The second most important area of the Bible work of the WBP is the Bible Engagement and Bible Advocacy. They believe that through helping people to engage with the Bible personally and in groups, through advocating the Word of God in their societies and through empowering the church leaders with new tools to use in their ministry, there will be a transformation in people’s lives. In the past five years, the WBP has experienced how important it is to bring people together around the Bible in a region like the Balkans.
For years, churches in the West Balkans have been facing the problem of “Bible illiteracy” in a secularized society. In this situation, the BSs, through their expertise and capacities, can become a driving force in the Bible Engagement work of the Churches, helping them in one of the most important issues of challenging believers to grow in their faith.
Through the experience in the past five years the WBP has discovered that in this area it is essential to develop partnerships with interested individuals and groups within the majority Churches, which are already committed to the Bible work and which usually need the help and support of the BS.
The West Balkan countries are facing two difficult particular challenges at the moment. On one hand the growth and influence of secularism of a part of the population and on the other hand the growing Muslim population and its influence in some areas like Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania.
The WBP BSs believe that the Christian community needs to address these issues through more efforts and emphasis on Bible engagement and advocacy work.
In an environment with much hatred and mistrust between countries and individuals, the WBP is setting a wonderful example of trust and understanding that adds value to the local advocacy work. The outcomes of the joint projects since 2013 have been very encouraging regarding the Bible Engagement and Advocacy and therefore they see the great potential in this mission field and the opportunity for the local BSs to be leaders of the Christian community in the twin challenges of secularism and radical Islam.
The aim of the Bible Advocacy work is to help Churches in their daily work engage with society and to strengthen the local position of the BS. To see a larger group of people and church leaders excited about the work of the Bible Society giving their input to the projects and sharing the vision for the whole region in order to be good advocates of the message of the Bible.
- Calling the Harvesters (WBP)
- Bible School Camp (WBP)
- Bible Marathon (Slovenia)
- Bible Sunday (Slovenia)
- Developing of Fundraising in local churches (Slovenia)
- Trauma healing ministry for Woman Prayer’s Day (Slovenia)
- The Living Word (Albania)
- Opening up the Bible for the Albanian people (Albania)
- Loving our Muslim Neighbours (Croatia)
- Christian Sport Events (Croatia)
- Bible Marathon (Serbia)
- Introducing the Word of God to the next generation (Serbia)
- Prison Ministry (Serbia)
- Bible education for Roma families (Serbia)
- Trauma Healing (Serbia)
- Hope for the children (Macedonia)
- Bible and Sports (Macedonia)
The Bible Engagement and Advocacy projects listed above will help the WBP in general and also the local Bible Societies to be able to:
- bring young people together across the ethnic and national ‘divide’
- help young people from across the Balkans discuss the Bible and its application in their own and in their world view
- use technology that young people are used to bring them together
- empower the church leaders with new tools to help their congregations to engage with the Bible and advocate the Bible message
- inspire church leaders to work together focused on the Bible message
- share the message of Christ in public
- use sports as a means for scripture engagement and evangelization
These kinds of projects are very important for the partnership because they have proven to be very effective in bringing transformation and a witness to the local societies of the great changing power of the love of God through the example of peace, love and unity that they have shown in the past five years of working together around the word of God.
Half of the total projected budget is designated to the Bible Engagement and Advocacy work. This is because from the experience in the past 5 years the WBP has seen that these kinds of projects have a great impact on believers and non-believers, they strengthen the church relations and put the Bible Societies in a proactive mode which is more helpful for the churches. They help the WBP to create and maintain an international platform where church leaders can meet and share with each other.