I was at my first Board Meeting of the Stirling Drummond Trust today. Peter Drummond (died 1877) was a seed merchant-turned-evangelist, very keen on Sabbath observance and getting rid of horse racing in Stirling. Actually, he was very modernist – all for scientific innovation and making the most of new communication methods, like the Penny Post. He had over 237,000,000 tracts and papers distributed all over the world.
The Trust now dispenses grants for Christian publications – by Wild Goose (Iona), Fischy Music, Christian ecological resources for schools and so on.
But what is the role of the written word in telling ‘good news’ today? How do words ‘work’ in trying to reach hearts and minds? Even a ‘tract’ length is probably too much to make an impact, so should we only write at Twitter-length?
The Drummond Trust issued a policy statement in about 1914: “The one desideratum, next to the faithful presentation of the truth, is that it shall be presented in the forms of the present time and not of a bygone age”.