Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

Big Dream….join me?

February 8th, 2016 by Beth A. Lewis

I have a Big Dream and I’d love it if you’d dream with me….

Wouldn’t it be great if every preschooler who is connected to your church got excited about Bible stories because they had their very own story bible?  Not just every kid in Sunday School.  Not just every kid in worship. Not just every kid who attends your VBS. Every kid.

Certainly, the kids in Sunday School, worship and VBS.

But, also the kids in your congregation’s preschool.

The kids who are tutored by members of your congregation.

The kids who were baptized in your congregation but whom you haven’t seen since that lovely worship service.

The kids whose parents are taking ESL classes at night in your fellowship hall.

The kids whose parents stop by your food pantry on Saturday morning to pick up essentials they simply can’t afford to purchase.

The kids whose names go on your Christmas angel tree.

Every.  Single.  Kid.

How many preschoolers are somehow connected to your church…maybe not as members, but as children of God? What would it take to gift them with their very own story bible? And, what would the impact be in their lives and the lives of their families? How long might that impact last? A lifetime perhaps.

I’ll leave the counting of how many preschoolers are connected to your congregation to you….

And, you’ll have to get some energetic folks to figure out how to organize this exciting project. But, just think of the energy it could bring to your congregation as people Dream Big with us!

It will take leadership, time, and yes some money. But, we’re going to help with that last bit with the biggest kids’ bible sale we’ve ever had!

From now until March 15th, Sparkhouse Family is running a special promotion on the new Family Edition of The Spark Story Bible. During this sale, your church can save up to 55% when you purchase 10 or more Bibles.  And, with this offer, you’ll receive free shipping! See, I told you it was a great sale!

The Spark Story Bible cover and interior


The award-winning Family Edition is different from our Spark Story Bible for Sunday School.  It is lightweight, durable, and perfect for busy little hands to explore during worship services and for kids to read at home. The Family Edition is not designed to be used with our Spark Sunday school curriculum, but is ideal for giving to young families to read aloud together and it will fit perfectly in pew racks.

So, how big can we dream? Will your women’s ministry groups help fund this effort? How about bequests left to your congregation that are sitting in a bank account?  Are there a few members with the financial means and passion for sharing the Gospel who would help fund this? Or, some combination of fundraising efforts like these?

Your congregation can purchase 10+ copies of The Spark Story Bible, Family Edition, at and apply the promo code SPARK16 at checkout to take advantage of this incredible sliding scale sale price and free shipping.

But, dream fast!  This special offer is only good through March 15, 2016!

And, I’d love to hear just how your big dreams were realized! Please email your “Big Dream” story and photos to me at so that I can share them here!  Thanks for dreaming with me!






Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

A writer’s joy!

December 30th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

Pastor Annie Edison-Albright joined two others, Pastor David L. Miller and Pastor Harvard Stephens, Jr., to write a lovely small devotional book, Bearing Fruit: Devotions for Lent 2016. In response to a question about Lenten resources on the ELCA Clergy Facebook page, I mentioned it.  Annie was quick to jump in with comments that warmed my heart!

Bearing Fruit

“What I really enjoyed about working on this was the format of choosing a short excerpt from literature to go with each Scripture text, image, reflection and prayer. I got to include all kinds of wonderful, diverse literary voices, and it added a wonderful additional layer of connection to the Scripture text.” She went on to say in a direct message to me, “It was such a joy to work on. The English major in me was so happy. I started work with a huge pile of favorite books right next to me! I was very intentional about using diverse voices, sources and genres, too. So much fun!”

As we at Augsburg Fortress work hard to create resources for the Church….resources to teach, engage and inspire….we partner with many writers, designers, composers, arrangers, artists, videographers, and more from all around the world.  We are privileged to see first hand, the care and attention to detail that these creative partners put into their work.  But, it is rare that we hear from them about their joy in working on a project like this.  So, thanks for sharing your delight, Annie! And, thanks to you and all of the other creative partners who labor with us to proclaim the Gospel!






Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

Excellent article on publishing

December 3rd, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

A couple of days ago, the Wall Street Journal published an excellent article written by Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch with his views on the future of publishing.  There is much wisdom here. He had me with his opening words: 

“I’ve been hearing about the demise of book publishing since the first day I stepped through the doors of a publisher back in 1978. But here we are still, publishers like Little, Brown, with histories going back 100 and 200 years. What other American industry has companies still in existence after two centuries, evolving and modernizing but still doing much the same work?”  

As our ministry of publishing can look back at a line of predecessor ministries of publishing for nearly 200 years, his faith in the future of publishing makes me smile. 

Two other sentences that jumped out at me are these: 

“Publishers’ essential work will remain the same—identifying, investing in, nurturing, and marketing great writers.”


“At the same time, publishers will need to innovate and challenge assumptions about every aspect of the business.”

While he is focusing on book publishing, as I think about the fine work done every day by my colleagues all across this organization, I am delighted that we focus on these very traditional tasks of identifying, investing in, nurturing and marketing great content produced by great authors, freelance writers, designers, composers, arrangers, videographers, and other creative partners. At the same time, as he encourages, we continue to innovate and challenge assumptions as they relate to all of our markets and processes.  We test and learn, test and learn.

We’re honored to be your partners in ministry through this ministry of publishing!




Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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