Engaging Different Audiences

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...]

Author: John Ommani

"Pastors have taken on the 'lecture' method to display the 'big man' syndrome which does not allow the people to engage. They are expected to sit and listen and remain silent. They feel this is how the church has to operate. The pastor simply tells them what the Bible says and what they need to do. They are not able to live out what they are told because they still have unanswered questions."

The model of the pastor as 'big man' who knows it all means that people have to sit and listen, and often this does not lead to engagement with Scripture in life-transforming ways. In many traditional cultures, leaders taught through stories, questions, and riddles, allowing people to interact and discover. Can pastors today learn to use discovery methods in the church that allow people to interact with Scripture and discover lessons for themselves? This article says yes, with field experience from Africa to demonstrate it.  [more...]

Report into Scripture reading habits of parents and children
Published by: Bible Society, UK

The Bible Society in the UK has launched Pass It On, a campaign to encourage parents to read, watch or listen to a Bible story with their child.

An accompanying Research Report is available for download. Among the findings are:

  • Only 35% of children have had a Bible story read to them by their parents and just 16% by their grandparents.
  • Over half of children (54%) never, or less than once a year, read Bible stories at school or at home, and 45% of parents of children aged 3 to 8 say they never read Bible stories to their child, falling to 36% in London and rising to 52% in Scotland and 60% in Wales.
  • In stark contrast, 86% of parents read, listened to or watched Bible stories themselves as a child aged 3 to 16.
  • For 1 in 5 parents (22%) of younger children, aged 3 to 8, a lack of time is a barrier to them reading to their children more often. For some parents, an increase in the availability of different types of media is making it difficult to read more often to their children. Yet, while digital devices are growing in popularity, 82% of children still like to read stories more traditionally in a book.

The report concludes:

Our research highlights a number of worrying trends, among them evidence that Bible literacy – already in serious decline – will become significantly worse in the future.

While millions of people in Britain and around the world believe in the value Bible stories bring to society, little is being done in our homes or schools to keep them alive for future generations.

The Pass It On campaign seeks to respond to this challenge.  [more...]

A Strategy for Promoting the Use of the Vernacular Scriptures in the Cameroon Baptist Convention Churches in Nso’ Tribe, Cameroon
Author: Shey Samuel Ngeh

MTh thesis, South African Theological Seminary (2015)

Abstract:

This research was prompted by the observation that there is minimal use of Lamnso’ Scriptures in Baptist churches in Nso’, even though the Lamnso’ New Testament has been available since 1990. It was also observed that the active participation of Nso’ Christians in Bible studies done in Lamnso’ points to great prospects for the extensive use of Lamnso’ Scriptures.

The author of this thesis seeks to devise a strategy for promoting Lamnso’ Scriptures for extensive use. He consulted academic works to find out what others have written regarding the importance of mother tongue Scriptures and conducted a historical analysis to find out how historical factors have shaped the attitude of Baptist churches towards Scriptures in Lamnso’. He did an empirical study by sending questionnaires to fifty-seven Baptist churches, receiving feedback. The data collected was analyzed and interpreted.

The result shows that even though Lamnso’ Scriptures are indispensable to spiritual maturity among Nso’ Baptist Christians, their use in evangelism and discipleship do not reflect their importance. This is due to lack of a proper strategy and biblical teaching on the importance of mother tongue Scriptures. Consequently, the author has proposed a theological framework to provide a theological basis for setting forth a strategy for promoting Lamnso’ Scriptures.

The theological framework is followed by a practical framework based on the historical and empirical analyses, as well as the theological obligations of the church. The author contends that proposed solutions, recommendations and action plans with practical steps must be implemented by individual Baptist Christians, churches, Baptist theological institutions and the Cameroon Baptist Convention at large so that Lamnso’ Scriptures assume their proper place in evangelism and discipleship for the growth of the church.  [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...]

A new way of getting people to get to grips with Scripture
Author: Steve Levy
Published by: Evangelicals Now (March 2010)

"There used to be just three people in our church reading through the Bible — now there are 150. One older lady, a believer since her 20s, had attempted to read the Bible through for years and every time had given up. ‘Now, together with everyone else, I think I’m going to do it’, she said."

Steve Levy describes how his church has divided everybody up into small groups - Read the Bible Together groups - which meet together once a month. Before coming to the group, people are asked to read or listen to a book of the Bible. They then come together to share what God has been teaching them: "We need to help each other. The Bible is written to be talked about. It grows. It is not bound."  [more...]