About 2 1/2 years ago, as a youth pastor, I got the idea to challenge my middle school youth group to read the whole Bible in 90 days. It was a crazy challenge – I recognized that – but I saw the value in taking in such large portions of Scripture for an extended amount of time. Right in the middle of the “90 Day Challenge,” we had a big youth group winter retreat and I got a few days behind. Toward the end of the 90 days, there were a few days where I was reading 3 or 4 hours per day to catch up. It was A LOT of reading, but I loved it. Not everyone who started the challenge finished it, but there were a handful of middle-schoolers who did!
That was my first time through in 90 days. At the time, planting Awaken Church was on the horizon, and I was excited about one day challenging my church to read through the Bible in 90 days. 2 1/2 years later, that opportunity came and we rolled out NINETY: A Journey Through the Greatest Story Ever Told. It sure was a journey! Not only did I teach different portions of Scripture each Wednesday for 13 weeks, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, but many of us were reading large portions of Scripture at the same time. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, I decided to write a blog about every book of the Bible as well (HERE is a link to all 66 blogs)!
One thing that I wanted to do was to figure out how much Bible we had taken in as a church, so I asked people to anonymously write down their reading times. 9 people (that I know of) made it all the way through the Bible in 90 days and 25 people wrote down how much time they spent reading. The 25 of us who recorded our time read our Bibles for a cumulative time of…
That’s a solid month and a half straight of Bible reading…with just 25 people (although we have a lot more people than that who actually read).
Part of the vision behind NINETY had been that as I sit down with people in counseling periodically, I can boil almost everyone’s issues down to one main problem: not enough Bible.
However, what I didn’t want to do was simply to gorge ourselves on Scripture and not do anything with it. So of course that is why we studied it and applied it, but that’s also why I issued a challenge at the end of our 90 days as well.
I reminded the church how accessible the Bible is to us here in America. Many of us have multiple Bibles and/or translations at home. I have 23 Bibles on my bookshelf and that doesn’t even count the 100+ versions in multiple languages that I have at my fingertips on my iPhone and iPad!
I reminded them of the many people around the world who don’t even have the Bible in their own language yet, and some of them that couldn’t even read it if they did. That’s why we partnered with a ministry based out of New Mexico called Faith Comes By Hearing. They specialize in reaching people groups around the world with audio versions of the Bible in their own language. As a church, we thanked God for His Word and its accessibility to us, then put our money where our mouth was and invested in this ministry.
Together, on just 1 Wednesday night, we were able to donate enough funds to make the Bible available to 5 entire villages of people around the world! A group of about 40 people enabled over 400 people on 4 different continents to hear God’s Word in their own heart language!
God’s Word is alive and active and we believe that and live that at Awaken Church.
It’s far more than a history book. It changes lives, saves marriages, redirects our paths, points out our sin, and so much more. To God be the glory for His Word and for the many more who will now have a chance to hear it!
Great job, Awaken! You make me proud.