× Front Page The Project The Film The Coalition Look Inside Join Us
Front Page The Project The Film The Coalition Look Inside Join Us

Changing Perception Requires Knowing Where to Begin

Data defines the problem

American Bible Society

Fewer than 20% of Americans engage the Bible in a meaningful way, and statistics suggest that this number is only getting smaller with time. Our society is growing increasingly secular and distant from traditional religious belief—what Christian philosopher Charles Taylor calls “disenchanted.” But, as Taylor and others have pointed out, these aren’t necessarily cold-hearted skeptics with their fists raised to the heavens, unwilling to believe in the divine. These are curious people who long for hope and transcendence, men and women in search of meaning, on a pilgrimage for truth. They desperately want to see our world—and their individual lives—get better, but they just don’t see the Bible as a potential answer to the existential problem at hand.

Research tells us that 150 million Americans are curious about the Bible and believe things in their life and the world around them can be better.

Given our cultural crisis, we’re convinced there is a vast dichotomy between perceptions of the Bible and longings for a better tomorrow, and data confirms this serious disconnect. Research shows that there are four barriers keeping people from exploring the Scriptures: misconceptions, complexity, lack of appeal, and mistrust.


Telling the Better Story

David Roark

Stories are powerful and formative, and they are all around us—in the movies and TV shows we watch, the songs and podcasts we hear, the lives that we observe day in and day out. On our social media feeds, and in our advertisements, the narratives of our culture are shaping the way we see and interact in the world—they are literally changing our lives. As one writer said, “Whoever tells the best story wins.” And upon spending some time on Netflix or iTunes, it’s easy to see how the stories of our culture are incomplete when it comes to fulfilling our deepest desires.

We are aiming for 100M Americans actively engaged in the Bible by 2026.

Unfortunately, when it comes to projects around the Bible, our stories haven’t been good enough either. Despite the hope and possibilities within it, the Bible has lost its luster as a narrative and a brand. Yet we believe that brand can be redeemed—and that’s the heart of this project. We desire to break down barriers, allowing people to decide for themselves whether the Bible will help things get better in their lives and in our world. The solution begins with positively changing perception and activating exploration of the Bible - and we plan to achieve that goal in four ways that will form a better story: world class advertising, an online hub of intriguing information, partner projects across all channels of culture, and a compelling brand that delivers the life-changing invitation of God’s Word with respect and humility.


THE 4-PART PROBLEM

Misperceptions

Research says that many people tend to see the Bible as an archaic text with rules and laws that are harsh, judgmental, and impossible to follow. They also believe the Bible is behind the times when it comes to contemporary social issues like race, gender, and sexuality, not to mention the theories of modern science.

Complexity

There are large swoths of men and women interested in reading and learning more about the Bible, but they simply don’t know where to start. Whether it’s the thousands of pages or the extensive genealogies with names impossible to pronounce, research confirms that many people find the Bible to be overly complex.

Lack of Appeal

Though Christian publishing and entertainment functions as a multi-billion dollar industry, it draws little attention from popular culture. Many people look at faith-based movies and music as irrelevant, inauthentic, or out of touch. People believe the Bible is unappealing, not solely because of the Bible itself, but largely because of the projects inspired from it.

Mistrust

Based on the latest research, a large number of people don’t trust the Bible because they don’t trust Christians. From bad personal experiences to popular pastors committing moral failures to some dark history of the Church, Christians haven’t always cultivated the best of reputations. This reputation has turned a large population away from the Bible.


THE 4-PART SOLUTION

Advertising

Can advertising really impact people’s perception of the Bible? If it’s insightful, expertly executed, and backed by a sophisticated digital media plan that delivers it at the right time to the right people it certainly can. And it will. Because we have the best partner in the business on board as a founding coalition member.

Online Hub

Have you ever looked around the web for Bible info that a) doesn’t assume you already believe it’s true, or b) tries to convince you that it is? There are many excellent tools to study the Bible online, but nowhere for curious people to explore while being given the respect to decide what they think for themselves. We’re changing that with Look Inside.

Partner Projects

If lack of appeal in projects related to the Bible narrative is a barrier, then partnering with people who can conceive, execute, and deliver projects that break that barrier down is mission critical for this coalition. We need creators, investors, amplifiers, and prayer champions to come together in unprecedented collaboration.

The Brand

It’s been said that products are things that people buy, but brands are things that people buy into—and great brands are built on consistency and trust. Can the Bible be viewed as a brand? We think it can, and we think the advertising, online hub, and partner projects born of this coalition can help cultivate a fresh perception and renewed trust in the Bible brand, and the invitation to a fuller life that it promises.


Why Magellan?

Jennifer Rivera

In the fall of 1519, Ferdinand Magellan and a multi-national crew of 270 men left Spain in search of a route to Asia by sailing around the Americas. Three years later, 18 men, Magellan not among them, returned to Europe after completing the first circumnavigation of the entire world. It was a voyage of immense difficulty and glorious discovery that cost the staunch Christian evangelist his life.

It’s also a fitting metaphor for the size of this challenge–and a reminder that success in reshaping perception of the Bible will require a diverse and committed crew.

At the outset of the project, Magellan was chosen as an internal code name while a public facing campaign was developed. Now that Look Inside has launched, we’ve officially formed The Magellan Coalition as a broad, interconfessional group of imperfect people who believe things can be better and that the Bible narrative can contribute to that improvement.