Two U.S. Bible organizations have joined forces to fight the decline of Bible engagement in America, where 76 percent of people identify themselves as Christian but only 46 percent say they read the Bible in a given a week outside of church.
"The importance of the Bible in America is really too big to fail," commented R. Lamar Vest, president and CEO of the American Bible Society, which forged an alliance with Scripture Union/USA this past week.
During a meeting Thursday in New York City, Vest and SU USA President Whitney T. Kuniholm signed the three-year agreement, joining their organizations' resources to promote the practice of reading and living by the Bible among churches and individuals across the nation.
According to an announcement, the joint project will bring together the strengths of both organizations to help foster a National Scripture Campaign that will equip local churches and denominations to connect the Bible to the challenges and struggles of day to day living.
The alliance is the culmination of years of collaboration between the two Bible groups, which first teamed up in 2004 for a research project to find how to promote the habit and practice of regular Bible reading and to gain information about the characteristics of non‐Bible readers in the United States.
Together, SU and ABS also ran a 18-month project starting in 2007 to test SU's new Bible reading program, "The Essential 100 Challenge" (E100), in Greater Philadelphia and around the country.
To date, thousands of churches and over 110,000 people in churches all over the United States have reportedly taken "the Challenge" to read 100 key passages giving one an overview of "the big picture" of the Bible.
"We are thrilled to join together with Scripture Union to develop and deploy resources our American Church needs to open and engage the good news of God's Word," ABS's Vest commented.
And "Scripture Union is pleased to deepen our mission partnership with the American Bible Society," added Kuniholm.
Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., Scripture Union conducts evangelism and discipleship programs across the country and has a variety of Bible reading publications and programs for all ages.
Manhattan-based American Bible Society, meanwhile, exists to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford. One of the nation's oldest nonprofit organizations, ABS focuses on advocacy and resourcing through strong relationships with strategic partners.