A New Adventure in Proclaiming God’s Presence among the Urban Poor
Servant Partners staff and leadership have been tossing around the idea of making and distributing books for years. Decades of ministry with the urban poor have deepened our insight and passion for involving more people in God’s work. In 2012, when the count of staff who were collecting their reflections into manuscripts reached six, the executive team decided that it was time to act.
Servant Partners Directors led the way in prayerful decision-making. It was ultimately determined that SP had both the call and the capacity to tell people about God’s work among the urban poor by beginning its own new imprint.
T. Aaron Smith submitted his manuscript for the pilot project for Servant Partners Press in 2013. It was a strong start with positive reception, and it gave the team space to grapple with questions about purpose, quality, and economic viability as the press moved forward.
Two years later, the team announced its first official release: Derek W. Engdahl’s The Great Chasm. While the pilot had been strong, this launch release challenged the press to step more fully into the professional standards of the industry. And through a lot of teamwork, the challenge was met: the first batch of beautiful, high-quality books arrived just in time for Servant Partners’ All-Staff Gathering in July of 2015.
In preparation for this next exciting phase, the team took on a few new members. Bree Hsieh, who had been involved in the press through her role as Servant Partners’ branding coordinator, felt a strong sense of call to lead more directly.
She stepped into the role as publisher in May of 2015, and quickly filled in two more gaps: the role of marketing specialist was soon filled by new staff member Elizabeth Rhea, and a consulting group called Guiding Type brought professional advertising know-how to bolster Derek’s book launch. Press staff look forward to continuing to learn how to navigate the industry in order to reach more of the people who might benefit from Derek’s book, as well as the five additional projects that are planned for the near future.
“Proclaiming God’s Presence among the Urban Poor” is a vital role within the organization’s broader mission, and there are many ways to support the team as they move toward that goal.
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