United Kingdom (MNN) ― Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating 60 years as monarch in 2012, and she's doing it in a way that might surprise you.
Further reaching than any party or parade will be the Queen's Bible distribution project in celebration of her 60-year Diamond Jubilee. Specifically, The Queen is interested in distributing New Testaments through churches and schools.
Biblica was approached for the job and was more than happy to oblige.
"We developed and worked through a New Testament Bible that actually includes some notes, and it includes some visuals," says Biblica's CEO for North America Doug Lockhart.
Biblica then made churches and parochial schools aware of the opportunity to distribute Bibles in honor of the queen. The idea took off.
"The original goal was 250,000 units, which everyone thought was a very high goal for the U.K. But denominations and churches have been very excited about it," says Lockhart. "The number is right now at 450,000 units."
The overwhelming response for the Bibles is incredibly significant. Church attendance is at an all-time low in the United Kingdom, says Lockhart, but young people, in particular, have been showing more interest in the Gospel. Those who receive a Bible now in the name of the royalty may be even more inclined to open it up.
"It's more than just placing a Bible in someone's hands: it's how do we find ways to ensure that the Bible gets opened?" Lockhart agrees. The association with the Queen is certainly a way to get people to open their Bibles, but so is the one-on-one delivery.
"These are being handed out person-to-person by churches and schools. So it's not just placing a Bible in someone's hand, it's a shoulder-to-shoulder experience where someone is actually handing a Bible to someone. And the hope is that that interaction translates into a changed life."
The New Testaments will be handed out at the end of May and the beginning of June. By then, the orders may be well beyond 450,000.
Thus, despite some recent blasé attitudes toward Christianity in the U.K., half a million people may be cracking open their copy of the New Testament. Whether or not it's because it's perceived as a gift from The Queen may be inconsequential: people will be opening the Word of the living God.
Pray that the Lord will prepare the hearts of those who receive these New Testaments in coming weeks. Pray that this giveaway would result in hearts changed through the power of the Word and even through connections made to the church. The potential for change is excitingly enormous.
Biblica does large-scale Bible distributions all around the world. To help with this project or others, click here.