Most local churches will know of a Market nearby, but do they ever think of the opportunities they present for meeting folk in the community?
It is true that Markets are becoming less popular, with less ‘foot fall’. If you decide to sell, then be sure they are bargain prices, remember folk love Amazon!!
Over a number of years we have promoted outreach into Markets by hiring a Stall and selling Children/Adult Bibles, also a range of children’s books and Scripture cards etc.
Many people who come by are both surprised and delighted to see such a display. Even if they make no purchases there is always the opportunity to have a chat and also give away free literature.
Sales are never high, but the opportunity to be a witness in a warm and friendly way is wonderful. I have met so many people and helped them find faith, join a local church, and buy a Bible. People have asked for prayer also.
So how do we get such a ministry up and running?
The work needs to begin in prayer as there are so many things to organize and plan, not least bringing together a team to run the Stall.
Find out if you can book a Stall. Normally you have to put your name down and wait for someone not to turn up. After weeks or even months you may get your own Stall. You will need to produce a Certificate of Insurance to cover Public liability. Best to join the Market Trader’s Association. (see details below)
You may be able to arrange ‘Sale or Return’ with a Christian Bookshop. You will need a good stock to make the Stall attractive and also a means of keeping the books dry and in good condition. (Bookshops will normally give a discount of 17 1/2 %.) A strict record of sales needs to be kept of sales & stock.
There is a lot of physical work involved with packing, unloading and storing the book stock. I found a small hand truck very helpful, also not to overfill the boxes. Use the plastic boxes, as they will keep the books dry in storage.
On the Market
You will also get to know the other Stall holders and make friends.
You are allowed to give away free literature to passers by, but not to shout out to attract people to your stall. (You need a pitcher’s licence to do this, and some Markets will not allow pitching)
You need to let people approach the Stall and not pester. These are important rules to remember.
This is a most rewarding personal contact ministry.
National Market Traders Federation