The Kickstarter Gospel

When Jordan Donaldson, 26, Giancarlo Ospina, 26, and Jesse Tyler, 23 — all born and raised in the Assemblies of God — launched their collaborative Kickstarter campaign, “Manuscripts,” at noon on Oct. 24, they had no idea their $12,000 project would be fully funded within a mere five hours.

“When we saw that we were 100 percent funded by 5 p.m., we were incredibly surprised,” Donaldson says. “We realized how blessed we were, and we were so encouraged to see people excited about reading Scripture.”

“Manuscripts” is a project that aims to make reading Scripture less overwhelming for a novice, by printing books of the Bible in pocket-sized, easy-to-read volumes.

“The Bible can be daunting,” Donaldson says. “It is good and it can speak for itself, but, as a whole, it can be intimidating for someone to open up.”

The idea originally came to Ospina while sitting in a Bible class at Missouri State University. Ospina says that as he grasped that individual authors wrote Scripture as separate books, he became convinced that’s the way it could be presented to modern readers.

“We have the Bible on our phones but, I thought how cool would it be to read it in its ‘original’ form,” Ospina recalls. “It seemed like it would be a normal thing to do.”

Donaldson, Tyler, and Ospina were roommates and attendees of James River College in Ozark, Missouri.

Tyler says when verse numbers are removed, each book can be read as a unique story. Additionally, by printing each book separately, production quality increases with use of a larger font and thicker pages.

“The Bible now looks like something you’ve read before,” Tyler says. This familiarity is what the three hope will encourage a broader audience to engage in Scripture.  

Tyler says that even though he grew up attending Calvary Lighthouse in Lakewood, New Jersey, once on his own and in a different community, he began to wonder what he really knew about the Bible beyond what he had heard from the pulpit.

“I came back to the Bible,” Tyler says. “Bible reading has got to be step 1. It is the thing you can go to and trust, no matter where you have been in life.”

Donaldson, who now lives in New York City and attends Living Waters Fellowship, says the goal of the project is to deliver Scripture in a contemporary and casual manner. The overarching objective, he says, is for the books to be read. Donaldson says that the team designed the layout be user friendly.

“Put it in your pocket, let it get a little roughed up,” Donaldson says. “Bend the pages where you’ve left off. That’s what it is made for.”

Donaldson, Ospina, and Tyler have received tremendous support for their project both on and off of their Kickstarter site. The trio say they have received multiple comments from unchurched and non-Christian individuals who promise to read the books.

The team agrees that the long-term goals of the project include printing every book in the Bible in “collections.”

“Think ‘The Pentateuch’, ‘Letters of Paul,’, or ‘Minor Prophets,’ Ospina says. Additionally, the team hopes that as the project expands, they will be able to bring production costs down so that churches can receive copies of certain books, particularly the Gospel of John, to give to first-time attendees.

Assemblies of God General Superintendent Doug E. Clay thinks the strategy is both smart and needed.

“It excites me to see this project emerging, because I believe in instilling a core value of biblical literacy among the next generation of Assemblies of God adherents,” Clay says. “What an incredible way to get Scripture in the hands of the next generation!”

Source: AG News

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