Several major Christian organizations are encouraging people to host viewing parties for the History channel's "The Bible" miniseries with the goal of seeing one million gatherings take place nationwide.
Scott Evans, president and CEO of Outreach, Inc., says the idea to promote these Bible parties came about after realizing that some churchgoers do not have access to the History channel in their own homes and might miss the opportunity to watch the production.
"That was really the motivation … to help as many people as possible have the opportunity to see the Bible come to life in this TV series," Evans told The Christian Post on Monday.
Christians are not only hosting fellow believers in their homes, however, but are also inviting friends, family and neighbors to watch the series with them as a form of outreach.
Evans says the miniseries is providing an opportunity for people to engage in deeper discussions about the Bible. Some people opened their Bibles Sunday night during commercial breaks in order to take a closer look at the text, he says, and in some cases children even asked their parents to read the Scriptures to them following the show's premiere.
Evans also says "several thousand churches" are currently doing sermon series that correspond to the television program.
"Especially this time, when there's so much negative in America right now, so much good can happen from people coming together and watching the Bible come to life," said Evans.
In order to help those who are unsure about how to host a viewing party, Outreach launched a website two weeks ago where people can access party-planning resources. Among the available resources is a kit which contains postcard invitations, a host guide containing tips on how to throw a viewing party and an evangelism booklet.
Evans said he did not yet know how many viewing parties occurred this past weekend, though he hopes to see the one million mark reached either on or before Easter Sunday, when the final episode of "The Bible" is scheduled to air.
"Hopefully that will mean many more people are interested in celebrating Easter and celebrating the resurrection," said Evans.
In addition to Outreach, the other ministry partners working to promote the viewing parties are Focus on the Family, YouVersion, ChristianMingle.com, the American Bible Society, Jesus Daily and Motive Entertainment.
"The Bible," created by producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, his wife, is a 10-hour docudrama that touches on many of the Scripture's most famous stories and characters. The second installment of the series, titled "Homeland," will feature stories about notable biblical figures such as Joshua, Saul, Samson, David and Goliath, and Solomon.