During the Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) International Convention in August 2021, Ted Wilson, General Conference president, announced an initiative to distribute up to 1 billion copies of Ellen White’s The Great Controversy worldwide. The book is a powerful tool for sharing the Gospel and has been instrumental in the conversion of many Adventists worldwide.
The initiative encourages Seventh-day Adventists to read and share the final book in The Conflict of the Ages five-book series. The Great Controversy is a comprehensive look at the history of the church from a biblical perspective and the ultimate victory of God over Satan.
“The written word is the basis of the preached word,” says Carl McRoy, North American Division (NAD) Literature Ministries director. “It prepares people to respond to oral presentations of the gospel and reinforces the points made from pulpits and media broadcasts, often answering questions that arise while listening to a sermon or Bible study.”
In the early stages of 2023, the NAD is encouraging members to participate. In past efforts, the focus was on mass distribution of books, either by door-to-door drop-offs or via the mail. Those strategies work well in some areas; in others, a more personal approach can be more effective.
Members who decide to participate can share the book with their friends, family, and community through various means, including face-to-face conversations, social media, and group studies.
Read It First
Although The Great Controversy is an often-referenced classic work written by one of the church’s key founders, some church members may not have had the opportunity to read the book.
“I am excited by the upcoming initiative of getting the books of The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy in the hands of as many of our family, friends, and colleagues as possible,” says G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president. “We are asking everyone across our division to read or read again this amazing book for our time."
Anyone can access The Great Controversy free online at www.TheGreatControversy.org. You can find the entire text online, listen to the audio version, or download a PDF or EPUB. For those who prefer a physical book, Pacific Press Publishing Association offers more than a dozen White Estate-approved editions at www.AdventistBookCenter.com/GreatControversy. Find a version for nearly anyone: illustrated, large print, condensed, abridged, youth, Spanish, and more.
The Great Controversy is an ideal book for small groups and Bible study class settings. Companion study guides are now available to help facilitate both small group and personal study.
Join the Project
Next, it’s time to get involved, and there are several ways to do that. Individuals can work within their own circle of influence—friends, family, colleagues—to gauge interest and share books. Church congregations may consider more large-scale approaches, such as zip code mailings or distributing copies at local events.
Some churches are considering a multi-stage approach, starting with sharing The Desire of Ages or Steps to Christ.
“Quiet time with a book and the Holy Spirit is often the best Bible worker for hard-to-reach people,” says McRoy. “Plus, people forget. Paper remembers.”
The General Conference has developed a website for the initiative: www.GreatControversyProject.org. The website hosts a proposal appropriate for presenting to a church board, information on how to order bulk quantities of the book, promotional materials, and even a reading plan and study guide for the book.
Pacific Press Editions
Some of the editions Pacific Press offers include Spanish, French, and Portuguese translations of several versions, and more languages will be added this year. Additional editions include:
- TGCP Sharing Edition—Full text, affordable paperback; best price for large quantities and zip code mailings; available in English, Spanish, French, and soon, Portuguese
- ASI 2022 Sharing Edition—Full text, affordable paperback; best price for personal sharing quantities
- Christian Home Library Edition—Full text, hardcover
- Leather Edition—Full text, leather-bound
- Standard Paperback—Full text, paperback
- Gift Edition—Full text, hardcover
- New King James Edition—Full text with NKJV Scripture references
- Illustrated Edition—Full text with color illustrations
- Darkness Before Dawn—An abridged sampling
- The Great Hope—A condensed sampling
- Love Under Fire—A condensed, contemporary language edition
- Michael Asks Why—A creative adaptation for kids
- War of the Invisibles—A retelling for teens through the eyes of an angel
The original version of this story was posted on the North American Division website.