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

Who would have guessed?

May 24th, 2016 by Beth A. Lewis

When we plan a new resource, there are many questions we ask ourselves at the very beginning. Two of the most fundamental are these:

Who is the primary audience for this resource?

How will it be used? (by an individual? in a classroom? in worship?)

Usually, what we plan for is what happens. But, every so often, our partners in ministry across the church surprise us. And, it is always a delight to see how they adapt our creative efforts to something new that works well in their contexts.

Recently, I came across just such an example via a Facebook post by Karen Moyer. She shared several photos from St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Lakewood, CA:  “Sunday morning Bible Study reviewing the book “When Lightning Struck – The Story of Martin Luther” by Danika Cooley.

Moyer photo 1 Moyer photo 2Moyer photo 3



















When I asked Karen about this, she added, “My Bible Study group really enjoyed the book and the study questions offered. I even gave copies of the book to our catechism students. I enjoyed reading the book because I spent 5 days in Wittenberg last June and could relate to the scenes described.”

So, why do I say that this is an example of a book being used in a way that our editors didn’t really intend as the primary audience? Well, here’s the description from the Fortress Press website (emphasis is mine)

Martin Luther’s life was too exciting not to be written for teens and younger readers! In this fast-paced, action-packed novel of Martin Luther’s life, teen readers (and more than a few adults!) will be introduced to a fascinating time when princes ruled Europe and knights roamed the countryside. They’ll learn about a time when powerful forces lined up against each other and believing the wrong thing could get you killed.

When Lightning Struck! is far more than just an adventure story, of course. It also tells a theological story. Drawing carefully from Luther’s own words, this book introduces readers to a kindred spirit who struggled with what knowing God through Scripture means for daily life. They will understand what was at stake and how powerfully liberating Luther’s idea of grace through faith was—in his time and in ours!   

Cooley When Lightening Struck


While I am certain that the members of this St. Timothy’s Bible study group are young at heart, I think that they just might be past their teenage years. And, I think that is just great!

Is your congregation looking for a light-hearted, fun and very approachable way to learn more about Martin Luther as we approach 2017 & the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation? Karen Moyer and her friends might just be on to something!

Thanks for sharing your photos and affirming words, Karen!




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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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