WITH the start of The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary year only a few weeks away, Salvationists and friends are being urged to commit themselves to Boundless – The Whole World Reading, a Bible-reading challenge which starts on 5 January 2015 and runs for the whole year. Booklets are printed and have been distributed to every Salvation Army territory and command. The website is live and a free app can be downloaded on to smartphones.
The challenge has the strong backing of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries). ‘All we need now,’ says the General, ‘is for Salvationists to commit to the challenge of reading through the whole New Testament in a year.’
Regardless of the means of accessing Boundless – The Whole World Reading, participants will be invited to read a chapter of Scripture every weekday. This is supported by thought-provoking questions which can be discussed in small groups or over family meals, via the website or on social media. And the challenge is to all ages – each week bespoke children’s activities will reinforce the theme.
The website – at www.salvationarmy.org/biblechallenge – also offers supporting material from Words of Life, The Salvation Army’s daily devotional publication, including previously unpublished material. Words of Life writer Major Beverly Ivany is enthusiastic about the initiative of uniting Salvationists in 126 countries in reading the Bible together: ‘The Whole World Reading is a wonderful initiative for The Salvation Army in 2015! People, from all around the world, will be engaged in reading through the New Testament – together – every day. It can’t get much better than this. Brilliant!’
Participants will also be able to access the material on their smartphones or tablets, making it easy to take part in the challenge during the journey to work or school. An app for Android phones (80 per cent of the world’s mobile phones run on the Android operating system) is available from the Google Play app store. Search for ‘Salvation Army Bible Challenge’ or go to sar.my/bibleapp for the direct link or a scannable QR code that will take you straight there. For the first time, a web app for Apple devices is also available. To add this to your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, go to sar.my/bibleapp, using Safari (the default web browser for these devices). Unfortunately, the facility is not currently available for other browsers.
Specially produced videos and audio content supporting the written word will be available online and through the apps, creating opportunities to reflect and meditate, emphasising the importance of the spiritual discipline of ‘quiet times’ in what is likely to be a busy year for anyone associated with The Salvation Army.
International Headquarters Web Manager David Giles is keen for participants to make full use of new media. ‘One of the most exciting things about Boundless – The Whole World Reading,’ he explains, ‘is not just that Salvationists and friends from right around the globe can take part in this together, but that they can tell the rest of the world about their experiences and encouragement. It's a great example of the way in which modern communications can make us truly One Army and enable us to share the Bible’s life-changing message with others. Participants can follow @BoundlessBible on Twitter for daily tweets, use the hashtag #BoundlessBible with biblical insights and discuss online through the daily posts on the website – which have a discussion facility – or via the IHQ Facebook Page.’
The General concludes: ‘As this wave of Bible reading sweeps across the Salvation Army world throughout congress year, we pray that God will speak to us, both individually and corporately, as we take time to reflect on his Word.’
Report from IHQ Communications