In Matthew 19:13, Jesus says, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” In order to carry on this work, it’s essential for the body of Christ to share God’s Word in a language and format accessible to young children, teenagers and millennials both in the U.S. and around the world.
U.S.: Bible engagement is on the decline among young people in America. A mere 7 percent of U.S. teenagers say they regularly engage with God’s Word. And 20 percent of U.S. millennials say that they are agnostic or atheistic in their beliefs.
Yet despite these numbers, there are signs of hope. Even though they don’t read Scripture, 49 percent of U.S. teenagers maintain a friendly view of the Bible. Bible-reading trends among millennials are consistent with those of U.S. adults. And both millennials and teenagers are open to engage with the Bible in new, digital formats.
World: Children around the world face serious physical and emotional needs that influence their spiritual needs. Too often, young children experience hunger, suffer economic oppression and confront the psychological wounds of trauma.
Reaching global children with God’s Word requires careful attention to their unique cultural circumstances. It would be inadequate to distribute colorful children’s Bibles without also asking the question: What factors are inhibiting this child from experiencing the love of Jesus?
U.S.: In the U.S., American Bible Society’s financial partners are making it possible for young people to experience the story of the Bible in fresh and exciting ways. Digital games, such as “The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance”—a whimsical video game that parallels the biblical story of redemption, spark Scripture engagement through entertainment. Through youth-centered websites, such as ReZilient Life, an outreach to military youth, we point young people to the Bible as they wrestle with life’s biggest questions.
Through partnerships with local churches and Christian youth organizations such as YoungLife, Christian leaders can benefit from with Scripture engagement resources and research in order to undergird existing youth ministries with the truth of God’s Word.
World: Thanks to our financial partners, children around the world have received a Bible in their own language, at their own reading level for the very first time. As they read, these children, who often include orphans and needy children, discover a God who loves them in the colorful pages of their very first Bible.
In addition to receiving God’s Word, American Bible Society’s financial partners also make it possible for children to experience God’s love by receiving support for their physical, emotional and educational needs in conjunction with Bible-based resources. In places such as Peru, where more than 17 percent of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition, Bible lessons are accompanied by hot breakfasts. In places such as Senegal, children without access to formal schooling learn how to read through Scripture-based literacy classes. And in countries including Africa to Thailand, children suffering from the wounds of trauma engage with the story of the Bible to find hope and healing through our Bible-based trauma healing program.