Marketing and Distribution
"In UBS thinking Scripture Engagement is a concept that emphasises making the Bible discoverable, accessible and relevant, that includes both making the Bible recoverable and discoverable as Sacred Scripture, and making Scriptures accessible as a place of life enhancing and life transforming encounter."
Bill Mitchell describes some of the challenges faced by United Bible Societies in the twenty-first century.
Globalisation and new technology challenge churches and Bible Societies "to intentionally engage the new culture, to express the faith in new media forms. Making the Word of God accessible on the Internet, as opposed to making it possible to access the standard text of the Bible via the Internet, requires understanding and use of a new 'media language'."
Bible Society strategies have needed to change around the world, moving from "dealing with Bible needs to developing mission strategies", moving from "distribution targets to engagement and encounter, from biblical illiteracy to transformational change, and from sales strategies to shared communication."
The article concludes with five examples of Scripture engagement from Latin America and the UK, to "illustrate the creative implementation and localisation of global mission strategies".
This paper was presented at the Edinburgh 2010 Conference, celebrating 100 years since the landmark Edinburgh 1910 world missionary conference. [more...]
"If the food is ready and the people are hungry,
don’t put it in the freezer and tell them to come back later."
The title of this article sprang from a discussion we had during a training course for Scripture Engagement practitioners in Yaoundé, Cameroon. From their experience of working with Bible translation teams across francophone Africa, the participants knew that it could take a very long time before completed portions (such as individual Bible books) got from the translator’s desk and into the hands of the people. The ‘food’ would be ‘put in the freezer’ waiting for the day when it would finally be served to those hungry to receive it.
So why does this happen? If the people are hungry for God’s Word in their own language, why would a translation team take this spiritual food and store it away in the freezer for another day? What is causing the delay? Isn’t there something we can do to reduce the time from translation desk to Scripture engagement? [more...]
"We know that just because someone has a printed Bible doesn’t mean they will use it. After the novelty has worn off, how can we encourage people to go on listening and engaging with God’s Word with their audio player?"
In recent years we’ve seen the launch of a number of multi-purpose digital audio players, designed for contexts without easy access to electricity: such as the MegaVoice Ambassador, the Saber, the Papyrus and the Audibible. They can contain hours of audio Scripture, songs, teaching, Bible stories, or whatever audio content you choose.
Suppose you had 10 of them, or 100, or 1,000? What would you do with them? Not only would you need to decide what to put on them, but you would also need to think about how people will get hold of them and put them to use.
This brief article describes 9 ideas for putting audio players to use, including listening groups, audio libraries, tools for pastors and evangelists, new communities and translation testing. [more...]
"When it comes to audio and video products, the mobile phone can be an effective method of getting the Scriptures to people... who then pass them on to other people... who then pass them on to other people..."
This article discusses some of the implications of mobile phone technology for encouraging the sharing of audio/video Scripture products. Questions raised include:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the best Scripture products for the phone?
- How will people get their first copy of the media files which they can then share with their friends?
- Are there any copyright issues involved?
- How could mobile phone technology become an obstacle to people engaging seriously with God’s Word?
- What are the most positive aspects of using mobile phones for Scripture distribution?
It has been amazing to see this calendar posted in the main markets of Northern Cameroon... We have found this tool an excellent method to get the Word of God out to the general populace.
A tool that has encouraged scripture engagement in Northern Cameroon has been a calendar that has both Arabic (Ajami) and Roman script dates. For each month there are culturally appropriate drawings and Bible verses written in the Ajami script. [more...]
When selling the NT or a Bible it helps to give with it something to encourage people to read portions each day. This might be a reading card for a year published by the Scripture Union (they have a special NT only one), or it could be a series of reading suggested by the local churches. Another popular possibility is a sheet of references dealing with specific problems, rather like the list found in a Gideon’s Bible.
In this article, Margaret Hill describes things you can do before, during and after a dedication event to promote Scripture engagement and use. These include competitions for choirs, Bible reading during the ceremony, providing how-to-read-the-Bible guides, promoting audio materials and running Scripture Use seminars. [more...]
Arguments against a diglot version focus on matters of cost, production time, and difficulty, and bulkiness versus ease of handling. Arguments for the diglot are mostly in the area of factors which will promote the use of the publication.
The author discusses the benefits and problems of publishing local language translations alongside national language in a diglot format. Taking the example of the language he worked with, Glover explains the reason they decided to publish the New Testament as a diglot edition: to increase the acceptability and usefulness of the translation. He also mentions several disadvantages, such as increased costs and publication time, which in this specific situation were thought to be outweighed by the benefits. [more...]
Common factors emerge that affect Scripture use: level of literacy, prestige of the language, and attitude of church leaders.
A wide variety of reasons account for published Scriptures not being used. They include a lack of literacy, a language that is dying or has low status, a translation rejected by church leaders, an inappropriate published format, a lack of distribution, a lack of contextualization when using Scriptures, and others. A summary of the conditions necessary for seeing Scripture used is also offered. [more...]
“The illustrations captured the imagination of the children.”
Mary Beavon describes a Scripture Use activity their team used in an area of Cameroon where churches are small, travel is difficult, and people have little money. They developed Scripture Big Books (from Shell Books), which served to both teach the Bible and promote literacy. They were used in churches and open air. Though it is not a sustainable activity, it provides useful manuscripts and exposes people to written forms of the Bible.
Not only do we not know about the state of Scripture Use in our projects, we often don’t even know how many New Testaments or Bibles have been sold.
In an effort to define progress and success in Scripture Use, Hill proposes both national and project level goals. She then addresses the specifics on how to carry them out in an effective and sensitive manner. An appendix containing a survey of questions to the point is offered.