Students Bring Hope to the Nation—With Their Bibles!
Are you making plans yet for the Bring Your Bible to School Day 2018 event? It’s happening on Thursday, October 4! The exciting news is that the event has grown exponentially since it started in 2014 with 8,000 students.
In 2017, the initiative saw its widest reach ever—with close to 500,000 students participating in schools nationwide.
“My daughter, Dennilynn, age 9, and my son, Ethan, age 5, carried their Bibles to school” on the day of the 2017 event, shared one parent. “My daughter’s classmate asked her what she was carrying and she told her classmate that it was her Bible. … Her classmate began to ask her questions about the Bible [and] asked her, ‘Is that stuff for real?’ And [Dennilynn] stated, ‘Yes’ and began to talk to her about Jesus. I am very proud of my daughter and my son. Even in 4th grade, she has a lot of peer pressure. Please pray for my children that they will continue to stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Dennilynn and Ethan are just two of the hundreds of thousands who boldly shared their faith and demonstrated the love of Jesus that day.
For instance, Tricia, a mom, shared: “My daughter, Micah Lynn, has actively encouraged this event in her school for two years now. It has opened the door for not only encouraging classmates to bring their Bibles, but also has made an opportunity for her to give out Bibles to those who don’t have one. We don’t think about a child here in the U.S. not having a Bible, but we have learned there are many. This has blessed our hearts.”
“My 9-year-old son, Anthony, participated in Bring Your Bible to School Day in Texas,” another mom wrote. “He was a little nervous about what people would think of him reading his Bible and sharing Jesus, so we prayed together and studied a few Scriptures before he headed to school to help him through the day. He brought 60 [Bring Your Bible to School Day] bookmarks and cards to share with his classmates and teachers. When he came home from school, he was so excited and said there was nothing to be worried about because almost all his classmates wanted a bookmark and card. Out of 60 bookmarks he brought, he back with 13 left.”
Rebecca shared this precious video of her son enthusiastically expressing his faith. Her children are “the new kids in the school,” explained Rebecca, “and they wanted to make a statement about their faith.”
Free Speech Challenges
While most schools acknowledged students’ rights to peacefully express their faith during Bring Your Bible to School Day, some children did report challenges. For instance, Xica reported: “My 8-year-old son participated this year and brought his Bible to school. His teacher made him put it away and leave it in his backpack. The next day his teacher apologized to me and told me she did not know the rules at the time and that my son was more than welcome to bring his Bible to school anytime he wanted.”
“My 12-year old daughter, Isabella, is a 7th grader,” shared another parent. “She has been actively mobilizing her friends, youth group and kids on the bus to participate. A few weeks ago she approached her school counselor and principal about it, and said she wanted to put promo posters up on the bulletin boards and on her locker. They told her they would have to look into it. She asked the principal about it a few days later and he said he forgot about it. We told Isabella we had reviewed the information from Focus on the Family, and that since other students have things on their lockers, that she has a right to put the poster on hers. She was concerned about getting in trouble. We told her if she gets in trouble that we would support and stand behind her 100%.
“She went to school a few days ago and the principal had put the posters on the lunchroom bulletin board. She and her friends put the posters on their lockers and hung one up in their homeroom. She also organized a morning prayer around the flagpole this morning. I have been praying all morning for the Holy Spirit to give her the courage, words and strength to proudly declare her faith in Jesus Christ.”
In an effort to equip kids to understand their constitutional rights, the Bring Your Bible to School Day online “Know Your Rights” section provides free, downloadable information about students’ rights to express their faith and to take part in religious-freedom events. Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom also partners with Focus on the Family to offer students free legal representation if their rights are found to have been violated at school while participating in the initiative.
Teenagers Step Out in Faith
In addition to younger participants, we also heard from many teens who participated in the event. Here’s a quick sampling:
Caitlin, age 16: “I brought my Bible to school for the first time in a long time. Due to being bullied, I was afraid to bring it. I have begun to realize that no one should have the strength to take you away from who you are and what you believe in. … bringing my Bible to school helped me gain back confidence.”
Lydia, age 13: “About 3/4s of my whole 7th grade (96 people) brought their Bibles to school.”
Matthew, age 17: “I have so many friends who act like the Bible is nothing more than just an outdated book. To me, it’s life. Bringing my Bible … to share my faith is the least I can do.”
Sonja, age 15: “This Bring Your Bible to School Day event was my first time participating. It was amazing. … I brought my Bible to school and all day long I passed out [Bible] verse cards and read from my Bible. … It was so amazing to see my classmates with their Bibles! I have never felt the spirit moving through my school like that before. … I am so glad I heard about this life-changing event.”
2018 marks Bring Your Bible to School Day’s fifth anniversary! We are already beginning to hear from families whose children are growing up with the experience of doing this event year after year. Here are two examples of the event’s “legacy families:”
Greyson participated for the first time when he was in the fifth grade. It was a special memory for Greyson because the night before the event his father presented him with a ‘new’ used Bible that belonged to his father when he was Greyson’s same age. Greyson also had his family take his picture of him proudly holding the Bible in front of his school. To his surprise the picture went viral on social media! Two years later, Greyson is still participating and sent us an updated picture. Watch his story:
A family in Maryland also sent pictures of their two little girls—Camdyn, age 8, and Brighton, age 6—who participated during the first year of the event in 2014. The sisters and their family have continued to participate—and now their little brothers are participating too! Watch their family story from 2014 below.
Other notable highlights from 2017 include:
Students received unexpected encouragement in a video message from Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who assured students that “this is absolutely your right to do this, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.” His video received extensive media coverage in print and television outlets.
The event also generated articles acknowledging students’ free speech rights, such as The Denver Post’s “Here’s Why the First Amendment Supports Focus on the Family’s Bring Your Bible to School Day,” as well as shout-outs from celebrities including Sadie Robertson.
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And here in our home base—Colorado Springs—the local newspaper shared about how students brought hope to their communities during a time when the entire nation was reeling from several tragedies including a national shooting and a devastating hurricane. Ethan, a 15-year-old student, told the newspaper how he prayed that participants would “be a light in a dark place and show love, compassion and kindness to people around them.”
Make Plans Now
As they prepare to join the fifth-year celebration of Bring Your Bible to School Day, Christian students will have a unique and even more powerful opportunity to have a redemptive impact on their schools and communities. Mark your calendars now for Bring Your Bible to School Day 2018 on Thursday, Oct. 4. And stay tuned for more information and new resources to be unveiled on BringYourBible.org and other social media channels.