Engaging Different Audiences

Published by: Lion Hudson

Five years ago Lion Hudson (a UK based publisher) was approached by the United Bible Societies with the need for an illustrated re-telling of the Bible narrative that was suitable for a wide age range including adults, culturally appropriate for non Western readers and which could be printed at a price that made it affordable for a mass market in the two thirds world with minimum or no subsidy. The organisations settled on a long-standing and successful title - The Lion Children's Bible - as the book that best met this requirement.  [more...]

Illustrated Bible selections and Bible videos
Author: Keith Neely
Published by: Neely Press (2012)

"I realised that no translation was worth anything if my children didn't read it on their own because they wanted to. The burning question for me as a parent was how do I get my children into the word of God so that the word of God would get into them? As a professional illustrator the answer became obvious."

The Illustrated Bible - containing the historical books of the Old and New Testaments - is available in two formats: as illustrated pages and as video. Each Bible story selection contains the full Bible text with accompanying images.

The videos are made from the still images, with the camera moving over the illustrations, zooming in and out, and panning across. The images are realistic rather than using a cartoon style.

There are several free Bible stories and video clips to view online or download, as well as others to purchase. Translation and dubbing is possible into other languages.  [more...]

Published by: Barna Group (2013)

The Millennial generation of young people are known as "digital natives". According to recent research carried out by the Barna Group in the USA:

"the most common way Millennials are blending their faith and technology is through digital reading of Scripture. It’s an escalating trend, considering there are just as many YouVersion (the free Bible phone app) downloads as there are Instagram downloads. And BibleGateway.com has become one of the top Christian websites today."

The research found that:

"Seven out of 10 of practicing Christian Millennials (70%) read Scripture on a screen. One-third of all Millennials says they read sacred Scripture on a phone or online, demonstrating how broadly the digital trends are shaping this generation."

In addition, 38% of practicing Christian Millennials said they search the Internet to verify something a faith leader has said. This might be during a sermon, as many bring their smartphones or tablets to church with them.  [more...]

An interactive journey through the Old Testament
Author: Jennifer Wright

In this detailed 17-page workshop guide from the Ndop region of North West Cameroon, Jennifer Wright describes how participants were taken on an interactive journey through the Old Testament:

What?
The Bible Overview Workshop is a two day workshop for leaders of church groups, such as listening group leaders and Sunday School teachers, with the aim of giving a basic knowledge of the overall Bible story and particularly aspects of the Old Testament which are important for understanding the New Testament.

Why?
We had trained people to be listening group leaders and children’s leaders, and they were generally doing well, however we realised that due to limited knowledge of the Old Testament, some were finding it challenging to lead their group because they were not prepared for the kind of questions that could come up unexpectedly when listening to or reading the New Testament – for example about the priests, the sacrificial system, the Passover feast, etc. Although they knew a lot of Bible stories, many did not have a very clear idea of what order they come in and how it all fits together.

How?
Geography: We had a simple map of the Ancient Near East on the wall and the whole room was set up to match the map. The participants moved around the room as they engaged with the material so they gained an understanding of the layout of the places we were talking about and the movements of the people of Israel, from Abraham’s first journey to Canaan to the return from Exile.

Timeline: Each participant received a blank timeline at the beginning of the course, and there was a large version of it on the wall. As we went through the material, we completed the timeline on the wall and the participants completed their own timelines to match it so they could take it home with them.

Telling Bible Stories together: We selected a set of stories to give a coherent summary of the Old Testament. Some stories which were well known to the participants were covered very briefly by letting them summarise them or in some cases act them out. Other stories were narrated or read from the Bible.

Questions: For several key passages, we asked questions based on the text in order to encourage discussion and bring out key points, especially when they would be referred to later. We also gave space for participants to ask questions.

Discussion topics – e.g. we finished the first day by making a large model Tabernacle (out of people, benches, a sheet, cardboard boxes, etc.) and then having a discussion of sacrifices, comparing the Old Testament sacrificial system to the local village’s sacrificial system.

Download a full description of the workshop as a PDF document.  [more...]

A Case Study of Young Adults Who are Not Involved in a Faith Community
Author: F. Morgan
Published by: Encounters Mission Ezine, Issue 27 (Dec 2008)

All approaches to interpreting the Bible are culture bound, including the systematic theologies of modernity. The Church needs to be open to new ways of reading the Bible and should encourage people to interpret texts for themselves by adopting a more interactive approach to preaching. A divinely inspired text must be capable of speaking into postmodernity just as effectively as it has done in the past. The Church should embrace the openness of non-churchgoers to the Bible's wisdom, moral values and powerful prose while attempting to communicate that the text is more dynamic, surprising, challenging and relevant than society assumes.

This paper explores attitudes to the Bible among non-churchgoers in the UK. It focuses on a case study of young professionals, examining their familiarity with the Bible and their opinions of it. It evaluates the ways in which the Church attempts to raise awareness of the Bible and asks how culturally relevant these approaches are to the people represented in the case study.  [more...]

An explorative study of children's critical and theological ability to engage with the Bible, using a contextual Bible study, on the Widow's offering in Mark 12 as a case study
Author: Alice Kathleen Fabian
Published by: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg - MTh thesis (2012)

Abstract:
The flat narratives presented in Children’s Bibles typify the assumption that children are incapable of engaging theologically and critically with the Biblical texts. The manner in which Biblical stories are told to children during their formative years can have negative repercussions as children perceive the Scriptures as static and irrelevant. By denying children the chance to explore the dynamic text, they will never discover the depth and potential of the life-giving message of the Bible and can become despondent with Christianity, perceiving it as immaterial as the Biblical narratives show no resemblance to reality. Developing a habit of blindly accepting Christian teachings can also develop a faith which allows unhealthy indoctrination and oppressive beliefs into the Christian’s life.

This thesis explores what is necessary to enable and encourage children to critically and theologically engage with the Bible. Using the story of the Widow’s Offering in Mark 12 as an example, the traditional readings present in Children’s Bibles were compared to a critical reading of the text. A Contextual Bible Study was then conducted with two case studies from grade 1 and 4 at Scottsville Primary in order to determine whether children are able to critically and theologically engage with the concepts of Christian Humanism and textual criticism. The findings reveal that this is an important area of research that requires urgent further investigation.  [more...]

Author: Wendy Strachan
Published by: Scripture Union International (Catalyst, August 2007, pg. 2-7)

Our problem is not relevance. It is accessibility. The world of today’s children is different from the world of the Bible with its unfamiliar names, values, cultures, countries, politics and history. Our task is to build bridges between the world of the child and the world of the Bible so that children can enter that world and meet the God who is so utterly relevant to their world today. Our task is to open up the Bible.

This article is based on a paper given at the Worldwide Scripture Use Consultation 2006 by Wendy Strachan, Children's Ministry Co-ordinator with Scripture Union.

The author argues that we close down the Bible for children when: we sanitise it, we trivialise it, we reduce it to a book of 'stories with a moral', we treat it as a book of rules, we treat it as a textbook of information to be memorised, and when we treat it as a book of stories about heroes.

To open up the Bible, we need to: let the Bible speak for itself, let children explore the Bible text in their imagination, build a framework within which children can interpret their world and God, and then respond to God's Word.  [more...]