After being in literature ministry for 50 years, Brian Curson, renowned and award-winning literature evangelist (LE), is retiring this year after selling millions of dollars’ worth of books from Signs Publishing over the span of his career.
According to Adventist Media Literature Ministry coordinator Brenton Lowe, this dollar amount could be more than AU$2 million (US$1.5 million), taking into consideration inflation and incomplete data. With records only being kept for the past 19 years — less than half of his time as an LE — Curson purchased a total of AU$909,276 (US$683,000) in books from Signs Publishing during that time, but the remaining amount is an educated guess.
“This is a conservative estimation and doesn’t include purchases from Adventist Book Centres and Australian Union Conference resources,” Lowe added in an email to Adventist Record.
In recognition of his longstanding service as an LE in Australia and New Zealand, Curson was recently awarded a Certificate of Service in Literature Ministry.
“I look back with thankfulness for what God has done in using me to spread the good news,” Curson said. “Thousands of homes have received health and spiritual material. My main focus in all my years was primarily to get the books and Bible DVDs into homes.”
Growing up in Bealiba, central Victoria, Australia, Curson credits becoming an Adventist to a man named Jack Grant, who visited him and his brother with a volume of The Bible Story and took them to Maryborough church, where he became an Adventist. It was here that Curson was inspired by an LE named Bill Beveridge.
“I was impressed by the opportunities this work offered to share with people books majoring on health and biblical content, so I decided to save up money to buy a car [and] then to join the literature ministry,” he explained.
Commencing as a full-time LE in Newborough, Gippsland, in January 1971, Curson’s work took him across Australia and New Zealand — to Tasmania, New South Wales, north New Zealand, north Queensland, Brisbane, Bendigo, Perth, and the Sunshine Coast. He worked as a literature ministries director in many of these conferences.
“One particular area that gave me joy was seeing LEs that I had trained respond to leadership calls to many conferences, and a couple of them were invited to leadership at the division level,” he said.
Another aspect of literature ministry that Curson enjoyed was meeting people and hearing their stories. Notably, he shared a story of meeting a woman called Julie in Cannington, Western Australia.
“In the early hours of Thursday morning, Julie had a dream. Her grandmother, who had died 15 years ago, appeared in her dream and presented her with a Bible, telling her to take it and read it. Julie didn’t want it [but her grandmother] handed it over to her. Just then, she woke and told her husband of this unusual dream.
“The next morning, I arrived on her doorstep and canvassed Julie with our health books. She was only interested in one book. Julie liked the Bible, so I went out to the car and brought it in. After showing her the Bible, I handed it to her. Julie didn’t tell me then, but on delivery day a month later, said what had amazed her: the very way in which I handed her the Bible was exactly the same way that her grandmother handed her the Bible in the dream.
“She was wondering at the time if I was her grandmother in another form, or an angel. I told her that God wanted her to have this Bible, and God has something great in mind for her. Wow, that was a great experience of God’s leading.”
In 1975, during his first placement in Gippsland, Curson married Linda, who shared his vision and closely supported him, doing much of the office work and praying for him. The couple has two children: Mark, who now works as a national accounts manager for Sanitarium Health Food Company, and Sharon, who works as a departmental assistant at the South Pacific Division.
“We would like to officially honor Brian for his 50 years of faithful service in literature ministry throughout Australia and New Zealand. His Christian ministry will continue to bear fruit for eternity,” Lowe said.