Tools and Methods

Author: Bill Mitchell
Published by: Edinburgh 2010 Conference

"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...]

Reducing the time from translation desk to Scripture engagement
Author: Richard Margetts

"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...]

Author: Margaret Hill

What kinds of resources and activities would be good for promoting Scripture Engagement in language communities around the world? This checklist was put together at a seminar in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2011.

I hope it will be useful as you work on planning and strategy issues in Scripture Engagement. Most communities would not expect to have all the items listed here but it is likely that they should be working on some in each category, with the aim of seeing people engage with God’s Word in their local language and culture.

The checklist includes 19 categories of activities and resources.  [more...]

Author: Margaret Hill

"It has been proved over and over again that people do not learn by sitting and listening to long lectures! The more the participants are involved in the learning process, the more they will remember. As much as possible, help the participants to put into practice what they are learning during the workshop. Use of drama, role play, music, small group discussions are all helpful ways of getting the message across."

Drawing on years of experience in running workshops around the world, Margaret Hill cites some of the problems encountered, for example: lack of mentoring and follow-up, wrong choice of participants, lack of political/social support for the participants, people sometimes like coming on workshops in order to get certificates without any expectation of using the new knowledge, lack of local funding.

After describing several possible solutions to these problems, Margaret concludes that "workshops and courses can indeed be very useful, but they can also be a waste of time and money. Planning is needed to make the best possible use of the time when people come together".  [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...]

9 ideas for using digital audio players in Scripture Engagement
Author: Richard Margetts

"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...]

August 29th – September 3rd 2010
Author: Edna Headland

"Praise God for this event where so many people from what Brazil calls the three waves of missions worked together. As one person reported, he heard expatriates, Portuguese MT Brazilians and indigenous people calling the event 'their forum'."

This is a report from the first Brazil Forum for the Use of the Scriptures in Indigenous Languages, which brought together 200 people, representing 59 ethnic groups and 32 organizations.

There were plenary sessions in the morning with group discussions following. In the afternoon there were workshops on topics such as Scripture Memorization, Use of Indigenous Scriptures in the family and eight other diverse topics. The evenings were for enjoying different ethnic music, hearing testimonies, and in general, having good fellowship.  [more...]

A Bible Engagement Tool designed to assist people to grasp the big picture of Scripture; the story of the King and His Kingdom, and their place in it!
Author: Clayton Fergie (Scripture Union International)

"The pattern of a fundamentally fragmented and disconnected understanding of Scripture still remains a major issue for those within Christendom, in both the majority and minority world."

Timelining Scripture is an innovative, yet simple Bible engagement tool that helps people to grasp Scripture as the single great coherent story of God’s purposes for the world. It reinforces a strong notion of the Kingdom of God and is particularly useful for helping people to find themselves, their community and their cultural context as actors within the biblical story. It is adaptable across age and cultural contexts and is highly visual, interactive and flexible.  [more...]

Author: Harriet Hill

"In 2001, a small group of concerned people met in Nairobi to discuss how to help people traumatized by war. By 2009, this discussion had yielded much fruit, both in Africa and around the world. As violence increases in the world, so does the need for ministry to traumatized people through Scripture, mental health principles, and the healing power of the Holy Spirit."

Harriet Hill tells the story of how the 'Healing the Wounds of Trauma' workshops began and developed. She shares personal insights and lessons she has learned in her own life, hearing people testify both that "God is good" and yet "This is not easy."

A key component of the trauma healing workshops is the use of the mother tongue Scriptures: using the heart language to address heart issues.  [more...]