NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma had a great opportunity –- and a great need.
Based on last year’s results at its Falls Creek Baptist Assembly -– the largest youth camp in the world -– the BGCO knew it would distribute 100,000 New Testaments this summer for student discipleship at camp and for the students to use in evangelism when they return home.
With this summer’s camp instruction focusing on sharing the Gospel, students who commit to making evangelism a priority will receive five copies of the New Testament to give to non-Christian friends and colleagues.
The Oklahoma convention’s translation of choice was the Holman Christian Standard Bible (Holman CSB), produced by LifeWay’s Broadman & Holman publishing division and one of the five most popular English translations in the United States. The first major English translation of the Bible in this generation, Holman CSB translators strived for accuracy, readability and contemporary language that would make it an ideal tool for students and adults.
The challenge, however, was that the Oklahoma convention lacked funds to purchase the customized New Testaments at full cost.
Through a cooperative effort between Broadman & Holman, LifeWay Christian Resources, the Oklahoma convention and Holman Bible Outreach International (HBOI) -– a new LifeWay entity that exists to put affordable Bibles into the hands of people everywhere -– 100,000 customized Holman CSB New Testaments, which include notes from a Bible study specially prepared for Falls Creek students, and 8,000 CD-ROMs that contain an electronic version of the entire Bible were on hand June 10, the first day of distribution.
While the Falls Creek Bibles were HBOI’s first project major project, a second major undertaking soon followed.
Crossover Nashville door-to-door outreach volunteers were provided 40,000 copies of a customized Holman CSB New Testament titled “The Gift” for a region-wide door-to-door outreach June 18 prior to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., and the official launch of “The ‘Everyone Can’ Kingdom Challenge!” to baptize 1 million people during the 2005-06 church year.
The Oklahoma project reduced the cost of the New Testaments to $1 each -– about a third of the retail price.
BGCO Executive Director Anthony Jordan said the state convention is “amazed at God’s faithfulness and humbled that Holman Bible Outreach International would allow us to be the first recipient of this new ministry thrust, which is providing our students with the tools they need to apply their faith and share the Gospel in a very practical way.”
Broadman & Holman was only able to meet this urgent need because of the funds that were available through HBOI. Because HBOI has been incorporated into Broadman & Holman and is managed by its executive team, infrastructure and overhead already are in place, and HBOI dollars are freed to be used directly for ministry purposes.
“Nearly every day, LifeWay receives requests for donated or low-priced Bibles and Scripture portions,” said Ken Stephens, vice president of LifeWay’s B&H division. “These requests come from all over the world, where millions of believers are eager to share the redeeming message of the Gospel but lack an affordable, easy-to-understand translation of the Bible.
“With an initial endowment by LifeWay to fund early needs, we now have a way to begin subsidizing national and international Bible translations. Others may wish to join with HBOI to help fund worthy projects to provide Bibles and Scripture portions,” Stephens said. “There are more needs than can be met through this new ministry.”
By providing accurate and easily understood translations of God’s Word throughout the world, HBOI is pursuing LifeWay’s vision to “help people and churches know Jesus Christ and seek His Kingdom by providing biblical solutions that spiritually transform individuals and cultures.”
LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. said Holman Bible Outreach International was created “to expand LifeWay’s ministry by subsidizing Bible translations, sales and distribution for those who cannot afford to pay the full cost, or in some cases, any cost at all.
“Meeting the need for affordable New Testaments at Falls Creek is exactly the type of project we had in mind when we created HBOI,” Draper added.
For additional information about Holman Bible Outreach International, contact Linda Kephart via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (615) 251-3878. As a 501c3 organization, gifts to HBOI are tax-deductible.