I received this delightful email recently from Robin Souhrada, the Director of Faith Formation at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, IA.
I was so excited about this idea and I suspect that others will be, too, that I asked her permission to share it here:
“For several years as a part of our Milestones Ministry we’ve given Bibles to your children and youth. Preschoolers get the story Bible (currently Spark Story Bible), third graders get their Bible (currently Spark NRSV Bible) and those youth beginning Confirmation receive a Bible (currently Lutheran Study Bible), too. Many congregations do the same kind of ministry.
A couple of years ago we decided to give each student a second Bible. One was theirs to keep and use to grow in knowledge and faith. The other was to give away to someone outside of their family as a way to disciple to others in and around the community.
Initially giving a second Bible was not in our congregation’s mission plan (budget). The extra expense was noticed in our monthly finance report with eyebrows raised and questions asked. When told that the extra expense was spent on Bible to give away to children and youth, all felt like that was a good and appropriate way to use the money given through our members’ tithes and offerings. Gifting a second Bible has become an exciting, generous and joyful part of our milestone ministry.
Last Sunday, September 20, was our Bible Milestone Sunday. We planned for 8 three-year-olds, 11 third graders and 7 eighth graders. That meant we purchased 16 Spark Story Bibles, 22 Spark NRSV Bibles, and 14 Lutheran Study Bibles. (Actually, a couple more of each just in case there were visitors or new members.)….
….I was asked to share our story….because we know it is the mission of Augsburg Fortress( to) share the gospel and help equip people and congregations for faith and spiritual growth. This is an exciting way of using Augsburg Fortress resources and Bibles to that end.
….we invite you to share our story so that others may be encouraged to purchase additional Bibles for the purpose of spreading God’s word and teaching generosity. We appreciate the support and resources of Augsburg Fortress Publishers. You are an important partner in our ministry.”
Oh, my! And, we appreciate your witness to the Gospel in such a creative way, Robin! I can only imagine the joy the children and youth in your congregation experience as they give away one of these Bibles to a neighbor or classmate. And, here is a photo Robin sent of some of the Bethlehem kids and youth with their brand new Spark Story Bibles, Spark NRSV Bibles and Lutheran Study Bibles!
Thank you for sharing this inspirational story with us, Robin! What’s your congregation’s story about creative ways to use resources we publish? I’d love to feature your stories here, too!
Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress