By Arnie Cole, CEO
Christ Followers have always been driven to meet the needs of others. For example, when people in the next community are devastated by a storm, we are quick to reach out with food and funds to help. When ranchers in the next state don’t have feed for their livestock, a group of farmers will hear of the need and organize to get help on its way. And now, when Ukraine is fending off the attacks of Russia and innocent families are going without heat, lights and food in the middle of winter, the Lord’s people are leading the way to provide needed aid.
We give because He first gave to us. We sacrifice because Jesus sacrificed everything that was rightfully His as creator of the world. From confining Himself within the body of a tiny, helpless infant to subjecting Himself to the expertly crafted cruelty of Roman execution on a cross, He gave His all for you and me. Because of that, we, His people, are prompted by the Holy Spirit to see a need and meet it with the compassion and ingenuity Jesus has given us.
That is what led the Board of Trustees and me to strike out on a path of research and discovery, taking excellent Bible teaching from the broad and general delivery of radio and TV to the specific, individual-focused delivery made possible by someone's smartphone.
The switch has been made just in time, too. Last year I alerted you to the fact that the age 50+ demographic is dropping out of church in record numbers. Any hope of re-engaging them in their faith requires getting God's Word back into their lives.
Of course, such trends aren't confined to just adults.
Even more families are struggling over the needs of a young person they love.
Last year, I was sad to alert you to the findings of our general population study that 6 out of 10 young people (15 to 17 years old),growing up in Christian homes, are leaving Jesus far behind and staying away. Devastating. That hits us right here at home—right in the Church.
Add to that another heart-wrenching need of our U.S. youth in general. In a December 2022 article, the Washington Post reported, “The CDC found nearly 45 percent of high school students were so persistently sad or hopeless they were unable to engage in regular activities. Almost 1 in 5 seriously considered suicide, and 9 percent of the teenagers surveyed by the CDC tried to take their lives during the previous 12 months” (washingtonpost.com/ education/2022/12/05/crisis- student-mental-health…).
My purpose in telling you these things is not to overwhelm you with bad news. This is our wakeup call! This is how much those around us are hurting without Jesus and the hope only He brings. As a member of the family of Christ – the Lord’s people – this is such a critical time. As we join together, you, me and our Back to the Bible ministry, we can step up
to the challenge to meet these needs through the unique ways that God has gifted each of us.
Here is what Back to the Bible is doing right now. True we have nearly 84 years of history behind us, but we operate as a digital startup ministry now.
It takes about $4.3 million each year for Back to the Bible to create and operate the technology, produce the Bible teaching and distribute it for you, people in your community and others around the world. While that sounds like a lot to you and me individually, that is just a part of a single day’s expense in the tech world. Let's put it into perspective.
In 2021, Facebook spent $2.9 billion just on advertising its services to users and potential users. That is almost double Back to the Bible’s annual budget spent daily for a year by Facebook—just to splash its name in advertising that it exists and is available. Imagine what they spend on programming the actual technology so you and I can keep up with our friends.
Now don't get me wrong. We're not trying to compete with Facebook or TikTok. Our purpose is to provide an app that serves as a companion in navigating life with God's Word. I am also extremely thankful for what we have because it comes from you—the Lord’s people who see a need and respond from the heart.
I don’t like to ask, but the need is great. Your sacrificial financial gifts now, and in the coming months, will do so much for the over 50-year-olds who are giving up on their faith. Together we can bring them back to the church by getting them spiritually strong and healthy.
Making sacrificial or special gifts now will also provide what is needed to create the app and Bible teaching content for the new age 14-17 rescue plan. If gifts are received, it will launch and be available to them next year at this time—more quickly if significant, special gifts become available.
Imagine – each young person will be able to receive biblical content addressed specifically to their needs and provided free of charge on their phone—day or night.
The people we love around us are suffering but, as you can see, there is tremendous hope. Those over 50 can be called back. Those 14-17 can discover the truth of Jesus and take it on as their own living faith. Let’s get the Bible into their lives—matched to their specific spiritual needs and delivered straight to their phones on our latest apps and platforms!
We CAN meet these needs if you join us in becoming part of the response!
You may have questions. Please ask them. And if you understand and buy- in to the need and opportunity, please respond with your ceaseless prayers and sacrificial gifts.
You can help in another crucial way, too. Share this news with others you know who will also care. We each need to get in the spiritual battle personally by talking and rallying people to spiritual fitness—showing what the Bible and growing spiritually strong and healthy in Jesus has done for us, and can do for them, too.