Christian Students' Latest Mission Field: Public Schools

One Christian organization is looking to reach what it believes to be a closed country – the public school.

With religion being pushed out of schools for nearly five decades now, only a minority of teenagers today are said to be Bible-believing Christians. Hoping to change those statistics, however, The Life Book Movement began, targeting Bible-illiterate high school students in the largely hard-to-reach public institutions.

"Public schools represent the most strategic mission field in the United States," Carl Blunt, president and CEO of The Life Book Movement, told The Christian Post. "The vast majority of teenagers pass through their doors."

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Seizing the endless opportunities, the organization, an outreach of The Gideons International, works together with local church youth leaders and their students to help get the Word out and "saturate" the schools with God's message through the distribution of The Life Book.

"I believe the church is declining greatly in terms of its biblical influence," Blunt lamented. "With a shift toward a more socially-driven Gospel, the biblical message of sinners in need of a Savior seems to be diminished."

"We have lost our distinct and prophetic voice in the culture. We have become much better at answering the 'how' to life's challenges, but I believe we've missed the deeper 'why.' The Life Book Movement addresses the core issue of Christianity – sin and salvation."

A brief, interactive overview of the Old Testament and the Gospel of John, The Life Book is specifically designed by Blunt to engage high school students with its unique presentation of Scripture alongside honest student comments and real-life questions.

The organization employs Christian high school students, or whom he calls "short-term missionaries," to pass out The Life Books as gifts to classmates at school.

Youth leaders from local churches come to the organization requesting The Life Books for their students to hand out, providing follow-up and discipleship for students as well if desired.

"We believe Christian teenagers represent a missionary force waiting to be used on their home turf," Blunt shared. "They are willing and ready to be indigenous missionaries to their classmates."

"Through student missionaries offering the gift of the Gospel to their classmates, they are sharing the simple story of God and man in a way that students connect with and understand."

While students giving the gift of The Life Book found deep purpose in reaching their classmates, their classmates in turn found purpose in being called to follow Christ.

"When you strip away the glitz and expectations of church, searching students get the opportunity to see the simplicity of the Gospel and the attractiveness of the call to follow Christ. They need real, authentic purpose."

Blunt explained that opposition to the movement has been very limited because school administrators are aware of students' rights to distribute religious literature.

Because school staff or other adults do not distribute the books, the practice is protected so long as the students themselves are giving out the material.

"We encourage students to hand out The Life Books one-on-one within the context of a relationship. With that approach, it is not disruptive to the educational environment. It is simply one student handing another student a gift."

Since January 2010, more than 2 million classmates in 47 states have already been given The Life Book during school, with the involvement of more than 75,000 Christian students.

Additionally, more than 3 million copies are being printed for distribution in the 2012-2013 school year.

"Because of the unique one-on-one, student-to-student approach, The Life Book has been well received in every area including urban, suburban and rural schools," Blunt concluded.

The movement's goal is to ensure that every student in every high school in the United States has an opportunity to impact a generation with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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