Guest article by Matthew Everhard.
For the King Trading Company – Interview with Brock Childers
Recently, I accepted a new pastoral call in Western Pennsylvania. So we packed up our home, and began to plod upwards, from hurricane warpaths of Florida to the colder land of our family ancestors in the Northeastern hills. Along with both a change in geography and in pastoral vocation, I decided that I would get a new preaching Bible to coincide with this turn of a “new page” in life. (Pun clearly intended).
After all, my previous preaching Bible was now so filled with notes, highlighting, and underlining that it was becoming less and less legible to my aging eyes. The marginal notes scrawled everywhere in the margins whispered quietly, reminding me of all my former sermons, lectures, and Bible Studies. Those notes were faithful voices and familiar landmarks, but they all pointed backwards to a sentimental past and days gone by. The Bible margins were stuffed full, graffitied like a ghetto wall, and I needed a fresh start.
[Watch the Video Review here].
And so, well in advance of my first day in the new pulpit, I began seeking a new preaching Bible. A new preaching Bible is a lot like a new companion in the journey of life. Some days–and many pastors can attest to this–one’s Bible is his best friend in the world. Sometimes it feels like his only friend.
Just as Christian in John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress walked all the way to Vanity Fair with Faithful, and then trekked the rest of the journey with Hopeful, there are times when life brings us new fellow sojourners. New friends. New companions. In a way, it was a sad leaving my old Cambridge Wide Margin Bible in the brown cardboard moving box, but today is a new day, and there is a whole new stage of my journey in pastoral ministry still to come.
Like many readers of Bible Buying Guide, if you are a Bible lover, you are probably searching for “the one.” You know, that one Bible that can do it all – large enough print, great paper, and some room to write notes. Part study Bible, part journal, part “every day carry,” we all want a Bible that can be all things in all situations. With my recently discovered penchant for verse-by-verse formatting, quickening the eye in sermon delivery, and slowing the eye while reading the text when alone, my search for a new preaching Bible drove me not to the store shelves but to the “archives.” There I found an older model ESV in single column, in my new favorite verse-by-verse format.
When I say the archives, I mean that the text block that I chose as my base model is unfortunately no longer in production. Today, there is a new double-column verse by verse edition available, but it doesn’t feature the same great LEGO paper from Italy that the older single column was printed on. Sadly, the format I chose for my new preacher is now out of print, so interested readers will have to buy one on Ebay, or wrestle one away from a friend with a good trade.
Thankfully, a friendly viewer of my Youtube channel sent me a pristine copy of the exact single column verse-style text block I was looking for, and the hunt began to find a rebinder who could gently remove the stock model Crossway cover, and put a gorgeous new leather cloak on this out-of-print beauty.
That’s where For the King Trading Co. comes into the story.
Brock Childers, the proprietor of this small company, agreed to rebind this text block for me, even as he was eager to launch his new Bible rebinding line. Childers, himself a pastor and leather expert, recently struck up an agreement with Abba Rebinding to be the technicians of his new Bible line. Since I have already reviewed some of For the King’s journaling products (here and here), I knew Brock would make sure this text block was well cared for. I knew that as a pastor, he would understand my need to have a preaching Bible that would be able to walk the pilgrim’s trail with me for many years to come.
I was of course, interested to see how the new cooperative agreement between Abba and For the King would turn out as well. I have to admit that I am very pleasantly surprised with the excellent results. The Bible is great, and it will suit my preaching purposes handsomely. It seems that the working relationship between Brock Childers and the good folks at Abba is going to be a beautiful thing.
Brock’s first run, a stack of CSB Bibles came back gorgeous. Brock is now taking orders for a first run of ESV Bibles as well as a second run of CSB’s. In the mix of all this, Brock kindly asked Abba to rebind my verse-by-verse with that initial run of CSB’s, and Abba was pleased to give it the same first-class treatment that they did with the CSB batch. Overall, it seems that this partnership is going to work smoothly.
With all this happening so irenically between Abba and For the King Trading Co., I thought it would be a good idea to have a quick chat with Brock Childers. What follows is a short interview between him (BC) and myself (ME).
ME: Leatherworking is such a neat hobby. There’s something beautiful and simple about it. The tools. The feel of the leather. It’s great. I think many readers of Bible Buying Guide will remember that the Apostle Paul himself was a “tentmaker” (Acts 18:3), which as I understand it was primarily a leather craftsman. How did you get into working with leather?
BC: I started working with leather a year ago when I wanted to purchase a leather journal. Looking online at the journals I liked I decided to buy some leather and a few tools and make my own. After making one I posted some pictures on Facebook and had people ask if I would make one for them. Those sold quickly and people requested different leather products, so my product line grew.
ME: I think it was recently that you adopted a new name, For the King Trading Company, and a new logo (the lion) which is very cool looking. Where did you come up with the name of company?
BC: The Bible teaches that whatever we do in life, we do for the Lord (see Colossians 3:23). I knew that a great logo is important in creating a brand, so I phrased the business “For the King.” The lion logo works great with the name. I created the name very early and it was first called “For the King Journals,” but that quickly stopped making sense, once we started selling bags, portfolios, wallets, etc. so we changed it to For the King Trading Co.
ME: What are some of your current best-sellers? What are people interested in?
BC: The portfolios have been the best seller for the past three months. I am getting just as many requests for rebinds since we added that to the product line-up.
ME: I noticed that you are now working with Abba in a cooperative agreement. Abba has been a top Bible rebinder for some time now, so that’s a big score for your little company. How did all that come about?
BC: It quickly became necessary to get help making products. I am a one man show. Being a full-time pastor and part-time student, I had to figure out how to produce quality products and keep up with other responsibilities. I reached out to a small team of leather workers who make my portfolios and messenger bags. They have been a fantastic partnership. Later I had requests for rebinds. After referring about 20 customers to other people, I went to work on how I can get into the rebind game. Abba was the first outfit I reached out to. After a few emails and a conference call, we worked out a deal on bibles along with three-ring binders.
ME: Awesome. Followers of my Youtube channel will get to see a review of the Three-Ring Binders in the coming weeks, Lord willing. How can interested parties get a hold of your products?
BC: The two places to contact me are my website and on Facebook. You can leave a message on the website, and I normally answer the same day. Same goes for Facebook. I am always looking to expand my product line with quality leather products that will last a lifetime.
ME: That’s so great brother, and we are happy for you and your ministry. If I’m not mistaken, some of the readers here at Bible Buying Guide might want to make that contact. Any last thoughts?
BC: This business has been a blessing for my family and I. Being a pastor of a smaller church, the additional income really helps. It allows me to spend some of the money to help adults go to spiritual retreats, as well as help pay for my wife and I to serve.