Celebrating 40 Years of 'bringing His church together and making disciples'
Leading Audio Bible ministry looks back at four decades of providing God's Word to the world
Originally known as Hosanna, Faith Comes By Hearing began as a small tape lending library in the fall of 1972. Prior to establishing the Albuquerque-based ministry, founders Jerry and Annette Jackson had done missionary work across the desert southwest, traveling with their four children in a 1954 GMC school bus. Always faithful to God's calling to 'bring My church together and make disciples', the Jacksons have experienced the highs and lows of a ministry that came from humble beginnings and is now the largest producer of foreign language Audio Bibles in the world. As they celebrate their 40th anniversary this month, Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) has Audio Scriptures recorded in 683 heart-languages, which combined are spoken by over 5 billion people.
"We never could have imagined the direction the Lord would take this ministry when we first got started," states Jerry Jackson, founder and president of FCBH. "We simply have done our best to allow Him to work through us - even our weakness and imperfection - and He has been faithful."
This sort of willingness to follow the path God laid out before the ministry is illustrated by their move in the mid-80's to start producing dramatized Bible recordings in what they refer to as 'heart languages' - the language you grew up with, speak in the home and pray in. This decision has led to God's Word being freely available to the more than half of the world that is illiterate or living in a predominately oral culture.
The method of distribution has dramatically changed over 4 decades as well. The ministry originally used cassette tapes as their primary vehicle for providing their audio. The move to CDs provided a better sound quality, but like cassettes, multiple CDs (16) were required to provide the entire New Testament. Next came the Proclaimer, a solar-powered digital unit capable of being heard by groups as large as several hundred. When MP3 technology arrived, the ministry could fit the New Testament onto one disc. As digital technology advanced and direct downloads across multiple platforms became a reality, Faith Comes By Hearing was able to realize one of their longtime dreams - to easily provide God's Word free of charge.
During their first 37 years in ministry, FCBH estimates they reached some 50 million people with Audio Scripture. In the last two and half years - through what is now the Digital Bible Platform - FCBH has monitored Bible engagement by more than 93 million people, including connections originating from 92% of the countries on the planet.
In addition to these online platforms, the ministry also provides free access through digital playback devices. More than 320,000 Proclaimers are literally proclaiming the Gospel to the world's poor and illiterate population. Whereas more than 230,000 Military BibleSticks - pocket-sized, digital players - have been distributed through chaplains to troops in every branch of America's military.
So what is in store for the next 40 years?
"We have been willing to walk through every door that God has seen fit to open and we stand ready to do the same in the future," concludes Jackson. "Living by faith in God's provision is a lifetime journey."