Has it changed our world?
About this time last year, I was sending out my Christmas letter to every member of my church. Enclosed was a Christmas card and the first two harbingers of the Biblefresh year to come. (Click each link for more details). The first was a bible reading plan for E100. Some followed the programme and others didn’t, but those who did have found it to be a very positive experience. E100’s use of longer Bible readings helped many to gain a ‘feel’ for scripture in a way they had not experienced before. The second enclosure was a motto card with the heart logo below, and the first of 50 bible verses the church has been learning from memory this year. Many of those verses have been personally introduced in worship services by those who have chosen them – testifying to a deeply personal relationship with scripture, often in the most testing of times.
The next event on our Biblefresh calendar was a ‘bible surgery’. At this evening service people brought along their most commonly used Bible, laid it at the front of the church, and talked openly about their problems with reading it. You can find an account of the issues raised here.
Two months later saw our Bible Photo exhibition: 79 images from 28 photographers illustrating over 60 Bible verses, with prizes sponsored by 3 local businesses. Quite apart from being a celebration of our creativity, the exhibition helped people to see the world biblically and the bible visually.
June saw the longest day of the year, and our 12-hour Bible reading marathon on the pavement outside the church. Many of the readers found this to be a challenging and uplifting experience, and just last night I spoke to a young man investigating the Christian faith for whom those public readings were a step on the way as he walked by and listened. Five days later we held an all-age Bible special Sunday service. Amongst other things, this included a ‘dragons’ den’ where our teenagers provided the dragons, and adults in the congregation pitched their ingenious ideas for Bible reading. You can read the story and see the inventions here.
Next on the agenda was our Harvest Festival service, with a focus on the harvest of God’s word around the world and a speaker from Wycliffe Bible Translators. In particular our thoughts turned to Burkina Faso, resulting in an unusual piece of footwear.
November brought a visit from the People’s Bible. This smart piece of technology allowed our 66 visitors of all ages to engage personally with the Bible in a brand new way, and many will remember it forever. The last piece of our Biblefresh puzle is the writing of a 100-word Bible. The winning entry will be tastefully combined with graphics and produced as a bound gift book for Easter 2012.
At last night’s evening service, people were asked about their reflections on the Biblefresh experience. They included:
- Enjoyment at reading the Bible in public at the marathon
- A sense of excitement at participating in the People’s Bible
- Looking at the world differently for the photo exhibition
- Rising to the challenge of the 50 memory verses
- Interested by bible factoids – displayed each week in church lobby
Has Biblefresh changed our world, like it says on the tin? It is too early to say just yet. However, it has provided the opportunity for this local church to push the creative boat out as far as it will go – and for that I am grateful.