I was privileged to be involved in different ways with the Biblefresh initiative, a partnership of 120 organisations (including LICC, where I work), which joined forces to help Christians and churches grow in their appetite and confidence in the Scriptures during 2011.
We asked Theos to conduct a survey of those who had been involved – as individuals and/or as partners, where appropriate. A report on the results of the survey, formally revealed last week, is available here, and an infographic displaying some of the highlights is available here.
Some of the headlines from the Executive Summary are:
• A wide range of churches and other organisations were involved in Biblefresh.
• Partners and users put on a wide range of activities.
• Partners organised a variety of public and outreach events in their local communities.
• E100 and the Biblefresh website were the most commonly used resources.
• Partner organisations were overwhelmingly positive about the way in which Biblefresh had helped them focus more on the Bible in 2011 than they otherwise would have done.
• Partners spoke of its success in ‘immersing’ and ‘familiarising’ people with the Bible.
• They were largely positive about the mutual understanding and collaborative efforts Biblefresh had encouraged and enabled.
• They were, however, a little less sure about whether these would amount to anything in the longer term.
• Partners were overwhelmingly appreciative of the ‘style’ and ‘freshness’ of the initiative.
• Biblefresh helped partners extend their reach into the wider community by doing things that they are unlikely to have done without the impetus of the initiative.
• Overwhelmingly partners said they would be willing to do something like Biblefresh again.
• Criticism from partner organisations was limited and tended to be specific.
• People’s use and experience of Biblefresh resources was on the whole a very positive one.
• User respondents thought that Biblefresh had been most successful in making them feel ‘enthusiastic’ about the Bible, in helping them ‘personally to read the Bible more frequently’, and in helping them ‘value the Bible more’.
• Of Biblefresh’s wider objectives, the single most successful was in helping people ‘explore parts of the Bible that [they] haven’t read before’.
• The regular churchgoers among the respondents (which was 98% of the total sample) were keen and engaged with the Bible, both individually and corporately, most attending biblically-serious churches and drawing on resources and material as they needed it. They read and studied the Bible frequently, if not necessarily regularly, sometimes in public although most often in private, and were deterred from doing so primarily by living busy lives.
• Respondents saw the relevance of the Bible to a wide range of aspects in their lives, although more people ‘got’ the personal connections than the more public ones, and only a minority saw any connection between the Bible and the manner in which they travelled (e.g. car, bicycle, plane, etc).