Back Brentwood Baptist receives 2,500 Bibles, takes them to the street
February 14th, 2012
The challenge came in a sermon series emphasizing the importance of Scripture in every believer’s life: “Take this Bible, then give it away.”
Brentwood Baptist leaders had agreed in late 2011 to adopt the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the “official” translation for the church. This agreement came with a gift from LifeWay Christian Resources—new pew Bibles for the church, replacing the New International Version Bibles that have been in the pews since the Worship Center was completed in 2002.
But the first round of Bibles printed by the Nashville-based resource agency of the Southern Baptist Convention had a slight flaw. The font size in the Bibles was too small to meet the standards set by the publisher for a pew Bible that would serve thousands of congregations all over the country.
Since Brentwood Baptist was to be one of the first recipients of the newly published pew Bible, LifeWay leaders decided to scrap the first run of pew Bibles and adjust the format for the next press run. But since the 2,500 copies set aside for our church had already been imprinted with “Brentwood Baptist Church” on the cover, the offer was made for us to receive the Bibles and distribute them as we saw fit.
This is where God’s plan shone through. As Communications Minister Steve Smith expressed in a prayer at all-staff meeting last week, just before the staff combined forces to apply a printed sticker and a flyer insert to the nearly 2,500 Bibles, “It was no surprise to you, Lord, that when plans were being made for a sermon series on Scripture, these Bibles would be available to us to distribute to our people.”
Once the “mistake” was recognized by LifeWay and new, larger print Bibles were committed to being delivered a few weeks later, the worship planning team began considering ways these Bibles could be used.
The words “a gift from” were added to the gold printing on the front of the Bible, and two communication pieces were written to be included in the Bible: one adhered to the inside of the cover to be read by the person ultimately receiving the Bible, with a plan of salvation referenced and a way to contact the church; and a loose insert, telling Brentwood Baptist folks how to prepare for and pray for the person to whom they would give the Bible.
Pastor Mike Glenn had been teaching a sermon series called Finding the Book Again. As a result, many Brentwood Baptist members have found a renewed love for and commitment to the study of God’s Word. A church-wide Bible reading plan has been in place for about a year and continues in 2012 using George Guthrie’s “Read the Bible for Life” chronological reading plan. The sermon series culminated on February 12 with a blessing for the church’s renewed commitment to Scripture, and with a challenge to share God’s Word with someone who does not know Christ.
The Bibles were placed on the steps of the platform in each of the six worship services at Brentwood Baptist Church and the Church at Station Hill (the church’s first regional campus in Southern Williamson County), plus the Chinese worship service meeting in Baskin Chapel.
As Pastor Mike Glenn put it as he presented the challenge, “Come get one of these Bibles and smuggle it into our secular, humanist world. Don’t assume everyone here [in Middle Tennessee] has a Bible.” All but about 200 of the nearly 2,500 Bibles were taken by worshippers in a “come forward” opportunity at the conclusion of each of the services.
In an e-mail to Brentwood Baptist prayer partners the following day, Pastor Mike Glenn wrote, “Watching our members walk down and pick up Bibles to give to lost friends was one of the most profound moments I have ever seen as a pastor. Please pray that God will anoint the giving of His Word the way He has inspired the writing.”
Dennis Worley, Music and Worship Minister, said, “Watching people come forward in both Worship Center services—with lines backed up into the balcony—to get a Bible to give to someone is an image that will never be forgotten!”
Once the new, correctly formatted Bibles arrive at the church, the hundreds of NIV Bibles currently in the pews will be available for distribution as well.
According to Associate Pastor, Jim Baker, many of these have been committed to various ministry and missions partners, but he says, “It’s evident based on this experience that our people are motivated to give Bibles away. We may consider making Bibles available for this purpose on an on-going basis.”