The BigBible Project; Housegroup… with a new media layer!

The BigBible Project; Housegroup… with a new media layer!

I have just written the following blog post to summarise the project that I am working on with CODEC this year… I came on board on the 1st July, working 2.5 days a week, and after looking around at the number of other projects that existed, and knowing that the book formed a central part of this project… this is what has now exists:

The BigBible Project is an exciting new initiative tying in with the larger Biblefresh initiative for 2011. This ecumenical project is produced by CODEC (‘Christian Communication in the Digital Age’, St John’s College, University of Durham), funded by The Methodist Church and Methodist Evangelicals Together, and supported by Premier Christian Media, SPCK and Twelve Baskets.

As the project develops, you can get first hand updates through the blog: http://bigbible.org.uk, Twitter http://twitter.com/bigbible and Facebook http://bit.ly/bigbiblefb.

What is The Big Read 2011?
Over Lent 2010, the people of Durham got together for “The Big Read“, working their way through Luke, using the first of three texts to be written by Tom Wright, using events, podcasts and housegroup materials. This was such a success, that for the second text, Matthew, the activity is going national in The Big Read 2011.

The book, published by SPCK, will be available in the shops/in Kindle in January 2011, and a subscription option will allow you to receive the materials daily. The project will then offer further opportunities for Bible Engagement: Online and Offline.

How is this different?
The BigBible Project will provide housegroup materials to accompany the daily readings contained within the book, offering items for reflection and discussion within your local group. There is also, however, the opportunity to participate in national discussions with those partaking online, whether individually or with their own housegroups, and also to upload your own material produced in response to the issues raised. Podcasts and Vodcasts will also be made available.

Why should I be using social media?
There are already millions of Christians online (note, we talk online/offline, rather than virtual/real), and there’s no need to feel that you need to join every online service! One of the joys of social media is that it tends to encourage transparency and authenticity, so if a part of your life is your Christian faith, that is likely to come through.

The more genuine indicators of our whole lives that we can give to those inhabiting online worlds, the more positive indicators of a Christian faith we can give.

A number of those Christians already online may qualify as those who are “ranty” offline, and therefore also will be so online… allow the wider world to see the range of viewpoints and the common purpose that all Christians hold.

Contribute your voice to social justice and other campaigns, such as the anti-burning-of-the-Qu’ran Facebook group and SuperBadger.

Save re-inventing the wheel by sharing ideas and inspiring and encouraging each other. Once you know how to use some of the social media tools, you can join in deeper with the housegroup materials…

Bex, who is project managing this project, has found it a real joy and encouragement to make contact with others online who challenge and encourage her in her faith journey.

I’m scared of/don’t get/don’t know how to use social media?
We see this project as a wonderful opportunity to help more Christians to experience being a part of the ‘online’ world within the context of something that most already understand – the Bible, and also to encourage a rise in Bible reading – those who spend the most time zooming around tend to be those who have smartphones – so can take opportunities to check in with online materials!

The BigBible Project is involved in the New Media Conference co-hosted by Premier and CODEC, to be held in central London on 16th October 2010, which will allow both ‘newbies’ and experienced new media practitioners to learn – both practically and theologically.

How can I help?
The blog is intended to become a ‘crowdsourcing’ space, a term which simply means to use the ‘wisdom of the crowds’, allowing us to share our different levels of expertise (and in both the Bible and social media, there’s no one that ‘knows it all’), and our responses to the materials that we are engaging with. We are therefore looking to draw upon the experience and expertise of all.

If you are having your first go at using a form of social media, especially for Bible engagement, we’d love to hear your experience- what you enjoyed, what you learnt – and feel free to indicate those things you didn’t like as well.

If you have lots of experience in new media, or are interested in the debates surrounding theology and new media, we would love you to contribute your thoughts and your practical tips in order to allow others to get past their fears and feel confident online – no tip too small.

For now, please feed through [email protected], although we are anticipating using BuddyPress shortly to provide community functionality.

Where can I find you online & how can I join in?
Remember, you don’t have to join all platforms, and can join as little or as much as you like::

What will happen afterwards?
This project is excitingly new and experimental, but even in its early weeks, has already attracted a lot of attention and support. As we continue through Biblefresh for 2011, we are already identifying further texts for Autumn and Christmas, and the material deposited in 12Baskets will provide great resources for others to share.

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