Early in life, Pastor Dale Galusha felt called to ministry. After attending Pacific Union College, he entered the ministry in the Northern California Conference. He earned his M.Div. degree at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University and then returned to pastoral ministry in northern California. He later spent six years in full-time evangelistic work. For the past 13 years, he has worked in various areas of ministry at Pacific Press—first with Signs of the Times magazine and then as a vice president. For the past three years, he has served as president of Pacific Press.
WHAT IS PACIFIC PRESS’ MISSION STATEMENT?
Pacific Press has a mission statement that reflects its role as a publisher of materials for evangelistic outreach and spiritual nurture of church members. The statement reads:
“The Pacific Press® Publishing Association, established in 1874, is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its sole purpose is to uplift Jesus Christ in communicating biblical teachings, health principles, and family values—in many languages—through various types of printed materials, video products, and recordings of Christian music.
“The Pacific Press® perceives itself primarily as a spiritual enterprise. This perception governs the selection of personnel as well as of all materials published, including advertisements.
“With this purpose in mind, the Pacific Press® has made a substantial investment in human and material resources to carry out a world mission.”
PACIFIC PRESS HAS AN INCREDIBLE STORY OF ITS MORE THAN 130 YEARS OF EXISTENCE. COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HOW GOD HAS HELPED PACIFIC PRESS OVERCOME THE MANY OBSTACLES IN ITS WAY?
When James and Ellen White established Pacific Press in the early 1870s, the church’s “mission field” was the west coast of the United States. The church had officially organized only about a decade earlier, and for some years its work and membership was concentrated in New England and New York. From there it spread across to Michigan and the upper Midwestern portion of the United States. At the time the Whites established Pacific Press in California, there were fewer than 500 members in the entire western part of the United States. Evangelistic materials were difficult to obtain since virtually all Adventist publications were printed at the church’s publishing house in Battle Creek, Michigan. With few members and few resources, the Whites stepped out in faith and established a publishing house in Oakland, California. That took courage and faith! They did it to advance God’s work and advancing God’s kingdom has been Pacific Press’ goal ever since.
Over the years, there have been disasters. Pacific Press was hit with two major calamities in 1906: an earthquake in April and a major fire just a few months later. But the employees—recognizing their mission— rallied together and rebuilt.
At times there have been financial challenges. But through sacrifice, hard work, and prayer, Pacific Press has weathered these storms and come out stronger and more committed to sharing the gospel.
HISTORICALLY, CHURCH GROWTH COINCIDES WITH PUBLISHING HOUSE PROSPERITY. HOW DO YOU FEEL THESE TWO ENTITIES SUPPORT EACH OTHER?
In the early years of the church, the message was carried primarily by preaching and via the printed page. Publishing—along with preaching—was the major focus of the church’s ministry. Ellen White had much to say about the importance of the printed page and of sharing the gospel in this way. In those early years when there were just a few members, she said that a time would come when more than 1,000 people a day would join the church, most of whom would trace their first convictions to a reading of the printed page. Today, far more than 1,000 people join the church daily. But we still see that many of those who join us do so because of reading an Adventist book or magazine or tract.
For many years, literature evangelists (formerly called colporteurs) have been the front-line workers of the church—the ones knocking on doors in communities. Many members trace their conversion, or the conversion of parents or grandparents, to publications sold or given by a literature evangelist. So when the publishing houses are producing and distributing soul-winning material, the church is growing and vibrant.
But the ministry of Pacific Press goes beyond soulwinning publications. The church’s publishing houses also produce materials that provide spiritual nurturing and training for members.
We are all concerned when we hear that those who once worshiped and prayed with us have left the church. Much has been said about member retention. Ellen White counseled that the printed page was one of the best ways to “hold members in the church.” She said: “Many will depart from the faith and give heed to seducing spirits. Patriarchs and Prophets and Great Controversy are books that are especially adapted to those who have newly come to the faith, that they may be established in the truth” (Ellen G. White, Evangelism, 366).
ARE PRINTED BOOKS AT RISK WITH TODAY’S TECHNOLOGICAL BOOM?
Certainly we see that people are getting information in new and different ways. The Internet is just one of the newest technologies that has changed the way that people obtain information. Over the years, radio, television, and satellite have come along and offered new means of transmitting and broadcasting information. However, people still read—and they read in record numbers. Wherever you go, you see people reading books, magazines, and newspapers. The printed page is still something that you can take wherever you go. You don’t need electricity, batteries, or equipment—just the printed page.
