Invite your key leaders to help you work through the issue of how to fund the books. This is really a philosophical decision that your leaders should make together. You have three basic options for funding the books, and three different philosophies that drive each option:
1. Pay to Play: require people to purchase their books.
Philosophy: There is value in asking people to pay to participate in a program, because they are more likely to follow through and do it when they have spent their own money.
2. Optional Offering: ask for a donation to cover the cost of the books. If they can’t afford it, they don’t have to donate, but others might donate extra.
Philosophy: If people are required to pay for a church program, they will object because they’re unable to afford it or they feel coerced. But if payment takes the form of a voluntary offering, not only will people feel honored, but many will cheerfully give more than was asked and thereby share in covering the costs for everyone.
3. Free Gift: the books are funded by the church budget or a designated donation, and given away.
Philosophy: This is a gift from the church to the congregation, and is an indication of the value the church is placing on this program. The church wants everyone to participate, and no one to be left out because of money issues or other forms of resistance.
4. Charge a participation fee for each person: “family bundles” are offered for families purchasing more than one book.
Philosophy: People are required to pay, but it helps lower the costs for whole families to commit. It helps to express the fee in a per-day or per-week cost (“Your $10 book works out to 32 cents per week!”).