Last month I had the privilege of speaking three times to over 500 clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany about the vision God has put in my heart for a church-based Bible reading revival. The truth is, I’ve been sharing this vision everywhere I can for over 10 years. But last month, an amazing thing began to happen.
My messages covered themes I’ve pondered for years–examples of Bible reading revival in the Scriptures and Church history, a new approach to Bible reading, a bigger vision for Bible engagement, plus an effective church-wide Bible reading program called The Essential 100 Challenge (E100).
But what amazed me this time is that God began stirring people to action. Bishop William Love took the lead by standing to say, “I’m committing to reading these Essential 100 passages myself and I’m inviting everyone in the Diocese to join me.” After that, all 120 churches, reaching some 9,000 parishioners, agreed to take the Challenge with the Bishop.
In addition, people began thinking of creative ways to reach out with God’s Word. A woman planned to start several E100 groups at the local university. A man felt convicted that his church didn’t have pew Bibles so he made it his mission to find some. A parish priest convinced his Vestry to host a community barbecue where people could share their Bible reading testimonies.
A few weeks later, the Standing Committee in Albany passed a resolution which said, “The Standing Committee unanimously endorses and commends to the Diocese the E100 Bible reading plan by Scripture Union. The Standing Committee members commit themselves to complete the program and to encourage its use in their parishes.”
I know it’s just a beginning, but I believe God is igniting a Bible reading revival in Albany. Now I’m praying it spreads to other Dioceses in the Episcopal Church. And I pray it won’t stop there. I pray it spreads like wildfire to the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics and yes, to seekers and non-believers too. I pray that God ignites a nationwide Bible reading revival, and I invite you to join me.