Houston Church Leaders Speak Out About Bible Listening
God's Word Reaching Hearts, Across Denominations
Houston church leaders from more than 40 denominations are all talking about the same thing - how Audio Bibles are gripping their congregations.
Faith Comes By Hearing, the world's foremost Audio Bible ministry, is coordinating a city-wide Bible listening campaign with hundreds of area churches. This movement, called You've Got The Time Houston, is sweeping the city, with nearly 500,000 Houston church-goers listening to free Audio Bibles provided by Faith Comes By Hearing.
Audio Bibles Well Received
For many in Houston, Scripture listening is a new concept that is proving very effective and relevant to today's busy lifestyle.
"Our people have been reading the Bible for years," said Dave Peterson, senior pastor at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. "When we suggested listening to the New Testament many wondered why. But hearing is turning out to be a very different experience from reading. New doors of understanding are opening all over the place."
"Most of us have been reading the Bible for many, many years," added Dr. Ed Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church. "Listening to God's Word, however, can add even greater depth and understanding to our times in the Scripture."
The Rev. Laurens A. Hall, rector at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, said, "Parishioners are ecstatic about the You've Got The Time format, experiencing the Word of God as they had never done before."
The Rev. Hall said people are hearing the Word "come alive in their imaginations while driving their cars, jogging their selected trails, or in the sacred place of their homes."
Research shows that 65% of Americans have never read the entire New Testament. Sparked by these trends in biblical illiteracy, Faith Comes By Hearing began working with community, business, and church leaders to get Houston church-goers engaged with Scripture in a meaningful way.
"Nothing blesses people more than hearing the Word of God," said John Morgan, senior pastor of Sagemont Church. "Thousands are committed to listening. Believers are being discipled, and many are being born again and following the Lord in believer's baptism."
"I have found the Audio Bibles to be spiritual nourishment for our parishioners," agreed Father Ramiro Cortez, OMI from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. "The Word of God has been made accessible for many who might otherwise not read nor reflect on the Scriptures."
Creative Churches & Lenten Listening
The program is simple; Faith Comes By Hearing provides free Audio Bibles for every man, woman, and child in a church. Church leaders then challenge their congregations to listen through the entire New Testament—28 minutes a day over a period of 40 days. Churches also receive offerings to support recording the New Testament for people around the world who can’t read and don’t have God’s Word in their own language.
"Through our joined efforts we can bring the good treasure of the Sacred Scripture to our people and to others in great need," said Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston. "I highly recommend this initiative."
More than 300,000 Catholics from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston listened through the New Testament during Lent. Many Houston churches have shown creativity in how they implemented this Bible listening campaign into their current program and seasonal schedules.
"We are so excited about Faith Comes By Hearing," said Dr. Tom Pace, senior pastor at St. Luke's United Methodist Church. "We passed out the Audio Bibles on Easter morning, both in church and in our community service in the city park."
"We want to offer to as many people as possible the opportunity to hear the story of Jesus," said Dr. Pace. "We figure we can't find words any better than those found in the New Testament."
"This is such an innovative way to reintroduce the Word to believers of all kinds," said Dr. Robert Childress, senior pastor at Covenant Glen United Methodist Church. "The resource is so awesome that we used it as our Bible study to accompany our annual Lenten fast."
"It is amazing how listening to the Gospels during the 40 days of Lent truly prepared and engaged us for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus," said Ralph W. Hobratschk, senior pastor at Hope Lutheran Church (Friendswood).
"It has been a great joy for us to engage our congregation in listening to the Word together. We are certain this campaign will encourage our members to develop a love of reading and listening to the Word," said Dr. Childress.
"I am thrilled that the Church Without Walls family took this 40-day journey through the New Testament together," said Ralph Douglas West, pastor and founder of Church Without Walls. "The 28 minutes a day spent with God's Word enriched our lives and our intimacy with our Lord Jesus Christ."
Over 61,000 churches from all 50 states have participated in Faith Comes By Hearing's Audio Bible listening programs. If you would like to learn about how your church can get involved, please contact us online or call 800-545-6552.