One of the most significant mission fields in the life of students is their school campus. Students will spend approximately 180 days and 1,000 hours a year in school. They develop close friendships and experience rapid intellectual, emotional, and social growth. They establish an identity primarily influenced by the world around them at school.
For this very reason, students are uniquely positioned to become a strategic force in this unreached mission field by giving the gift of the Gospel to their classmates and peers.
Over the last few decades, doors to hand out the Gospel in public schools have closed at an alarming rate. School security measures, actions from anti-religious organizations, issues raised by non-Christian parents, and other factors have increasingly limited accessibility on campus and even in areas surrounding the campus. Local churches and ministries have worked hard to influence students’ lives with the Gospel and give them the needed resources and tools to share their faith with their friends. Likewise, The Gideons International continues to seek innovative ways to get the precious gift of the Gospel into the hands and hearts of today’s youth.
God’s Open Door
In 2007, the Association began to seek God for potential solutions. What if there was a ministry serving side by side with local churches to mobilize their students to reach their peers with the gift of the Gospel?
By the fall of 2009, The Life Book was born—a unique strategy to help churches mobilize their students as missionaries. During the first test run in late 2009, students gave out 20,000 Life Books to their classmates. Lessons were learned, systems were streamlined, and by early 2010, thelifebook.com website was open for churches across the country to request Life Books.
With every Life Book that hits the hands of a student, God’s promise in Isaiah 55:11 holds true. Student missionaries get to see the power of God at work as He uses His Word to accomplish His purpose.
“We are excited to engage our students in evangelism through these Life Books. I was informed our county does not allow Gideons into our schools, and I felt inclined to mobilize our students for Christ!”
—Melissa H., Volunteer Youth Leader, Alabama
God’s Hand at work
During the first year after launching, word quickly spread. God was moving powerfully in the hearts of more pastors and youth leaders who wanted their students to be involved in this simple approach to sharing their faith. Serving churches was at the heart of The Life Book strategy. Rather than asking churches to join our mission, the focus was on helping churches accomplish their mission by using The Life Book. The results were extraordinary as God created a national movement with yearly distribution numbers quickly reaching into the millions.
Since the mission began, more than 3 million student missionaries have been involved in distributing over 41 million Life Books. Never before in the history of the United States has there been a more expansive movement among students to give the gift of the Gospel to their peers.
According to pastors and youth leaders, the impact on the students giving the Gospel has been transformative. Because students are simply asked to “give the gift of the Gospel,” even the shyest students have the opportunity to dip their toes in the waters of witnessing. For many students over the last decade, handing out The Life Book has been their first experience in sharing the Gospel.
“It was exciting to see our young people come back the next week and want more Life Books to hand out.”
—Rev. Ron Carter, Pastor, Nevada
Praying for Transformation
By God’s grace, approximately 5 million Life Books are distributed through churches and their students every year. One of the most impactful events for The Life Book is See You at the Pole. Held annually in September, churches request over 2 million Life Books every year for their students to hand out around the event.
In 2017, a new Life Book was developed using the Gospel of Mark. When a limited run of 1 million copies was offered to churches in January of 2018, all 1 million were requested within a week. God continues to be at work, compelling churches and youth leaders to mobilize their students.
“The book saved me at the hardest time in my life. I was failing and skipping school, drinking, and doing drugs. I had almost died and a friend of mine gave me the book, and it changed my life.”
–Jennifer D., Student, New York
As God’s Word moves from one student to another, we’re praying for revival and awakening in this generation. May God work powerfully through His Word, just as He promised. As God raises up student missionaries with the courage to give the gift of the Gospel, we’re praying that He will empower and anoint them to lead a new generation of God-glorifying, Christ-honoring, Spirit-led saints.
Please join us in prayer as the battle rages for the souls of future generations.