VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/17/11)—300 Christian leaders gathered at the Forum of Bible Agencies – North America Summit Nov. 7-9 in Orlando, Fla., and signed the Uncover the Word Commitment, a public commitment and pledge to practice daily Bible engagement in their own lives and encourage it within their spheres of influence. A large number of North America’s leading Christian Bible agencies, denominations and ministries came together to shine a light on the disconnect between Bible ownership and Bible reading. Six leaders of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) attended the Summit.
“The purpose of the gathering was to explore possibilities for ecumenical promotion of biblical use and understanding,” said John Williams, regional executive minister of the Central Region of ABCUSA. “I was impressed by the broad range of theological perspectives represented by the various speakers. Pentecostals, Anglicans, Catholics, Baptists, non-denominational leaders, educators from Fuller Theological Seminary, media outreach innovators and religious researchers all spoke with a united voice around the importance and impact of Scripture and the need to find new, creative and meaningful ways to help people engage the Scripture.”
Other American Baptists attending the event along with Williams were: Yvonne Carter, managing director, Event Development, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS); Marcia Jessen, curriculum and production editor, ABHMS; Joe Kutter, executive director of the Ministers Council; Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, managing director, Resource Development, ABHMS; and Leo Thorne, associate general secretary for Mission Resource Development, ABCUSA.
Attendees at the Uncover the Word Summit affirmed and committed to:
- Declaring their confidence in God’s living and active Word
- Renewing their personal daily encounter with God through the Bible
- Restoring the Bible to a place of centrality
- Dedicating themselves to create compelling invitations to engaging with the Bible
A Barna Group survey commissioned by American Bible Society found that 88 percent of Americans own a Bible. But according to the State of the Bible study, fewer than half of Americans read the Bible more than once a month. A separate study done by the Willow Creek Association found that Scripture engagement is the only catalyst to spiritual growth common to every stage of spiritual development.
“I come away from the conference with a great impression. As we seek to lead our constituents to effectively engage the Bible, wonderful and thorough research is now available that can provide guidance,” said Joe Kutter, executive director of The Ministers Council. “The communications revolution our culture is experiencing can also be a great gift to the church as we share the riches of scripture. Because of these developments, we can become better leaders in Bible study.”
“Our hope is that Uncover the Word will ignite a movement of Bible readers and cultural influencers,” said Lamar Vest, president and CEO of American Bible Society.
About the Forum of Bible Agencies – North America:
Founded in 1990, the Forum of Bible Agencies – North America (FOBA) is an alliance of leading Bible agencies and mission organizations that work together to increase Bible access and encourage engagement with God’s Word. FOBA works to deliver and equip all people in every language group with the most appropriate language, media and cultural forms of Scripture.
About Uncover the Word:
Created by American Bible Society and embraced by the Forum of Bible Agencies, Uncover the Word™ is a national movement of Christians committed to the daily practice of Scripture engagement. The movement seeks to mobilize North Americans to freshly discover the Bible so that they are personally experiencing its life-transforming power and positively impact culture.
About American Bible Society:
Headquartered in Manhattan, the 195-year-old American Bible Society exists to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message. One of the nation’s oldest nonprofit organizations, today’s American Bible Society provides interactive, high- and low-tech resources enabling first-time readers and seasoned theologians alike to engage with the best-selling book of all time.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.