NZ Bible Society's Jeremy Woods
Bible reading barriers are being directly addressed by Bible Society in this year’s Easter Gospel distributed at Easter camps around New Zealand.
The barriers were revealed in the organisation’s 2016 Youth Bible Engagement Research.
Not knowing where to start reading, having trouble connecting with God, time pressures and simply not understanding the Bible content were the key barriers uncovered in the research.
To help youth overcome some of these, Bible Society has published a special edition of the Gospel of Luke.
The publication features chapter summaries, an eight-week youth group discussion guide, and new reflection sections called pause.
The pause sections invite readers to imagine themselves in a Bible scene using their senses of sight, smell, hearing and touch.
“Using your imagination is another possible way to connect with God and the Bible. I encourage them to just go for it and not be concerned about getting all the details right. It doesn't really matter if you imagine the disciples in sneakers,” commented Jeremy Woods, Bible Society’s Youth and Young Adult’s Ministry Partner.
“It's about inviting youth to discover the Bible for themselves, hear what God is saying, and for them to reflect on what God is doing in their community.
Easter Camp editions
Since 2011, when the Bible Society first began preparing specially designed Bible resources for Easter Camps, more than 50,000 Gospels and other resources have been given away to youth throughout the country. The material is often used post-camp by youth group leaders as a discussion resource.
"This Gospel is about encountering and following Jesus. In Luke we encounter Jesus who (often over a meal) challenged common understandings about what it meant to follow God. Luke is an invitation for all of us to come and see if the way of Jesus is better than the way of the world," commented Jeremy.
A key goal in producing these resources is to give youth permission to grapple with their understanding of their faith with others. “It is important that they own their faith,” Jeremy said.
This Easter, the Bible Society, through the generosity of its supporters, will give away 11,500 Gospels of Luke at the following Easter camps: the three main Easter camps - Baptist Central (Fielding), Baptist Northern (Mystery Creek, Hamilton) and Canterbury Youth Service's Southern (Christchurch).
It will also be given to youth at the nine Presbyterian Easter camps held around the country and the Central Division Salvation Army Easter camp at Silverstream, Upper Hutt.
NZ Bible Society's Sarah Richards with Dr Mark Tronson at ARPA 2016
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html