What happens when a church commits to reading the entire Bible together in a year?
By Sophia Sinclair – Christian Community Churches
We live in a place and time where the Bible is more accessible than ever—we’ve got apps, different translations, audio Bibles… yet so many of us struggle to develop a consistent reading habit and rhythm.
At the end of last year the team at Hukanui Bible Church addressed this issue by posing the challenge: Let’s read the entire Bible together in 2018. They arranged for people to buy Bibles, advertised the challenge and encouraged anyone and everyone to join in.
“Everyone had the same reading plan, about three pages of the Bible each day, covering an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading and a Psalm or Proverb. We gave out 25 Bibles at the start, and that jumped to 50,” says elder and Pastor Gary Gilpin. “Now, I’d say we have about 60-70% of our church reading along through the Bible at the same time”.
Persistence is key
It wasn’t always easy, and the team have made a focused effort to keep the challenge at the forefront of church life. “We started a private Facebook group for people to ask questions about anything they found hard or confusing. Our service leaders and ministries would also coordinate the passages they were using with the readings for that day or week, and once a month we’d preach from the daily reading. We had to stay on promoting and reminding people that we were doing this together,” said Pastor Gary.
The growth and change in people has been noticeable, Gary says.
“There has been a gradual change we’ve been noticing. People have been talking about the impact it’s had on their outlook on life. It has also encouraged community and intergenerational relationships—our youngest readers have been 11-12 years old, and our oldest in their 70s, so seeing the Bible come alive for people across the ages has been a real pleasure.”
A natural way for families to connect
For church Elder Andrew Linton the increased accountability opened up opportunities. “It’s been a natural way for families to connect with each other and grow together. Our children are aged from 15-25 and we’ve noticed the teachable moments that pop up in everyday conversations.”
The church will be running the challenge again next year—with the plan taking people through a chronological reading of the Bible. The main aim is to encourage people to eat and drink deeply from God’s Word.
“Even if it’s reading through the New Testament, or committing to a Psalm and Proverb every day… or possibly switching up the translation, we’ve had a number of people reading the New Living Translation and finding it has brought a freshness to their regular reading habit.”
Cultivating a heart attitude
Both Andrew and Gary point out that the challenge has not been about a performance or hitting a perfect formula, but about cultivating a heart for God and his Word.
“It takes discipline, like every good thing,” says Andrew, “and ultimately it’s an attitude, a commitment, a covenant to hear God’s voice day-by-day and treat it as a privilege.”
This story is kindly republished with permission from Sophia Sinclair (Communications Manager) for Christian Community Churches. Adapted with permission.