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Providing Subsidized Bibles for the Growth of Local Churches in Kenya

This update is related to the One Million Bibles: A Crossway Global Initiative campaign.

It’s very important for us to embrace the fact that local churches, by God’s design, are created to be local, and to survive with local resources as much as possible. This means that in whatever we do in service to God and his church, we ought to do it with the goal of walking toward the goal of helping local churches around the world to be dependent on local resources. Anything we are doing that is undermining what might be immediately helpful is most likely harmful in the long run.

When it comes to Bibles, I think this is especially a reality. If you have a church that doesn’t have Bibles and the pastor doesn’t have a complete canon, that is an urgent need, and I would say that in situations like that we should move heaven and earth to get free Bibles into the hands of those believers and pastors. That is a reality for some churches in Kenya. And I give Kenya as an example because in many ways, even regionally, many would expect that Kenya is economically more advanced than other countries. So if the need is there, even a great need, for free Bibles in Kenya, how much more so is there a need in other countries that are not as economically advanced as Kenya?

That said, as we address the immediate need, we have to do so responsibly, in such a way as to help the problem not only immediately but also in the long run. So we need to be thinking about other needs that exist when it comes to Bibles, other than the need for free Bibles, because the problem is not that simple. There are more problems than just the need for free Bibles. There’s a need for affordable Bibles as well, meaning that we need to address the issue of availability of Bibles.

I’ve mentioned that we have a partner who has been trying to get Bibles for their pastors, and they have not been able to access those Bibles, whether that is due to shipping or a variety of other problems that have prevented the Bibles from arriving to them. We need to first address the availability of Bibles, and then we need to attack the issue of affordability of Bibles. How do we get Bibles at a price point that allows all Kenyans who can afford the Bible to buy one? We have a problem if the only issue we are addressing is that of getting Bibles to Kenyans who do not have a Bible, without asking the next question of how to help Kenyans who can actually buy a Bible. Instead of taking these individuals out of the equation and saying that we’ll just give them one for free, we should address the more complex problem. Let’s work out how we can help these people afford a Bible. That will address the long-term need.

This will be a small step—not an ultimate step, but a small and critical step—to help local churches in Kenya 10 years from now to not need Crossway because we have figured out our way of depending on local resources to address local needs. And the Bible is going to be the number one need for any Christian or any church.”

Your donation could help Ken Mbugua and others in places like Kenya to provide Bibles at discounted prices, and begin the work to build a sustainable, long-term solution to providing Bibles to believers all over the world. Would you consider joining us in this effort?

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