The @bigbible Project for People's Choice Award #cnmac11

The Emergence of The Big Bible Project

In 2010 several thousand people in the North-East took part in “The Big Read 2010?. The events were based on Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone: Lukeand aimed to encourage thoughtful engagement with the Bible individually, in housegroups, and corporately as a region. There was so much positive feedback that the #BigRead2011 went national, as a part of Biblefresh, encouraging greater Bible engagement across the land through reading, training, translation and experience. The name ‘The Big Bible Project’ came from the idea that we wanted to encourage ‘bigger Bible conversations’, using digital means to spread materials, collect ideas, and encourage people to engage in an online life from a Biblical perspective.

Where are we at?

You join us on a journey as we continue to develop the site, finding great voices to lead those ‘bigger Bible conversations’. Over the summer, we looked back at what had happened in the first year, the statistics of those involved, and where we could most usefully focus our part-time and enthusiastic volunteers efforts, and have made great strides in clarifying the site, and engaging users…

#BigRead

The #BigRead2011 involved meeting together in housegroups to read the Bible, making use of Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone: Matthew with opportunities to go much bigger and be much more creative and join in online (inter)nationally. From quiet sitting rooms with Bibles and books, to coffee shops and Internet chatrooms across the world, we encouraged people to engage locally and online, individually, in housegroups, and with their churches! The #bigread2012 is currently in preparation, the book draft has just been received, and therefore materials will be ready in early January. We’re seeking to make this Big Read more of a crowdsourcing project… we will define the core themes and produce core housegroup materials, then seek those who provide reflections on the themes, advice for housegroups, and ideas for housegroup activities.

#Digidisciple

Over the past few weeks a conversation has grown on The Big Bible Project amongst over fifty ‘digidisciples’.  A ‘disciple’ is one who, by following Jesus, grows in their faith in Christ and in so doing models and teaches Christians the precepts of the Bible, prayer, doctrine, relationship, Christian living, service, and worship, to name the main ones. A ‘digital disciple’, or, as The Big Bible Project calls it, a #digidisciple, is someone who seeks to live out their Christian faith in the digital space, whether they are a ‘digital infant’ (thanks to @johnschaplain for that concept), or are fully immersed in the digital worlds. These are people seeking to be ‘generous with their lives’, opening themselves up, engaging with others online, encouraging thought about what is means to be in the digital spaces.

#DigiLit

If we think about when the Bible was first written, it would have been the focus of discussion and reading, rather than individual study. Using ‘The Big Read for Lent’ as a starting point, The Big Bible Project has sought to encourage ‘bigger Bible conversations’, including in the online spaces. To enable people to join in these online conversations, the Project seeks to educate in the digital spaces, and is in discussions with ‘Social Media Surgeons‘ as to how we can expand the quantity of this material (whilst not losing the quality), encouraging Christians and Christian organisations to be ‘communicating organisations’.  Think how does the Bible inform your behaviour online: have digital tools increased your Biblical literacy, or changed the way you engage with the Bible?

#BigBible

This area requires the most develop, and will offer a host of material about the Bible – events, good news stories, digital stories, explorations of the use of the Bible online and offline.  This area will seek to be “The Mashable of the Bible”, a place to highlight and follow stories from digital sites and projects focusing upon the Bible (Mashable is the ‘first-stop site’ for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture). CODEC is already seeking to support a new theological consultant to edit/curate material relating to the Bible.

Events

The Big Bible Project team (part of CODEC at the University of Durham) are involved in a number of events, both as participants and presenters, including co-organising The Christian New Media Conference with Premier Radio, with particular responsibility for the theology strand, Greenbelt, new media conferences and training… and are keen to be a home for advertising relevant events.

Where next?

Over Lent 2011, we had over 12,000 people visiting the site each month, and over 600 people download the materials. After Lent, as the site clarified it’s focus, we dropped to around 3000 a month. This month, as #digidisciple has settled in, and the other areas of the site emerge, we have had 5000 visitors to the site. The site continues to develop, drawing in those who are interested… We think we’ve done a great deal (and that material of good quality) in a short amount of time, with very little resource, and we hope to generate even ‘bigger Bible conversations’ for 2012… are you going to join us?

You can vote for us here, or check out the other finalists (we invited all to blog, as we’re keen to showcase the best of what’s online). Voting closes at midnight tonight!

About bigbible

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