Contact: Ben Irwin, Biblica, 719-235-7354; Jeremy Summers, The Wesleyan Church, 317-774-3891
COLORADO SPRINGS, Dec. 17, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- While 80% of churchgoers struggle to read the Bible daily (source: Lifeway, 2012), the Wesleyan Church denomination is inviting its 1,700 churches in North America to reverse the trend of diminishing Bible engagement. This February, The Wesleyan Church is launching Community Bible Experience, a campaign to read the entire New Testament in 40 days.
The Wesleyan Church is partnering with Biblica, publisher of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, to hold its Bible reading campaign during the eight weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, starting on February 24. Participants will meet in small groups that are designed to be more like book clubs than traditional Bible studies.
"I am delighted for us to read the entire New Testament as a denomination this spring," said Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church. "Community Bible Experience is going to draw us together as a church, and it's going to root us even more deeply in the Bible, which is central to our faith."
The Wesleyan Church is the first denomination in North America to officially adopt Community Bible Experience, but a handful of Wesleyan congregations have already participated, including The Wesleyan Church in Hamburg, a 2,000-member congregation in upstate New York.
"I couldn't believe how many people in our church had never read the New Testament straight through," said John Wood, Community Life Pastor. "The book-club format allowing just about anyone to join in generated an enthusiasm for Bible reading that I've never seen before."
Biblica developed Community Bible Experience to address declining engagement with the Bible -- both in and outside the church. Only 1 in 5 adults have read the Bible from start to finish. Yet interest in the Bible remains strong, with 6 in 10 Americans saying they want to read the Bible more (source: Barna, 2013). To date, over 200,000 people in more than a dozen countries have completed the Community Bible Experience together.
"The key to this program is reading with others at the same time," said Paul Caminiti, Vice President of Bible Engagement for Biblica. "Reading the Bible in community allows everyone to ask questions or reflect on surprises and truths found in the experience."
The Wesleyan Church's Bible reading campaign starts February 23, 2014 and ends on Easter Sunday, April 20. For more information and details on church locations in each state, visit wesleyan.org/findachurch.