Ed: Talk to me about The Year of the Bible movement. How did this idea begin in your heart?
Nick: Year of the Bible is an effort to see more people in the Bible, more. The campaign is taking place in over 100 nations around the world, with hundreds of organizations and thousands of churches involved.
It’s important to note that while this campaign is launching in 2020, it has much more to do with calling people to have a year where the Bible becomes foundational to every area of their lives. That said, a person’s Year of the Bible starts whenever they are ready to dive in!
As we all know, Bible engagement isn’t nearly as high as we would hope it to be. I think I’m like many church leaders in that Bible engagement is something that I care deeply about, but have never really prioritized in my public ministry. I’m not sure it’s commonly a goal for churches, but I’d say it’s the one thing that changes everything.
Even in Willow Creek’s Reveal Study, getting people in the Word was the single factor that had the greatest impact on discipleship, evangelism, generosity, and more.
This idea was born in my heart out of a personal longing to have 20/20 vision come from the Word of God, rather than the latest and greatest ideas. Growing up in the church, I never actually learned how to read and prioritize the Bible, and for much of my life it wasn’t a priority.
I know what it’s like to feel guilty of not getting in the Word, yet feeling stuck when I get in it. Today, there are better tools and resources than ever before to help people fall in love with God’s Word.
Hearing about God is great, but hearing from God is even better. Let’s get people to the Source!
Ed: What does it look like to practically be part of this movement?
Nick: Year of the Bible has very practical on-ramps for individuals, churches, and organizations to get involved. You can find more info about all of these at www.YearOfTheBible.com.
First, we are asking people to make a commitment to get in the Word this year. Rather than this simply be something people do on their own, we are hoping for a viral and community effort. We are asking as many people as possible to post a picture of themselves with their Bible to social media, share what the Bible means to them, and use the hashtag #YearoftheBible
Second, we have numerous Bible tools and resources we are pointing people to. The goal here is to make it as easy as possible for people to get in the Word. The goal isn’t perfection, but presence... just you and God, in the Scriptures.
We have amazing plans on YouVersion with the Bible Project and The Bible Recap. Some are 10-day plans, others are efforts to get through the entire Bible. We also have some incredible audio and video resources from Streetlights, Spoken Gospel, American Bible Society, Alabaster, Museum of the Bible, and more.
If groups have their own plans, that’s great. We are simply pushing the Bible, and resources to help people love and understand the Bible for themselves.
Third, we are encouraging leaders around the world to host “Let it Speak” Year of the Bible Summits, with the goals of Inspiring, Educating, and Resourcing the local church to get our people in the Word more.
At each summit, we will bring in leaders working on the front lines of Scripture engagement to share research and resources that are working. Our team will be organizing five to ten of these in major cities around the world, but we are available to resource leaders wanting to host a gathering in their city.
Ed: As an evangelist, you are continually in scripture. What are some of your favorite passages and why?
Nick: Psalms 71:14-18 is the passage I recite every time before I speak. It serves as a prayer and refocus on my calling to declare the righteousness of God alone. Recently, I’ve loved revisiting the books of the Old Testament with the aid of the Bible Recap Podcast and Bible Recap videos.
Ed: You have a heart for bringing people together around the gospel. How is the gospel and our witness multiplied when we work together?
Nick: I believe there is supernatural blessing when believers come together, and especially when we rally behind gospel efforts that we aren’t the leader of! It reminds us that this is God’s work, not ours, and also exposes us to the ways the Spirit is at work.
Most of us remember that Jesus prayed for unity in John 17, but we forget that the reason was “that the world might believe.” I believe that when the church comes together around the call of Jesus, it is one of the greatest evangelistic magnets on earth.
Ed: You also head up The Table Coalition, which is the U.S. arm of the Lausanne North America and Lausanne International. As culture changes so rapidly in the U.S., where do you see signs of hope when it comes to the church and our witness?
Nick: It is clear that God is stirring across the nation today. Through The Table Coalition and the hundreds of organizations and denominations involved, we believe this is a revival generation. I see groups more inclined toward collaboration than ever, and more excited about sharing the gospel.