So Thankful for Hearts & Minds Bookstore!

On Friday Hearts & Minds Bookstore of Dallastown, Pennsylvania will celebrate a major milestone for any small business. For thirty years, proprietors Byron and Beth Borger have faithfully and relentlessly served their neighbors and their God by selling books and promoting reading. As I sit here the day before Thanksgiving, Hearts & Minds and my friendship with Byron & Beth is pretty high on the list of things I’m thankful for!

I hope the Borgers don’t mind me pointing out that I was only five years old when they opened the store. As I was eating turkey (and too much cranberry sauce, again) during my first “break” from elementary school, the Borgers were probably putting books on shelves and a sign out front. It wouldn’t be until I was twenty-four that I would step foot into their store, nineteen years after it opened. And, with nineteen years of book evangelism under his belt, Byron went to work, recommending books and going over the “must reads” and best authors. It’s difficult to put into words what it is like to spend an afternoon with Byron at his store. Challenging. Exhilarating. Refreshing. Those words come to mind pretty quickly. So do names of authors. If it were not for Byron, I never would have known about or have been encouraged to read writers such as Wendell Berry, Walter Brueggemann or Marva Dawn. And now it’s hard to imagine my faith without reading their books. There are countless other books and authors too, but Berry, Brueggemann and Dawn represent three writers that Byron recommended at just the right time, as he always seems to do. And they are not authors that you typically see on display at most “Christian bookstores.”

There are many ways that I could honor Byron and Beth with this short reflection. Thirty years as a small business owner is inspiring enough, to say the least. What’s more, the bookselling industry has been hit pretty hard of late. Way to go Byron and Beth! Thirty years! Wow. But I don’t want to miss this opportunity to say very clearly and publically that Byron and Beth’s friendship and Hearts & Minds Bookstore fuel my work daily as the Director of CPYU’s College Transition Initiative. My passion is seeing young people take ownership of their faith during the critical years (18-25). Many times I will be talking to a teenager or parent or youth pastor and I’ll think: “If only they could spend five minutes with Byron, they could ‘see’ the difference faith in Jesus makes in every area of life.” To do my work well, I need resources and encouragement. Byron and Beth offer both on a regular basis!

The store itself is a reflection of the Kingdom of God. God cares about every nook and cranny of his Creation, and He has called people to serve Jesus is all areas of His world. (I can’t imagine writing that sentence without Byron’s influence.) And some of them have taken the time to write books (and sell them!) to spur others on to do likewise. Put simply, without Hearts & Minds, the Gospel of the Kingdom would be harder to believe.

Thank you, Byron and Beth, for your commitment and courage. It is an honor and blessing to call you friends. Here’s to thirty more years!

Please take a few minutes to watch this video of Byron talking about his store at the Center for Faith & Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. And join me in being thankful for the ongoing ministry of Hearts & Minds.

And, I am pleased to announce that on December 4, CTI will be hosting an event with Byron and Beth. The “Christmas Shoppin’ Drop-in” will be held at Mount Joy Mennonite Church from 6:30pm-9:00pm. There will be an opportunity to purchase thoughtful Christmas gifts from Hearts & Minds with a portion of the proceeds going to support the ministry of CPYU/CTI.

Learn more about the CTI “Christmas Shoppin’ Drop-inhere.