I had on my heart to encourage our church people to read the Bible every day for a whole month. This led me to present a challenge to the Église Amour et Vie.
According to a poll made in our church at the end of March 2015, 48% (24/50 respondents) of our church people said they read their Bible every day.
My goal was to challenge at least 80% of the people of our church to read their Bible every day. I prepared a bookmark to this end to help them keep track of their daily reading. On one side, I wrote Proverbs and added boxes they could check for each chapter read in Proverbs each day. On the other side, I wrote Acts with 28 boxes. I challenged people to read one chapter in Acts and/or Proverbs per day for four weeks.
If 80% of those attending church during these weeks before Pentecost Day on May 24th, 2015, (not counting visitors and children) succeeded with the challenge, our plan was to release red balloons (filled with helium), one per person in a park, and then to pass on this challenge to all the Christian churches throughout Canada. It is called the Red Balloon Challenge.
Balloons cost almost 2$ apiece taxes included. (Latex bio-degradable balloons are recommended.) We ask for a minimum gift of 3$ per person for those who can invest this amount; it is free for those who cannot afford it. Those who wish to give more can do so; this will cover the amount to buy a few extra balloons and to have a surplus that we could send to ChildCARE Plus, sponsoring children in Haiti.
This project takes place between Easter and Pentecost 2015. People start reading during this period, but must start at least 28 days before Pentecost Day to read every day. If in any given week, someone forgets to read one day, he will catch up by reading it the next day. Just like the Jews in the wilderness, they picked up manna for six days and had enough for seven; a day of grace per week is certainly acceptable.
The idea of this project was inspired by Rev. David Wells (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada Superintendent) strategic initiative (seewww.everydayfaith.ca) and my desire to see our church people read their Bible every day.
According to some statistics, in Canada, approximately 11% of churchgoers read their Bible every day (see http://everydayfaith.ca/?p=2997). According to another survey, 20% of Protestants read their Bible every day.
In March 2015, according to a survey in our own church, 48% of attenders said they read their Bible every day. The survey included the following statement: “I read my Bible every day”. People could check “yes” or “no”. Considering this percentage, I thought I could set our challenge at 80% in order to make it meaningful.
Before launching this challenge, we had people preregister to see if 80% of them were willing to accept the challenge. 82% of our regular attenders did, (visitors and children not counted).
The week before the release of the red balloons, we estimated that 80% or more of our people read their Bible every day (at least six days out of seven as agreed). This was calculated on the basis of the number of people who registered and by our attendance for the last three weeks before the event. On Pentecost Sunday, after the service, we will go to a park, enjoy a picnic together and then release our red balloons.
We are sharing this challenge with all the Christian churches across Canada. It is not necessary to aim at 80% of the people for your church to succeed in this challenge, but it is good for you to at least know the percentage of your people who do read their Bible every day and to aim at a higher percentage so as to stimulate them to do so. If they read at least a portion, it is acceptable. Six days out of seven is also acceptable as on Sunday, we read the Bible together; we also need to allow people to read more during the week in case they have forgotten one day. This encourages people instead of discouraging them.
The surplus money can be sent to any charity of your choice. In order to respect the environment, we encourage you to buy latex balloons that are biodegradable.
You can do this project at any time of the year. Give people at least six weeks so they will have time to take on the challenge during the last four weeks.
If you succeed at this challenge in your church, could you send us a picture of your red balloon release by email with at least your church name and address?
May God bless you and have a good reading!
Pastor Peter Oram
Église Amour et Vie
Watch a video of their red balloon release here.