What is Open the Book?
Open the Book presentations started in Bedford in 1999 when the Lion Children’s Storyteller Bible by Bob Hartman was adapted for use in schools. From presentations in ten schools at the beginning, this has now grown to 2,900 schools in the United Kingdom with 16,000 storytellers. The work has also spread to Ghana.
The Open the Book project, now organised by the Bible Society, offers primary school children an opportunity to hear the major stories of the Bible throughout the school year. Christian volunteers from local churches give 10-minute presentations of the Bible’s stories. The session starts with a brief introduction of the team members and closes with a time of simple reflection followed by a prayer for the children.
How did we get involved?
About six years ago, we at Cornerstone Evangelical Church in Abergavenny, heard about the Open the Book venture and felt that this was an outreach which we could be involved in. We met as a team, and we felt a God-given burden and an opportunity for this work so we decided to commit each Monday for this work. We approached our two local schools, and they were more than happy for us to go to their assemblies, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
We felt fearful at first but we relied on God to help us overcome this, and we started the sessions in faith, relying solely upon him. We were encouraged by the welcome we received from the schools and staff. We not only tell the Bible stories from the Storyteller Bible, but we also dress up and act out the stories for the children using props. Between the schools, we meet to plan and prepare for the following week and to pray for God’s blessing on the children and the staff. There have been many challenges, but these have been wonderfully overcome. We also hold an after-school club where the children can come and discuss the Bible stories further if they want to.
Through this ministry, we have found that as a team we have blessed and brought closer together in this work. We also act the Open the Book stories during some of the morning church services so that members are made aware of what is happening in the local schools and can pray for this work. On many occasions we have felt the result of the church prayers as we act out these stories, acknowledging our complete dependence on God. Our prayer is that the children will remember the stories as they grow up and will eventually come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
What about you?
Firstly, are there schools in your area where Open the Book is not presented? Perhaps you may be encouraged to start a group. You need to have a burden for the work and a commitment to it. You will need to contact the Bible Society for registration.
Secondly, please pray for the Open the Book teams throughout the United Kingdom and Ghana who so faithfully present these stories regularly. Finally, please pray for the children and the staff at these sessions. We can sow the seed but realise that it is God who gives the increase to the glory of his name.