A new multi-media online initiative, supported by Premier Christian Radio, is encouraging Christians and church members to engage with the Bible online and offline.

After the success of the Big Read 2010 when several thousand people in the North-East took part over Lent based on Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone: Luke, the Big Read 2011 is going national, offering online and offline opportunities aimed at encouraging thoughtful engagement with the Bible individually, in home study groups, and corporately as a region.

The Big Read 2011 is part of the Big Bible Project, a new project tying in with the larger Biblefresh initiative for 2011. Biblefresh and the Methodist Church have already adopted the BigRead 2011 as their main programme for Lent 2011.

The Big Bible Project was created to allow people to engage with the Bible on a bigger scale, particularly through the use of online tools. Dr Bex Lewis, Blended Learning Project Manager for the Big Bible Project, said: “We were trying to get people to come into bigger online conversations but we realised a lot of people are not familiar with the possibilities of new media, have a negative perception of what is online, or are unconfident in using the tools, so we’re seeking to address those issues and demonstrate the more positive uses Christian material online and via mobile devices, thus allowing people to participate fully in The Big Read.”

The course is aimed at both online and offline users and looks to encourage users to gain confidence in new media, offering inspiring ideas, interviews, tips, tricks & training to enable you to engage with the Bible online. Participants, however, have choices as to how far to partake: they can just read the book, download the study materials, or come and join The Big Read online.

All will be able to engage online via, which will produce a forum where specific issues raised within the study groups can be discussed, and where people can share tips & tricks. The project will also encourage guest blog posts, in which people can share their experiences.

Those working through the material in study groups are encouraged to continue discussions online. Bex added: “You’ve been in a house group for years and it can become an echo chamber.  If you go online you can engage with wider debates and viewpoints, and bring the debates back into the house group.”

The Big Read 2011 will be launched on Shrove Tuesday, with a Mardi Gras event, for which an online ‘party pack’ will be provided. Participants will need to purchase the book Lent for Everyone: Matthew, either in paper or digital format (from 16th December 2010). Purchasing the book (published by SPCK) will give access to daily downloads of the material. All home study materials will be provided for free in the form of downloadable PDFs (available in early 2011).

For further information or an interview, please contact Bex Lewis at [email protected] or call 07909 521952.


Premier broadcasts nationally on Sky digital, Freeview and National DAB.

RS/sah PCR 29/2010

Notes to editors:

The next steps for interested parties:

  • Diarise the Big Read for Lent 2011, and the purchase date for the book.
  • Talk to your church leader/church meeting about adopting The Big Read 2011 as your church’s Lent home group programme.
  • Pencil in five dates for Lent 2011 – one for Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday, 8th March this year) and then four home group sessions.
  • Advertise your home groups in your church and neighbourhood.
  • Keep an eye out on for updates and materials.

The Big Read 2011 and Biblefresh initiatives emerged from plans to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Biblefresh is a movement of hundreds of churches, agencies, organisations, colleges and festivals, which has a vision to re-ignite and re-enthuse the church in its passion for the Bible.

The project is produced by CODEC (‘Christian Communication in the Digital Age’, St John’s College, University of Durham), funded by The Methodist Church and Methodist Evangelicals Together, and supported by Premier Christian Media, SPCK and Twelve Baskets.

About bigbible

The #BigBible Project. Educating in the digital spaces, creating 'bigger Bible conversations' between #digidisciple(s). Look out for #bigread14.