Over 3.6 million teenagers…let that number settle into your heart and mind. It represents the number of current student missionaries involved with The Life Book. Today, as students all over the nation gather around their flagpole and pray, we celebrate 3.6 million students who have distributed over 50 million Life Books to their peers! While these are incredible numbers, we must remember the numbers represent real teenagers who all have a name and a face heading towards an eternal destination.
The Birth and Mission of The Life Book
For decades, school doors throughout the USA were wide-open for Gideons to distribute Scriptures to students. As culture shifted, those opportunities grew more challenging to find. Yet, Gideons still had a passion to reach students with the Gospel, and students have always been able to reach other students. This reality sparked the question: What if we could help local churches mobilize their student missionaries to put the power of the Gospel in the hands of every student?
“What if we could help local churches mobilize their student missionaries put the power of the Gospel in the hands of every student?“
By the fall of 2009, a small team had been assembled, The Life Book was created, and a unique strategy was in place to help churches mobilize their students to share Christ with their peers. During the first test distribution in late 2009, students from several churches gave 20,000 Life Books to their peers. Lessons were learned, systems were streamlined, and TheLifeBook.com was launched in 2010 for churches across the country to request Life Books. The Lord moved, and over 500,000 Life Books were given out in just two years.
It was clear that God’s hand was at work as the distribution numbers increased significantly year over year. God moved in the hearts of many pastors and youth leaders who were excited for their students to be involved in this simple approach to evangelism.
Pastor Mike from Arkansas finds The Life Book is an excellent tool for reaching out to those all around who need to know about the love of Christ. He says, “The simplicity of the Gospel is written so that young people can receive the knowledge of salvation in a simple way, yet at the same time, acknowledging the seriousness of finding a hope that is much needed in today’s time.”
Still Growing Strong
Today, with over 3.6 million students having been involved in distributing over 50 million Life Books, God is still changing hearts and lives. In this same amount of time (since 2010), 35.5 million Youth Testaments have been distributed by Gideons in the United States. Praise God for the growth of the Life Book and the impact it is having on students nationwide! Ralph, a youth pastor from California, is excited about how God will use The Life Book in the days ahead. He says, “Our teens intentionally handed out 2,500 Life Books…I’m grateful for additional copies we will give them to hand out during this next school year.”
Each time Life Books hit the hands of a student, God accomplishes His purpose through it as Isaiah 55:11 (ESV) guarantees, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” One student named Jacqueline from Georgia says, “It has helped me know Jesus better and go out and be a disciple for Him!
“It has helped me know Jesus better and go out and be a disciple for Him!“ –Jacqueline
“What If the Book He Gives Me Changes My Life?”
Rina is a student from Maryland who was impacted significantly by The Life Book. She shares:
On the first day of my new school, I felt like an outcast and was desperate for hope. I just wanted to kill myself.
The next day, a classmate asked me who I was cheering for in the World Series. I never noticed how glad I was to be asked a normal question instead of hearing rumors or things that hurt me. He gave me hope, and my entire life centered around figuring out why he was so nice.
I finally got the courage to tell him about feeling like an outcast and just a waste of oxygen. He said he wanted to give me a book. I decided not to end my life because I had this thought: What if the book he gives me changes my life?
He was talking about The Life Book. At first, I scoffed at it because I was an atheist. I thought to myself, “God can’t help me, even if He is real.” But I decided to read The Life Book anyway because he gave it to me, and I wanted to know why he was so nice. While reading it, I learned about Jesus—God’s Son who lived a perfect life to die on the cross for my sins. For the first time in my life, I felt hope, not from an ordinary person, but in a God that loves me. My classmate invited me to his youth group, and I learned more about Jesus and how He had a purpose and plan for me. That day, I decided to become a follower of Jesus.
I carried The Life Book around in my pocket—there is still a hole in that jacket where I kept the book. While it was hard to let go of my suicidal and depressed lifestyle from before, I came to know more about the Lord over time. I started regularly attending church, serving at church, and expressing more of my faith. I started praying and spending time in the Word. I still keep my Life Book to this day—knowing it helped me learn God’s Word while I was a broken and hopeless person.
May we faithfully reach more people like Rina before it’s everlasting too late.