Yes, times do change; no one knows what the future holds. But I believe people will always want printed material, regardless of whether they get information through other technologies.
DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT: “IF YOU CAN’T READ, YOU CAN’T LEAD”?
I wouldn’t want to over-state that. There may be times and places where circumstances call someone to leadership who has not had the privilege of learning to read—or who can’t read well. I believe God calls people to leadership who are willing to listen to His voice and follow Him. Having said that, I believe that reading is very important to leadership at all levels. Especially in the day in which we live and in which the church operates, the ability to read, gather, and analyze information from printed sources is crucial to effective leadership. The following research findings are interesting:
Barna Research, a Ventura, California-based polling firm, reported in January 27, 2003, that “pastoral longevity seems to be tied to an active reading life. Those who have lasted the longest in ministry tend to read more than do their short-lived peers. The research firm also discovered that pastors who have been at one particular church for more than five years tend to read less.” Although the data does not indicate why these trends exist, Barna feels that “the bottom line is that pastors who want to stay fresh and mentally focused read throughout all stages of the leadership lifecycle.”
This is not just true for pastors—it’s true for people in all leadership positions, including elders. Paul said it this way: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” We need to be reading—first, the Bible (God’s Word); second, the Spirit of Prophecy; and third, the many books produced by the church for training, growth, and nurture.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD SPIRITUAL BOOKS, SUCH AS ELLEN WHITE’S WRITINGS, FOR CHURCH LEADERS?
A number of years ago, Andrews University did extensive research into the effects of reading the writings of Ellen White. These studies showed very strongly that those who studied the Spirit of Prophecy on an ongoing, regular basis had a closer walk with Christ and were more likely to share their faith.
IS PACIFIC PRESS CURRENTLY PUBLISHING A NEW LINE OF BOOKS RELATING TO IMPORTANT ISSUES FACING MINISTERS/ELDERS AND THE CHURCH?
Each year we study our new line-up of books to make sure we offer a balanced diet for the church. We publish book titles for children as well as adults. We publish books of general interest to church members, and we publish books of theological and doctrinal importance that will be of particular value and interest to pastors and other church leaders. We want to make sure that the freshest theological thought is available. We try to make sure that there are a number of books that foster a positive prayer/devotional life for leaders and members.
DO YOUR RESOURCES REACH MOST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD?
Pacific Press works closely with many publishing houses around the world. Through them, our books are distributed in many areas of the world where English is widely used. We also work with Adventist publishing houses around the world to translate and publish Pacific Press books in local languages as these fields see a need for a particular title. Also, due to the Internet, we are able to feature our books online at www.AdventistBookCenter.com so that anyone, any where in the world, can have access to the products we produce.
"Pacific Press has a mission statement that reflects its role as a publisher of materials for evangelistic outreach and spiritual nurture of church members."
HOW CAN LOCAL CHURCH ELDERS PURCHASE THESE RESOURCES?
Spend time at your local Adventist Book Center—most conferences around the world have a book center and provide a selection of valuable resources. And by visiting www.AdventistBookCenter.com on the Internet, church elders can see the entire selection of products available from the two official Adventist publishing houses in North America.
WHAT GRATIFICATION DO YOU PERSONALLY RECEIVE IN KNOWING THAT THROUGH YOUR WORK AT PACIFIC PRESS, MANY ARE HEARING THE MESSAGE OF JESUS AND SALVATION?
We receive many letters each week from individuals who tell us what the books and magazines have done in their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. These letters come from prisoners who have found a Pacific Press book. They come from individuals who have picked up a copy of Signs of the Times from a newsbox in their town or who have purchased a book from a literature evangelist. They come from individuals across North America and from countries around the world.
WHAT MESSAGE CAN YOU LEAVE US WITH TO ENCOURAGE WORLDWIDE LOCAL CHURCH LEADERS?
Take time to do two things. First, read a book. Let its words touch your heart. Second, share a book or a magazine. Let the printed page do its work in soulwinning! When you share a piece of literature, you may not see immediate results, but God promises that the day will come when we will see wonderful results! Keep reading. Keep sharing.
President of Pacific Press