Developing a missions strategy and program for your local church is a difficult, but crucial, undertaking. Putting that strategy into practice and launching a missions program or ministry (or reviving a dead one) that actually moves the gospel around the world is even more complicated (and even more crucial).
One simple way to build excitement and inspire your congregation to get involved in the big picture of global missions (however your local church decides take up the call) is to organize a bible drive!
We even have all the resources you need to make it a success. Read through to the end for details, or jump over to the bible collection resources.
How Does a Bible Drive Support a Church Missions Strategy?
Mission statements and plans are good and necessary, but hands-on involvement makes it real to people. Whether you’re launching a new missions ministry and want to encourage people to get involved, or you’re reviving an old ministry that’s grow stale because it seems too big or to hard for the average person, a bible drive gets people’s feet wet.
Doing a simple thing to support international missions demonstrates to people that it’s not too hard and they can make a difference. It is often the baby step that connects hearts to the worldwide Church and the mission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Organizing a bible drive with your local church, your ministry group, or a collection of churches in the same locale, exposes Christians here to the reality of Christians “there” and creates a connection that people can see and feel.
How to Organize a Bible Drive
A bible drive is simply a campaign to collect bibles that we can send overseas. Much like a church mission strategy, there are endless ways to do it, so add your own flair and flavor. Fit it to your congregation or ministry group!
Here are some basics to get you started.
1. Choose a goal.
Your goal can be a deadline, a total, or both, but choose some kind of goal and make sure it’s clear. Tell your group that you’re going to collect bibles until a certain date or until you reach a certain number.
Or, if you’re daring, challenge your group to collect a certain number of bibles in a definite amount of time. Make it difficult but do-able. If it’s too easy, you’ll hit your goal quickly and enthusiasm will wane. If it’s too hard, it will be hard to motivate people to begin with.
One youth group, for example, that frequently volunteers with Love Packages challenged their students to collect 1000 bibles in one year. It was a big goal and they had to push hard at the end, but they did it!
2. Set up a visible collection point.
A box in the church lobby or cafe is great for this. Paint “Love Packages” on the side of it and leave a stack of our brochures or newsletters next to it. (Get in touch and we’ll be happy to send you a pile.)
You can also invite people to get even more hands-on by using the box to keep a tally. Leave a marker nearby and let people add tally marks on the side of the box when they drop off bibles.
Extra tip: Make sure the box is never empty! Put a few bibles in to start with, so there are some signs of life. If you are collecting more than one box can hold, and you need to empty it into smaller boxes for mailing/transport, always leave a few in the main collection box. An empty box looks forgotten, and most people don’t like “going first.”
3. Create a digital home for your campaign.
This could be a page on your church or ministry’s website or a Facebook event/page (or both!). However you publish it, make sure there’s an easily accessible place online where people can get details and updates.
A short description of what the campaign is and why you are doing it.
A link to LovePackages.org, so people can learn more about what happens to the bibles.
Details on where/how to find used bibles.
4. Use a hashtag on social media.
A unique hashtag helps individuals connect to other people who are participating. It allows people to share and find ideas and encouragement on their own.
Be sure to choose something that hasn’t been used before (or at least hasn’t been used much), or—if you’re using our bible drive materials—use #1000BiblesForLovePackages to connect with even more ministries collecting literature!
Whichever hashtag you choose, make sure it’s on every bulletin insert, slide, and social media post, and encourage people to use it.
5. Share updates and celebrate milestones.
In the bulletin, in the announcements, on the web page, via social media—use every available channel to share regular updates as often as appropriate for your campaign and your group. Some info you could share:
The total number of bibles collected every week or month.
A new strategy someone discovered for finding old bibles.
Testimonies from people in your group.
You can also use the opportunity to share Love Packages videos and news, so people can get an idea of how their bibles are going to impact the world.
Celebrate the first 100 bibles collected, the halfway point, and any other important milestone!
People frequently ask if there really is still a need for bibles overseas and/or if those communities can use English bibles. The answer to both questions is a resounding YES! Sharing testimonies from overseas helps people to know that each bible they donate is making a huge difference.
7. Partner with other ministry events.
Don’t try to do a bible drive in a vacuum: weave it into other events and occasions!
Ask people to donate bibles for Christmas.
Make “$1 or 1 bible” the admission fee for a fundraiser or community event.
8. Stick to the goals you set.
If you choose a number, wrap up the campaign when you hit it. You may find that people are excited and want to continue, but don’t do it right away. Draw it to a clear close, celebrate the amazing thing you did together, and talk about if/when to do it again.
If you set a date, end the campaign on that date. Again, you may find that people are excited and want to keep going, which is awesome. Ration that enthusiasm by sticking with your end date, though.
If you set a goal for that time period, end the campaign on the date specified. If you meet your goal earlier, set a new one. If you don’t meet your goal before the deadline, celebrate what you did do.
Keeping a campaign open-ended may work well for a little while, but it will eventually wane and you’ll have to wrap it up quietly. When you do, people will feel like it’s “finally” over, and will not want to talk about more. Additionally, when you try to do it again (an annual event, maybe?!), it will be difficult to motivate participation, because people won’t trust the goals you set.
A Note About Open-Ended “Campaigns”
An alternative to a structured campaign, would be to come alongside Love Packages as a missions partner. You wouldn’t really organize a bible drive, but become a drop-off location.
Many of the tips above still apply, you just don’t need a defined goal.
Yes, Love Packages takes much more than just bibles! If people have other material to donate as well, we’d love to get that too. You will probably find that, once people get involved, they will ask about other books and media they have laying around the house.
Whether or not you include those materials in your bible drive is up to you. Obviously, no other book or CD is as good as the word of God, so we encourage collecting those other materials, but still focusing on bible collecting. But if you want to incorporate those materials in your goals, do what works for your group!
The Next Step to a Missions Ministry: Bring a Team to Love Packages!
When your bible drive campaign is ended, or as you fill smaller boxes (however you prefer), you can, of course, mail the material us. But if you really want to help people catch the vision for global missions work, why not bring a team and drop off the material yourself?
We love to have teams come to either our Butler, Illinois, or our Decatur, Alabama, facility. You can stay for the day, get a tour, and see what we do. Or you can sign up to come for a few days/weeks and help out in the warehouse!
The 1000+ tons of literature that we send to the mission field every year wouldn’t get there without each of the volunteers that come to work with us. Spending a week as part of the Love Packages team is a great way to do international missions work on a much smaller budget than actually taking a team overseas.
And if hearing, first hand, the testimonies of what God is doing with this literature all over the world doesn’t spark a passion for missions in your team, nothing will.
Start Your Bible Drive This Week
You can get set up and started very quickly if you use our free, downloadable resources.
Love Packages bulletin inserts are available for general use: bible drives, partnerships, etc. You can download and print them for free.
Bible drive resources for a “1000 Bibles for Love Packages” campaign can also be downloaded for free. These include:
Bulletin inserts, both blank and with text
Social media posts, including tips and testimonies
A Facebook event header
As you develop and launch your church’s mission strategy and ministry, an easy, engaging element like a bible collection drive can do a lot to inspire support and buy-in and help your group start thinking globally.