One of the first churches PROJECT: Steps to Christ (PSTC) ever worked with was the Joliet Seventh-day Adventist Church located about 20 miles southwest of Chicago. During their first year of operation (1973), the Joliet Church stepped forward and sponsored one of the first mailings of Steps to Christ to 35,000 households in their area. Photos taken by Sue Calandra
That was nearly 50 years ago. Today the ministry is still going strong though from its home base in upstate New York where we have continued to serve the churches of the Lake Union and beyond since 1994.
One of the first churches PROJECT: Steps to Christ (PSTC) ever worked with was the Joliet Seventh-day Adventist Church located about 20 miles southwest of Chicago. During our first year of operation (1973), the Joliet Church stepped forward and sponsored one of our first mailings of Steps to Christ to 35,000 households in their area. Considered to be one of our first test mailings, they received 185 requests for Bible studies and 83 requests for more free literature. The success of their mailing campaign was an inspiration to many other churches in the Illinois Conference and Lake Union and became a catalyst for a much larger campaign to reach all of Chicagoland in 1976.
Move the clock forward 43 years and the Joliet Church was again actively using the ministry of PSTC , this time sponsoring mailings of our Great Controversy Mailer, a large, colorful six panel brochure offering a free copy of the book (our primary lead generating mailer) This mailing reached 70,623 homes in Joliet and the surrounding area between 2016 and 2017, bringing in 416 requests for The Great Controversy.
Forward the clock another three years, and the Joliet Church was again pioneering with PSTC, this time sponsoring a Facebook lead generation ad campaign offering a free Great Controversy to all of Will County and again in April 2020 with a free Bible study offer. In April and July of 2022 they sponsored two more Facebook Bible study ad campaigns to everyone within a 15 mile radius of Joliet. In total they reached 67,741 Facebook users and received 223 Bible study and 96 Great Controversy requests.
Fifty years ago, the landscape of the world certainly looked different than it does today, but the need for Christ and His end-time message has never changed. The Joliet Church has moved progressively with the times, understanding the value of digital marketing in this age of social media. And it has worked tremendously for them just as their first campaign did using direct mail media almost 50 years ago.
PSTC continues to serve many of the same churches that come back to us years or even decades later, looking to sow the seeds of truth again in their communities, giving lost and hurting souls another precious opportunity to know the Savior and prepare for His soon coming. If you are ready to respond to the Lord’s call to “GO” and “preach the gospel” to everyone in your neighborhood, city, and beyond, give us a call at 1.800.728.6872. We’d love to help you and your church fulfill the great commission in your corner of the world’s great mission field.
Steve Peden is director of PROJECT: Steps to Christ, Inc.