GLOW, the pocket-sized tracts with titles such as “Can Dead People Talk?” and “Secrets of Mental Health,” has reached a milestone with the publication of 45 million copies in seven years.
GLOW, an acronym for Giving Light to Our World, passed the 45 million mark with the printing of 20,000 tracts in the Hungarian language a few weeks ago.
The publication in Hungarian also brought to 48 the number of languages into which GLOW has been translated.
Not bad for a little publication that started in California when the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Central California Conference decided to begin an evangelistic ministry centered on the creation and distribution of short tracts containing biblical truth.
“We watched for God to open doors. Instead, it feels like the floodwaters are carrying us through the doors,” said Bill Krick, literature ministries director for the conference. “In fact, we are running to keep up with GLOW.”
The idea behind GLOW was to inspire Adventists to carry informative literature with them wherever they went and to share them as opportunities arose. The blueprint for the program evolved from
Publishing Ministry, a book written by Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White.
The Giving Light to Our World program was officially launched in September 2007, and Nelson Ernst was placed in charge of developing the tracts.
Before the first tracts were even developed, Idaho-based Pacific Press publishing house contacted Ernst and offered to put GLOW’s contact information on the back cover of Pocket Signs tracts.
In 2008, GLOW released the first three tracts, titled “End of the World,” “Promise of Peace,” and “Talking with God.”
Local churches and other conferences quickly expressed interest in adopting GLOW as part of their own ministry lineup.
“It was refreshing to see church members getting motivated to pass out literature," Ernst said. "Hearing the success stories motivated them even more.”
New tracts were developed steadily and began to be translated into other languages. By 2009, GLOW had caught the attention of entities outside of North America. The Danish Adventist publishing house contacted Ernst and offered to print GLOW tracts on scraps of paper left over from other print jobs, giving birth to the first international GLOW printing.
Over the next few years, GLOW stories and testimonies began appearing in the
Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines on a regular basis.
By this point, the ministry had grown significantly, and discussions with the Pacific Union, which oversees the Central California Conference, led to the transfer of GLOW’s operations to the Pacific Union.
The General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist world church, brought additional attention to GLOW by making it one of three resources available on its official publishing mobile app.
Creative methods to distribute GLOW have flourished, including a partnership with
Adventist World that led to the printing of a GLOW tract in its January 2015 issue, distributed to 1.5 million homes. Readers were encouraged to cut out, fold and distribute the tract.
Stories soon began to surface.
“After receiving the tract in the magazine, inmates in Michigan reached out asking for more,” said Kamil Metz, international coordinator for GLOW. “They were excited to share more GLOW tracts with their families.”
February proved to be a significant month in the history of GLOW. In addition to passing the 45 million mark, GLOW was voted by publishing directors from the church’s 13 world divisions as an official literature publication endorsed by the General Conference. The vote was made at a conference of Adventist publishing leaders in Istanbul, Turkey. Metz attended the gathering at the invitation of the General Conference publishing department.
Since the trip to Turkey, the president of the European chapter of Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries, or ASI, has asked Metz to present a seminar at one of its upcoming meetings. GLOW leaders hope that the opportunity will lead to the publishing of GLOW into even more languages.
“The goal of the GLOW ministry is to empower every believer, whether young or old, with a vision and passion for sharing their faith and saving souls through easy-to-share literature,” Metz said.
A version of this article appeared in the Pacific Union Recorder.