper is so open to promoting the Bible and that the results have been so good. We pray that this initiative will continue to grow and that more and more of our people will be reached with God’s Word.”