My visit in June to the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta was amazing. This was my first time attending the ICRS, but I’m sure it will not be my last. The experience was both exciting and humbling. Being a new author, I didn’t know what to expect. I have been to the furniture market in High Point, N.C. many times and attended other trade shows over the years, but this was different; not like any I have attended in the past.
At most trade shows the atmosphere is all business with some social activities thrown in to help “soften up” the buyers. This show was held to introduce new Christian books and authors to Christian bookstore buyers. Also other supporting materials were available to prospective Christian bookstore buyers to consider. I have never been in a group of business people this large, who had one thing in mind: Sharing Jesus Christ with the world by finding the perfect book or support article to help share the gospel.
They came from all over the world. It seemed more like a worship service than a trade show. We had entertainment, but this too was aimed at praising God. James Dobson, Charles Stanley, Ravi Zacharias, and even Duck Commander Phil Robertson was there. Contemporary and Traditional Christian music filed the air as we attended the Change A Life Festival on Sunday afternoon. We were there four days.
The walk from the parking garage was long and standing in the exhibitors booth was tiring, but I remember when Dr. Stanley spoke, he quoted Act 20:24, “Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus Christ—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love”.
He added “It is the word of God and the work of God that changes people’s lives.” I truly believe the people in attendance at ICRS had that purpose in mind; to change people’s lives and that was enough to give me the energy and stamina to continue. Many attendees turned aside during the day and prayed.
My publisher, Xulon Press, was one of the largest exhibitors there. We greeted many people, and met some very committed authors. We introduced our new books to hundreds of people, and left the result up to God. My visit to the ICRS was an inspiring and enlightening experience.