It All Started...
...in 1972, Jim Barclay, a lay activity leader of the Oak Brook SDA Church, was deeply challenged by the message of Matthew 24:14, ‘And this gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come.’
The more he meditated on and prayed over this verse, the more convicted he became that God’s people had something to do in helping fulfill the one last sign Christ gave that would signal His return.
From this growing conviction, Jim began a study of the inspired writings of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, which helped sharpen the evangelistic vision God was now giving him.
Two principle things became apparent to Jim from his studies.
1 - ”The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work, and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.” ~Gospel Workers, p. 352
2 -”The living preacher and the silent messenger(published word) are both required for the accomplishment of the great work before us.”
~ Review & Herald April 1,1880
From this realization, Jim began to look for ways to organize the members of his local church in active soul-willing, combining the forces of personal and literature evangelism. Understanding the importance of speed in fulfilling the great commission and that “the book work” was given to “be the means of quickly giving the sacred light of present truth to the world.” ~ Testimonies, Vol 9, p.69
Jim was inspired with the idea of utilizing the U.S. Postal Service as a way to “quickly” taking the gospel to every home within reach of his church in Oak Brook, IL. As Jim shared this vision with other churches, what began as a local church outreach quickly expanded to all of Illinois and finally the entire United States.
And thus PROJECT: Steps to Christ was born
The Great Chicago Mailing of 1976 reached 2.1 Million homes with Steps to Christ.
Since its early beginnings in Illinois, PROJECT: Steps to Christ has reached million of homes across the United States with mailings of Steps to Christ. Millions have been blessed through this ministry and especially the tens of thousands of people who have responded to the special mailing they received from PROJECT: Steps to Christ. In 1993, shortly after Jim’s passing, the ministry relocated to Northern New York and the vision continues to this day.
A number of years ago Fran, my wife, and I had the opportunity and the privilege to work for a ministry called PROJECT: Steps to Christ (PSTC) in upstate New York across the border from our home in Ontario, Canada. What we appreciated most about PSTC was the fact that we could introduce the masses to Christ where door to door work was limited or impossible. With so many residence in the U.S., and more and more gated communities and apartment buildings, we realized how difficult it was for most churches to reach the majority in their communities except by direct mail or other mass media. More important was PSTC gave the opportunity for the young, seniors, the handicapped and the shy and introverted to share Jesus with others without feeling at risk, overburden or rejected.
At the time when we worked at PSTC, mailings were restricted to only the United States. Being Canadians, Fran and I knew this ministry was needed in our country as well. Canada is a vast country with a diverse population and dispersed over a wide area (second largest country geographically), making it impossible to go door-to-door in some areas; for example, the far north where communities can only be reached by plane, boat or some other specialty type of transportation. In 2002 we asked PSTC permission to pursue starting a similar ministry in Canada; and with their help and blessing we started work on building PSTC Canada. God was preparing the way to go forward despite Satan’s best efforts to discourage us to abandon the project. When we started we had no books and only $200.00 in the bank.
Our first step was to design a Steps to Christ that would meet Canadian postal criteria for size and weight. Then we set up an office in our home basement and using our personal computer and equipment we found the necessary software to manage the ministry. Our greatest challenges, however, were yet to come. Every step of the way I kept telling God, “why bother?” One little part of the puzzle was in place, but there were so many parts still missing and seemingly nowhere to be found. Every time I complained and discouraged, He opened the next door, and may I add, the proper door at the proper time. Now application for charity status was being made. In Canada it can take up to a year to complete. In the meantime we needed books, and we had no money. I had doubts about this door ever opening. I should have realized this was a small task for a God who can feed thousands with a small basket of fish and bread.
A church from Saskatchewan called, referred to us by PSTC (USA), wanting to do a mailing. We needed $7000.00 to print 25,000 books, cover the cost of postage, and have enough funds to cover any requests for other free materials offered. At this time God didn’t open the door He took down the wall. They did a 15,000 book mailing which gave us enough to publish 25,000 books, pay the postage and cover responses; and we had 10,000 books for the next mailing. Our charity status was granted the week prior to the mailing.
On March 26, 2008, six years in the making, PSTC Canada was officially launched with our first mailing to Saskatchewan.
We have now publish an abridged version of “The Great Controversy” called “The Looking Glass” and mailed out over 72,800 copies. We have mailed over 429,500 “Finding Peace “ booklets (Steps to Christ) throughout Canada and have completed Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the rural routes of Yukon. But the work is far from being done.
We have touched a fraction of the 13,000,000 homes in Canada, yet PSTC continues to introduce Canadians to Jesus one mailbox at a time. I am astonished how God knew which door to open and the precise time it had to happen and continues to masterfully gives us the opportunity to do His work. I am reminded of the lost coin where the woman swept and searched for that little lost coin. Once in heaven may PSTC and I be forgotten like the broom, the celebration is for the lost that are found and not for the manner they are found!
To God belongs the glory
PSTC (USA) and PSTC Canada are not directly affiliated except in name, purpose, and mission. All donations remain in Canada