Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

Stickers vs. Zippers

February 23rd, 2009 by Beth A. Lewis

Do you remember the first Bible you were given? I remember mine very clearly. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old. It was a gift from my Grandma & Grandpa Lewis.

King James.

Black leatherette binding.

Gold embossing on the spine and front that said “Holy Bible” and also on the front “Beth Ann Lewis.”

Fragile, onion skin, easy to tear, paper.

Protected from little girl hands by a sturdy gold metal zipper with a cross dangling from the zipper pull.



Delicate inside protected by a sturdy exterior.

Definitely not something to be played with.

Serious stuff.

I suspect that several generations of us received gift Bibles like mine. They didn’t exactly inspire or encourage engagement with the Word, did they?

Fast forward to 2009.

The world has changed. We want our children and grandchildren to have a very different experience with Scripture than we had as kids. We want to activate faith. And, so, the Spark Sunday School resources are being created! There are many things I love about the creativity and energy of Spark! I encourage you and the people in congregations throughout your synod to learn about these features by attending one of our many free webinars . Or, in a number of communities, we are also offering Faith Formation clinics modeled on our years of successful music clinics. If a place near you isn’t listed, keep checking back because we are adding more all the time!

But, there are two Spark resources that especially kindle my imagination and excitement! One is the Spark Bible for children in grades 3 through 6 and the other is the Spark Story Bible for children age 2 through grade 2. These are as unlike my black leatherette zippered shut Holy Bible as anything I can imagine!

These books will encourage parents, grandparents (family or honorary), Sunday School teachers and other adults to help children gain an early enjoyment of the riches of the Bible.

I can’t wait to snuggle on the couch with Katelynn (6 ½ years old) and Lindsey (2 ½ years old), our granddaughters, reading from the Spark Story Bible . With 150 stories filled with gorgeous artwork and words that make wonderful sounds as they are read (Woosh, Swoosh, Gurgle, Kerplunk!) they will have a much better feel for the fun in the Bible than I did growing up! I’m hopeful that the Desert Streams Lutheran Church in Surprise, AZ where they are members will select Spark for their Sunday School curriculum. But, even if they don’t, these Bibles will make great resources with other curricula and at home.

And, for children who are a bit older, the Spark Bible is certainly a welcome departure from my childhood King James version! Check out the sample pages to see what a difference kid-friendly design can make! Children (and the adults who love them) are encouraged to engage with Scripture through activity suggestions and reflective questions. And, I can’t wait to see their eyes widen when they realize that they are being encouraged to make this Bible their own by marking it with the bound-in stickers! The stickers will help them note things like “I memorized it!” or “Makes me feel….(and fill in the blank)” or “Reminds me of….(and fill in the blank).” Not Scripture on onion skin, but Scripture that gets under your skin through active learning! These Bibles and this Sunday School curriculum will definitely activate faith for the next generation in ways we couldn’t have imagined when we were growing up.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was blessed to be given my Bible as a gift from my Grandparents as well as having my faith nurtured by many adults in my life. But, as I listen to stories coming out of our Book of Faith Initiative and hear that faith-filled church members are not just Biblically illiterate but in many cases fearful of being found out and embarrassed by their illiteracy, I wonder how much those zippered, black leatherette Holy Bibles contributed to the problem.

The solution is right in front of us for the children we love!



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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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