USA (MNN) — Student athletes from more than 20 major universities will listen through the entire New Testament as part of a campaign called "You've Got The Time."*
Roger Holien, a Faith Comes By Hearing representative, is a 10-year sports chaplain with the University of New Mexico Lobos.
He saw something interesting when he travelled with the teams. "Ninety-five percent of these young athletes had earplugs or mp3 players.” As he watched the athletes, he started doing some research about their listening habits. Holien cites a 2007 ECAR Study which shows 83 percent of 18- to 19-year-old college students own mobile media players and listen up to two hours a day.
There is another study he followed that indicated reading levels, outside of normal college pursuits, drop off dramatically. Most of these young people are considered “digital natives”—meaning they are a generation that has grown up immersed in some form of technology.
What does this mean for discipleship? It means very few of the young people he works with read the Bible. But it also means that a ministry like FCBH can meet the students where they are.
Holien says, “This is a natural fit. Put the Word of God on a CD in mp3 format, give it to the athletes, and encourage them to listen to 28 minutes a day. They'll complete the New Testament in 40 days and watch to see what God does."
At Rutgers University, there are about 650 varsity athletes on campus, and 100 are involved in ministry on a regular basis The chaplain there expects 25-30 percent will take the Bible listening challenge.
At Auburn, more than 25 people signed up for the first round of Bible listening.Fellowship of Christian Athletes chaplain Mikado Hinson says a large number of student athletes at University of Houston are involved in regular ministry and will be presented with the 40-day Bible listening challenge this year.
The digital format of the Bible allows students to engage in God's Word during routine activities. Holien says that helps lay the groundwork for deeper study. "When you listen to the Bible, it creates a hunger for reading. Hearing and reading are different. When you hear the Bible, you get a real condensed version. You get a lot of information from the Word of God in a small amount of time, versus reading one to two Scriptures out of the Bible. So it really has encouraged the athletes to read more."
Holien said, “Faith Comes By Hearing’s goal is to get student athletes in the Word. “Once they get the research from the test program, they’re hoping to expand it nationally. Why? “We want to influence the next generation of leaders both on and off the field.”
* The "You’ve Got The Time" program is sponsored by Christian business people and Foundations who are alarmed by the startling current trends of biblical illiteracy in America.
The goal is to work with local churches to provide each congregation member with free Audio Scriptures on MP3 disc: an Audio Drama New Testament for each adult and teenager, as well as a KIDZ Bible for each child.
Listeners are discipled through hearing the Word and then asked to participate in providing Audio Bibles to poor and illiterate people through the ministry’s international programs. Click here for more details.