COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) – Emerson Collins has seen firsthand the power of Scripture to dispel darkness among youth and teens trying to navigate life in a world that considers truth subjective.
The 20-something Focus on the Family (FOTF) project manager is tasked with promoting FOTF’s national Bring Your Bible to School Day Oct. 6.
“I, having just graduated from college, saw in my high school and my college just so much darkness,” Collins told Baptist Press, “and I’ve lived through it. I’ve walked friends through it.
“There’s a very real presence of darkness in our schools and our campuses, with the difficulty and rigor of our courses. But also just spiritually, truth is being challenged right now in our culture. And so it is more important that students have Jesus Christ and have the Words of Life.
“Without that hope,” he said, “without that light in our lives, it is so easy to become saddened or despair.”
FOTF’s Bring Your Bible to School Day has grown from 8,000 participants in its 2014 inaugural year to more than 590,000 participants enrolled in 50,000 schools in 2021, FOTF said at BringYourBible.com. Collins is tracking even greater participation for this year’s event that encourages students of public, private and home schools to take their Bibles to school and thereby spur interest in the Word.
“We’re on track this year to blow that number out of the water,” Collins said. “We have already surpassed last year’s registrations and sign ups, and so we are expecting well over 600,000 households to participate this year. And I’m hoping personally over 75,000 schools to participate.” Schools are counted after the event.
Tony Evans, founding senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible College in Dallas and founding president of the Urban Alternative; Ray Comfort, founding president of Living Waters evangelistic ministry; Bible teacher Lysa TerKeurst and musical artists Tauren Wells and John Cooper are among well-known promoters.
Psalm 119:105 is this year’s Scripture, encouraging students to “shine God’s light.” Legal guidance, educational and promotional resources for the event are available at BringYourBible.com, with guidance tailored for students, parents and churches.
Collins, enrolled in a pastoral residency program at Calvary Church in Monument, Colo., saw the power of the Word to transform lives when he led a Navigators Bible student while attending Colorado School of Mines.
“I started a movement among my friends and peers through The Navigators called ‘The Open Carry Your Bible,’ and we started carrying our Bibles everywhere we went, openly,” he said. “And sure enough, people started asking us questions. ‘Hey, what’s that book you’ve got there. That’s a really fancy journal.’ And we had the opportunity to share that it’s actually our Bible and invite them to Bible study, or just talk a little bit about why we carry those books around.
“So without knowing it, I had already fostered the heart of Bring Your Bible to School Day in my own life,” he said. “It was a personal program that I began with my disciples in my Bible study. The response was boldness, first in the hearts of my direct group, but also later on in the ministry, where we saw an incredible revival at the School of Mines, a huge growth in the Christian ministry on campus, as well as just a public boldness to read our Bibles in the public study spaces.”
It’s well within the law to openly carry Bibles at school and to discuss and distribute them outside of class time, FOTF said on the event’s webpage.
Students are encouraged to register online at BringYourBible.com and to track participation on Facebook and Instagram. The additional Live It Challenge provides daily resources and encouragement to engage in and apply Scripture in personal lives.
Five winners will be selected for $500 Live Your Faith packages including Bibles and Bible related books, devotionals, apologetics resources, and Adventure in Odyssey resources, FOTF said, with prize entry guidelines here.