Proposal for a new Bookshop

February 20, 2019

…I thought I should give you some more detail regarding what’s in my head so that you have something to respond to. I hope this is helpful and comprehensible.

Vision.

The vision is Jesus: obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is the Kingdom of God, made visible through a life lived as a prophetic sign.

The vision is one church coming forth as a Bride made ready for the coming Bridegroom.

The vision is thousands of thousands from every tribe, tongue, people, nation, family, gathered together to declare ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!’

That’s the big picture. But the small snapshot which I have only recently seen and which I feel compelled to at least try is a Bookshop as ideal context to establish House of Prayer and Apostolic Hub, while continuing to use and develop personal skills and wisdom.

Proposal

A year starting a new bookshop, aiming to engage full range of people from local community. And in that context to begin establishing a House of Prayer and Disciple-Making Hub.

(After a year to assess whether or not it has succeeded: if has failed, to stop; it it has succeeded to decide whether to pass it on and step away, step back but stay connected, or press in for even more). Request: Will you join me in this?

Specifically, I would like J to be my business partner. I would like A to be involved and engaged as she likes, but leaving her free to go to and fro as the wind takes her, and do whatever else the Lord puts in her heart to do.

It would be a context for me to bring my skills, story and resources together with both of your passion for apostolic business, and with J’s passion for words.


Why?

A. Missional catalyst:

  1. New Wineskin as Suitable Container for Spirit of Whole-Hearted Pursuit of the Fullness.
  2. New Wineskin as Demonstration that New Things are Possible.
  3. Shop as Public Space for Worship, Prayer, Evangelism, Teaching.
  4. Business as Engagement Strategy, Branding as Essential Pre-Evangelism.
  5. Books as Resource for Discipleship (Both Others’ and Our Own!).
  6. Books as Catalyst for Christian Unity.
  7. Broad Selection of Books as Demonstration of Hospitality to Sincere Seekers of Truth from Other Perspectives.

B. Learning experience:

  1. Pioneering,
  2. Business,
  3. Legal Structures,
  4. Working as a Team.

C. Bonding opportunity: I would like to work with you!

D. Money. This could be a source of income for you. It could also be that I transition from being a ‘faith-missionary’ supported by gifts to an apostolic businessman earning money from customers through faith-filled enterprise. Or it might be that the bigger vision is better served by embracing a faith-missionary ethos and more easily recruiting volunteers? I would like your input in engaging with this question.


How?

Sell books. I am being given 1000 used Christian bookshops from Tree of Life. We can buy 2000 paperback fiction for £250 and 3000 children’s book for £300.

Costs. £500/month rent = £6000/year. Furnishing = £1000???. Bills = £50/month? A small shop is eligible for Business Rate Relief.

Specifics. Only open in the afternoons. Monday to Saturday 12.30-5.30. Only ten weeks per quarter. 300 hours per quarter. This leaves mornings free – for worship, prayer, discipleship, networking, strategy. Rhythm of 2-week scrums?

The Economics of Bookselling. 40% off RRP from wholesalers. So £4 profit on new £10 book. Or £200ish for 2000 used books==> 10p per book. So sell a used book for £3.50 get £3.40 profit. Say £3 profit per book sold.

Need to make £5 profit an hour to pay rent. Sell two books an hour, ten books a day. Sell five books an hour to pay rent and minimum wage for 1 person at till.


Goals.

  1. By end of first quarter, enough profit from bookselling to pay rent. Ie. sell 500+ books.
  2. By end of second quarter, enough profit from bookselling to pay minimum wage for person at till. Ie. sell 1300+ books.
  3. By end of each quarter, 50 more people signed up to £5/month borrowing club–so by the end of the year, 200 people signed up. (So sign up five people each week). (This would generate £1000/month on top of book sales.).
  4. By end of the year, apprenticeship scheme set up so that bookshop staff are apprentices (cheapest wage as well as most potential for impact).
  5. Release quarterly publication by start of second quarter. Provisionally titled ‘Leafing Through’. (Inspirations: Englewood Review; Slightly Foxed; London Review of Books.

Specifics

Location: if we move quickly enough 115 Picton Road - The shop is in very good shape, with a basement also nicely done (potentially set-up full-time as Prayer Room with music equipment); a kitchen; and a bathroom with shower. - Picton Road is Wavertree’s High Street. A main bus route. Road runs between University of Liverpool and Hope University.

Start Date: if we move quickly enough, we could aim to start Monday 1st April. April Fools’ Foolishness for the Gospel. If not 1st April, then I would prefer to continue to work in full quarters and wait until July. If you are up for doing this with me, I think we could start quickly. If you are not up for doing this with me, I perhaps need to wait a little longer. Though perhaps not. I believe this is a kairos moment and there is a need to move quickly to seize the opportunity. Both of the Picton Road location, and of my courage to do this.

Name: Word & Spirit. - Prophecies over Britain: 1. Smith Wigglesworth: ‘when the word and spirit come together…’ 2. Jean Darnell: ‘…communicators…’ - Not only words, but power of the Spirit. cf. 1 Cor. 4:20. 1 Cor. 2:4. 1 Thess. 1:5. - Father desires worshippers who worship in ‘Spirit & Truth’ (~=‘word & spirit’). John 4:24.

Other Inspirations:


Pray about this. Talk about this. Let me know what you think. All of this is open for discussion. Maybe this Friday we could Skype?