Carlton P. Byrd, speaker/director of Breath of Life Ministries and senior pastor of Oakwood University Seventh-day Adventist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, United States, believes that spiritual health is partially dependent on personal involvement in outreach.
One way Byrd encourages members to be active participants in sharing the gospel is through literature distribution. While organizing members to distribute literature isn’t a new concept, for some churches, it is a newly revived practice that generates a lot of enthusiasm.
“Praise God for the spoken word and the sung word, but some will be won by reading the word of God and truth-filled literature. I am a proponent of literature; because when literature goes out, it can go places we can’t go,” Byrd said.
This emphasis birthed Breath of Life’s first sharing book, FREE: Revisiting God’s Plan for Oppressed People, which Byrd co-authored with Christopher C. Thompson, communication and marketing director for Breath of Life. The pocket-size volume points readers to a Deliverer who is concerned about the social, economic, and political circumstances that oppress people and suppress the voices of millions in America and around the world.
Released on June 19, 2019, FREE has already been distributed to hundreds of people in preparation for the ministry’s next public evangelism meetings. Several churches in Miami, Florida have shared the book throughout their neighborhoods, but especially in the city’s Brownsville community.
After receiving a copy and reading several of its pages, one community member said, “Thank you for this. I love this!”
Brownsville is the home of Bethany Seventh-day Adventist Church, which served as the location of the Breath of Life Summer Revival. At the end of the revival, Byrd and area pastors baptized 120 people into the Adventist Church.
“It is Breath of Life’s sincere desire that this project will help empower local churches to similarly experience the joy of personal outreach in preparation for public evangelism,” Byrd said. “Jesus isn’t coming anywhere until the gospel goes everywhere.”
About Breath of Life
According to its website, Breath of Life began broadcasting in 1974. It was the dream of pastor and recording artist Walter Arties to create a program that would appeal to African-Americans looking for hope and guidance. Through the years, the broadcast broadened its target audience to include all those searching for hope and the assurance of God’s powerful message of salvation.
In December 2010, Carlton Byrd assumed the role of speaker/director. Byrd continues to expand the vision and reach of Breath of Life as he builds on the foundation laid by those who have gone before him.
The weekly broadcasts are taped at the Oakwood University church, where Byrd is the senior pastor. Byrd also holds several Christ-centered evangelistic meetings each year around the world. “While public evangelism continues to be a vital part of the ministry, Breath of Life continues to expand its global reach through social media, the internet, and television,” its website states.
Ministry does not end at the pulpit, ministry leaders said. “Breath of Life practices active evangelism in the local community through feeding the homeless, clothing distribution, and weekly prison ministry service. Breath of Life will also be reaching out to those who need physical as well as spiritual healing and hope,” they said.