Angela Breidenbach, the Christian Authors Network president, here to share the first in our series on Christian bookstores making a difference in their communities. This article is written by one of our Christian Authors Network members, Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne’s expertise in sharing human interest stories comes through as she interviewed Herman and Denese Morris of the Manna Christian Bookstore in Sanford, NC. I think you’ll enjoy their way of managing a bookstore ministry and Diane’s way of delving into who they are and what they do at Manna Christian Bookstore…and by the way, they were one of the two stores that won a huge box of books from CAN members at the Munce Christian Product Expo in Sept. That’s what brought this special store to our attention. But what we learned is worth sharing with you! Introducing Manna Christian Bookstore…
A Little Bookstore with a Big Impact
From the outside, Manna Christian Bookstore may seem like nothing more than a modest storefront in a small town. But a lot of ministry goes on inside this building—some of it on the other side of the world. Herman and Denese Morris opened the bookstore in Sanford, North Carolina, in 1996. They used to have help from their daughter, until she moved away due to her husband’s work. Now the couple manages the business on their own, while also pastoring a church together.
The owners of Manna Bookstore have a heart for missions. Herman and Denese consider themselves “honored to bless other ministries”, especially the opportunity to send boxes of Bibles and books to pastors and lay people in other countries. They were thrilled by reports they received after a recent shipment to Africa. Through their efforts, some pastors received the first Bible they had ever owned. In areas where believers consider the possession of a few pages of Scripture a privilege, the gift of a complete, intact Bible seemed like an impossible dream come true.
That’s not to say that Manna Bookstore doesn’t minister to the local community as well. People stop by on a regular basis just to have someone to talk to or to ask for prayer. Others come in seeking a recommendation of a Bible, book, or other resource. On many occasions, these customers walk out with a gift from Herman or Denese rather than a purchase.
At a time when independent Christian bookstores struggle to stay in business, Denese believes their participation in missions is what keeps them open. “Selling books hasn’t made us rich,” she adds. “But building up the Kingdom makes us millionaires.” Herman sometimes jokingly reminds her that “we can’t give away the whole store.” But both husband and wife agree that “The more we give, the more God blesses us.”
With such a heart for ministry, God surely has more blessings in store for Manna Christian Bookstore.
How to contact and find Manna Christian Bookstore
Dianne has published three other devotional books: The One Year Women of the Bible (Tyndale), Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions in the Bible, and Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation (both by Baker Books). Designed for Devotion won a 2013 Selah Award.
Dianne is one of ten authors who contributed devotions to Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus 2013, 2014, 2015, and the upcoming 2016 edition.