How does Dear Theo fit in with CBE?
Posted by Laura Nelson, 27 September 2018
Having seen the impact of Community Bible Experience on how people read and engage with the Bible, we wanted to provide a similar presentation of scripture that was especially designed for a younger audience. So, we came up with Dear Theo.
Using the text of Luke and Acts from the NIrV and set out in a way that younger readers are familiar with, Dear Theo follows the same principles that we use in our Community Bible Experience programme. It’s a simple yet revolutionary idea – the Bible without chapter and verse numbers, set out like it was originally written– just like any other book. For more information on Dear Theo see the ‘Introducing Dear Theo Blog article.’
We realised that if Bible reading is declining among adults then it’s incredibly important to help a younger generation get excited about Scripture and develop a love for God’s Word as they grow up. According to a recent survey carried out by the National Literacy Trust, 77% of 8–11–year olds said they enjoyed reading. However, as they get older they begin to lose their love and interest in books–only 44% of 14–16–year olds stating their love of reading*.
We began to think of ways we could encourage children to read the Bible, not just on their own, but together in community too. If adults benefit from reading and talking about the Bible, then surely our children will too. So, Dear Theo was added to our Community Bible Experience family!
Dear Theo, can be used in the same way as our other Community Bible Experience resources. It provides a simple reading plan to help kids read through the text and provides 5 basic questions to help them talk about what they read when they meet up. The questions are:
· What’s something you noticed for the first time?
· What questions did you have?
· Was there anything that bothered you?
· What did you learn about loving God?
· What did you learn about loving others?
We think it’s perfect for using in Sunday School, SU groups, Bible clubs etc. When using adult CBE, we encouraged everyone to get involved, the same is true for Dear Theo. The Bible is not just a book for ministers and leaders to read and study, it is a book for us ALL– whatever our age or understanding. Encouraging children to read Dear Theo with friends and family and getting them talking about it is one simple way to build a love of the Bible.
We also wanted to provide a resource that would encourage all age Bible reading. Dear Theo, can be used alongside our adult edition called The Story. Imagine parents and children reading and talking about the Bible together, each with their own edition but using the same simple questions to get the conversation started?!
The Bible itself says that families should make it the centre of conversation:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6–7
Both Dear Theo and Community Bible Experience are two great resources to help children read the Bible for themselves but also help adults read along with them and join in an exciting multi–generational conversation and journey!
You can buy your Dear Theo copies online now for only £3.50! Get yours here!
* Celebrating Reading for Enjoyment. Christina Clark and Anne Teravainen June 2016. National Literacy Trust.