plains_optPLAINS, Ga. — Visitors by the thousands flock to Maranatha Baptist Church in this small southwest Georgia town to hear President Jimmy Carter teach a Sunday morning Bible lesson. For many, who come from near and far, it is the first time to visit a Baptist church and, for some, to attend Christian worship.

Previously they have left with only impressions, memories and cherished photos with the former U.S. president and his wife Rosalynn, a church deacon. Now they may take a copy of Nurturing Faith Journal & Bible Studies with them as well.

A foundation’s anonymous gift made possible the launch of this collaborative effort between the publishing ministry and the Maranatha congregation. The journals are imprinted with an email address to which visitors can share their experiences of Bible study and worship as well as from reading the journal that promotes thoughtful, compassionate Christian living.

This collaboration grew out of conversations between Maranatha pastor Jeremy Shoulta and Nurturing Faith Journal editor John Pierce. They concluded that providing the journal could help visitors better understand the congregation’s Baptist identity and extend their Christian witness.

The congregation embraced the collaborative effort that began with the September/October issue being made available to guests — many who arrive early on Sunday morning to secure a seat in the church sanctuary. NFJ