27 June 2011
Primary school Bible instruction project reaches impressive milestone
There may be no more effective way of introducing children to Jesus Christ than bringing the Word straight into their education system, and one organisation has successfully taken Bible teaching outside the Church and into the primary schools.
Established nationally in 2007, Open the Book already celebrated the registration of its 1,000th Bible storytelling team and 5,000th volunteer this month.
"In just four years the quiet, unsung growth of Open the Book has been remarkable, and exceeded all expectations," says Peter LeRoy, chairman of the national project team of trustees. "A thousand volunteer Bible storytellers only three years ago have mushroomed into 5,000."
Thanks to Open the Book, approximately 175,000 children in both community and church schools across Britain are currently enjoying a Bible storytelling session each week - and this figure is currently rising by about 3,000 each month.
One of the most stunning things about this programme is that it is carried out entirely by volunteers. "All this is with just one paid member of staff, our National Co-ordinator, Dianne Brookes," says Peter. "It demonstrates what ordinary Christian people can achieve when they are inspired, equipped to work together and want to share the wonder and wisdom of the Bible with children."
Open the Book's success is mostly due to how they involve the children in their presentations. Many children are able to put on costumes and participate in the dramas that teach the Bible stories.
Peter LeRoy adds: "Everything depends on churches realising that although most have very few children attending on Sundays, all the children in their locality can be reached at school. Open the Book does this through 'broadly Christian', school-friendly, Collective Worship assemblies - as required by law. The benefits to churches and for community cohesion are very real."
The 1,000th team is preparing to take Bible storytelling assemblies into Windmill Primary School in Telford, Shropshire. All the teams use The Lion Storyteller Bible by Bob Hartman, imaginative visual material and the wording from the Open the Book handbooks and storybooks.
To learn more about Open the Book, visit www.openthebook.net