20 years ago, watching a smiling, one-toothed cucumber take his first tentative steps across my computer screen, I had no idea what I was in for. The birth of VeggieTales® in my spare bedroom would lead to a wild rollercoaster ride over the next decade as we learned what an effective teaching tool limbless vegetables could be.
Throughout the 1990s, as the home video revolution swept Bob and Larry into households across America, we were able to bring key Bible stories and biblical values to life in a whole new way. But even at the peak of “veggie-mania” in the late 1990s, it was beginning to dawn on me that we were teaching Christian values, but not really teaching Christianity. We were teaching key Bible stories, but not teaching the entire Bible.
It was easy to present exciting, cinematic stories like Daniel and the Lion’s Den or Jonah and the Whale, but much harder to teach abstract concepts like, say, sin, redemption or God’s grace. Yet that is what we need most of all. Half of adult Protestants in America today can’t define the word “grace.” Christian colleges report that incoming freshmen – kids from Christian homes – know less and less about the Bible each year. Do they know the story of David and Goliath? Sure. They saw it in VeggieTales. But do they understand how the stories of David and Israel fit in to God’s redemptive plan for history – the one that they’re still a part of today? Not a clue.
According to the latest research, 65% of kids from Christian homes today stop attending church as soon as they graduate from high school. Our kids don’t find our faith meaningful enough to stay engaged into adulthood. Many experts believe real, meaningful engagement begins with a thorough understanding of the Bible – of why we’re here. The purpose of life. Knowing individual Bible stories is beneficial. But knowing the overall story of God and what he’s done for us through history is absolutely vital.
And so it’s time to start something new. It’s called What’s in the Bible? – and it is an attempt, over 13 DVDs, to walk kids all the way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, creating a foundation for them to build on for the rest of their lives. Call it “Christianity 101.” The beginning of a lifetime spent walking with God.
It is, frankly speaking, the most challenging – and exciting – project I can imagine.
Welcome to a whole new way to pass on our faith to our kids!