As a follower of Christ, you know the Bible is the single most important book ever written. As a believer, you know the power the Bible has to transform not only your life, but also your family and the generations that follow the legacy of your life.
This book is foundational to things we cherish like hope, purpose, respect for people who are different than we are, forgiveness, religious liberty, sustainable family order, kindness toward hurting people, a Constitutional form of government, scientific open inquiry, literacy and education, artistic expression and so much more. Almost everything we can possibly think of that is good and positive for individuals and communities finds the root of its development in the Bible.
Of course, the Bible teaches us about the gospel – the redemption God provides through Jesus Christ. That is why the Missouri Baptist Convention Missional/Evangelism/Discipleship Team is encouraging every church to join in an initiative to distribute one million Bibles in our state, up the I-29 corridor and any other place we do ministry in 2014. We’ve tested the process already in conjunction with the North American Mission Board with some churches and know that a one-million-Bible distribution is achievable.
To accomplish it means that hundreds of our churches must financially plan and sacrifice to strategically place a copy of God’s Word in every household in their community. To achieve this vision the church must purchase printed or audio Scripture, make them available to their local church’s members and set a period of time to accomplish the task. The week between Palm Sunday and Easter is the ideal time to kick off your church’s distribution efforts.
Why such a motivation to distribute the Word of God? Isn’t that the job of the Gideons (the international ministry that distributes two Bibles per second in 196 countries in over 93 languages)? They do a great job of Scripture distribution, but their mission is not uniquely theirs. Part of being the people of God is sharing the revelation of God, the Bible, with others. When this is a concerted effort, there is a synergy between our cooperating interdependent churches. May our churches be counted upon no matter how small or large. This is a fully scalable opportunity.
So if someone asks, “Why are you giving the Bibles away?”, share with them:
1. It connects people with God’s purposes. When someone reads the Bible or listens to it on audio and they know nothing about the God who created the world and His works through history to reveal His glory, they will be amazed. They will learn how the principles of the Bible have liberated millions of people from oppressive religions. When someone reads or listens to the Bible, they have a new understanding of how historical concepts such as personal dignity and individual purposefulness emerged from the dark centuries of humanity. They learn that God took the initiative to connect with mankind through His plan of redemption. His plan is woven into every book, every story, every song, and every epistle of the Bible.
2. It introduces people to the most important person in history, Jesus Christ. The Bible really is HIS-story. The entire Old Testament points to His coming, and the entire New Testament testifies to His teachings, actions and return. When you meet Jesus in the pages of the Bible and understand who He claims to be, it is impossible to remain indifferent to Him. His life changes a person from the inside out and every decision in every sphere of life is changed. The landscape of history is punctuated with the lives of many of the world’s greatest influencers who tell their rendition about Jesus Christ changing their lives.
3. Its message can transform generations. Earlier this month I preached at First Baptist Church, Festus-Crystal City. At the invitation time, a thirty-something man shared with the church that he had surrendered his life to Christ. As he stood there, I recalled the change the life of Christ made in the lives of my parents and the impact it made on my family and on my sons and hopefully my grandkids. When the worship service was finished, I was one of the first to look this young man straight in the eye and share with him how important his decision was to be a Christ follower. And his decision will make a huge difference for him and for his son, who was standing next to him. In the worldview of the lost, the primary motivator is most often, “It’s all about me.” But with the Lord it is all about Him. The more we receive the Word of God into our lives, the more future generations are shaped by its truths of redemption and reconciliation.
So I invite you to join thousands of Missouri Baptists in sowing down our great state with the Word of God. Then let us ask the Lord for a harvest of souls for Christ. To help you, our staff has placed a list of Bible providers on the Light Up Missouri page at www.mobaptist.org/light. Look for “Bible Providers” under the Resources Tab.