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Keeping and Spreading the Faith

March 2005
One of the largest in-plants in the country, the Gospel Publishing House is crucial to its parent organization's existence.

By Erik Cagle

The Gospel Publishing House is arguably one of the most important and influential printing facilities in the in-plant world.

How can that be, you ask? What makes the Gospel Publishing House—the printing arm of the General Council of the Assemblies of God—the dean of in-plants?

Sure, it ranked a respectable number 22 on the IPG Top 50. But certainly, there are bigger facilities than the 93-employee operation, based in Springfield, Mo., site of the General Council's worldwide headquarters. And though GPH's annual sales of $11.8 million are impressive, surely other in-plants report far greater figures and boast more elaborate equipment and capabilities.

The point isn't that Gospel Publishing House is the biggest or best in-plant in the country, though. Rather, one would be hard pressed to find an in-plant that has had a greater impact on its parent company's existence, or one that plays such a crucial part in helping its parent sustain its core "business," in this case the creation and dissemination of the Assemblies of God's faith tenants.

"All the literature we produce goes out all over the world and furthers the ministry of the church," notes Michael Murphy, manager of GPH print operations and the print buying manager.

In fact, one of the reasons this religious denomination was created in the early 1900s was to allow its members to formulate their own doctrine and to control the printing of their religion's ideology. So the in-plant is essentially as old as the Assemblies of God.

And since the printed word is the gospel, and the gospel is the basis and lifeblood of this organization, in essence, no other in-plant means as much to its parent company as the GPH does to the General Council.

"Everyone can't be preachers, teachers or evangelists, but everybody can have their part in furthering the gospel," Murphy adds, referring to the in-plant employees who help to make the gospel a reality.

Tons of Printed Material

The premier publication GPH produces is the Pentecostal Evangel, a 32-page weekly magazine with a quarter-million print run. In addition to other monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly publications, the in-plant generates a full line of Sunday school literature in English and Spanish, pamphlets, tracts, book markers and other materials, to the tune of 14 to 15 tons of printed matter per day. Every other day a semi truck loaded with paper arrives at GPH, which operates two shifts five days a week, with Saturday overtime, if needed.

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