Roughly two dozen volunteers, many of them elderly, continue after many years to distribute Today devotional booklets to churches and businesses.
Volunteers Paul Breuker and Norm VanderZwaag unload boxes of Today.
(Photo by Nancy Vander Meer)
Every other month, 240,000 copies of Today are printed. Many are sent to Christian Reformed Church members across the continent by Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI), the denomination’s media ministry.
In West Michigan, 25 volunteers distribute nearly 38,000 of those copies to businesses, restaurants, nursing homes, churches, and more, saving the ministry significant shipping costs.
The volunteer delivery began in 1979 when Bill Lubbers and Jerry Jonker began distributing Today to Russ’s, a popular West Michigan restaurant chain. Jonker still volunteers today. Today Bill Hekman coordinates the deliveries.
In some locations the booklets go so fast that volunteers need to replenish supplies two or three times a week, according to Jim Jonker (Jerry Jonker’s son), who delivers copies of Today as well as the Spanish-language version, Cada Dia.
“Our distribution volunteers are valuable ministry partners,” said Rev. Steven Koster, director of ReFrame Media, the English-language ministry of BTGMI. “Not only do they distribute Today in places we couldn’t reach through the mail, they often develop their own visiting ministry as a chaplain would. We hear many stories of storekeepers, clerks, shut-ins, prisoners, and the like appreciating regular pastoral visits from our volunteers and hearing God’s Word in the booklets themselves.”
Volunteer Paul Breuker explained why he enjoys the work. “I’m a part of a delivery system of God’s Word, getting out the Word into the world. This is one way that I can help do that, and it fits what I like to do,” he said.
Volunteers are especially encouraged in their work by the consistent stream of letters and emails sent to BTGM from grateful Today readers across the globe.