Megachurch pastor Bill Hybels' latest evangelism campaign for the local church was recognized as the best outreach resource of 2006.
Outreach Magazine, a leading provider of outreach products in North America, honors top resources that are voted on by readers alongside a panel of 10 experts every year. Just announced in its May/June 2007 issue, the winner this year is Just Walk Across the Room.
The book, written by Hybels and published by Zondervan, sold more than 100,000 sold since debuting in August 2006 and thousands of churches have launched its related four-week campaign which was designed to inspire congregations to share their faith in a non-threatening way.
"'Just Walk Across the Room' was our clear winner," said Outreach magazine editor Lindy Lowry. "Our editors continue to hear stories of how thousands of churches across the country have used this book and accompanying DVDs and small group curriculum to equip their congregations to share their faith."
Hybels' book was noted for its approachable style. Rather than tying down Christians with guilt, Hybels frees and empowers readers, according to Outreach.
"Just Walk Across the Room is my sincerest attempt to inspire Christ-followers to raise their level of evangelistic risk as they point people to faith," said Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill. "While I am both humbled and honored by this award from Outreach magazine, my greater hope is that it will cause a surge in outreach efforts by individuals and local churches around the world."
Hybels also nabbed honors for best Personal Evangelism resource with the same book.
For young students, Dare 2 Share founder Greg Stier presented an approach to evangelism that was not patronizing and that garnered him best Youth Outreach honors with his book Dare 2 Share: A Field Guide to Sharing Your Faith.
"When we reviewed it for our November/December 2006 issue of Outreach, we were impressed with Stier's approach to students – passionate, but casual, and never patronizing," the magazine article stated.
In his book, Stier describes the basics of witnessing to students of more than 10 different faiths, including Wiccans, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, Jews and atheists. Stier was also recognized for his passion for evangelism, which panelist Jonathan McKee called "contagious and compelling."
Other winners include God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door, co-authored by Alan Chambers, who heads the nation's largest ex-gay group Exodus International. The book – dubbed the best Target Outreach – addresses reaching out to the gay community and stresses that Christ's grace is for everyone, including homosexuals.
The Nativity Story, which debuted in December at No. 4 at the box office, won best Outreach DVD/Movie. The film reflects Hollywood's increasing shift toward faith-based and religious themed filmmaking.
Group Publishing's Heroes Unmasked won best Children's Outreach; Lee Strobel and Garry Poole's Discussing the Da Vinci Code won best Small Group Outreach; Thom S. Rainer's Simple Church won best Outreach Leadership Training; David Livermore's Serving With Eyes Wide Open won best Global Outreach; Erwin McManus' Soul Cravings won best Postmodern Outreach; and Immaculée Ilibagiza's Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust won best Outreach Testimony/Biography.
The winners will be honored at National Outreach Convention in November.