By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
On occasion I have mused with a few other staff about value and benefits of Joy El’s Released Time Bible Program. I asked the question, “What would we lose if Released Time ceased to exist?” We received some really clear insights as to the value of the program. Before you read on, I suggest you take a few moments to jot the thoughts that come to your mind.
Here are just a few of the things we would lose (the benefits):
Every student receives mentoring by caring adults. They are the love of Christ to the students week after week.
Students develop spiritual authenticity through the intergenerational relationships. Research has shown this is one key reason that children will develop a faith that sticks long-term.
Biblical principles are taught from God’s Word. These truths help the students to grow in godly character and guide them in living lives that are pleasing to God. This positive influence rubs off on their friends and family members.
There is an undeniable focus on memorization of God’s Word. This helps students develop mental sharpness in the short-term, and provides children with long-term truth that is stored in their minds and hearts. I continue to have adults share with me how they remember the verses that they memorized 25, 35 and even 50 years ago in the program.
Spiritual character training: This helps the students to make wise choices as they navigate a culture that often gives them what is less than God’s best. (I could tell many stories if space and time would allow).
It is hard to imagine losing the impact of these 36 hours each year. God is working through this program to develop a faith that will stick long-term. I praise God for those who serve regularly and impact students, for those who pray regularly for the students, and for those who sacrifice financially. Your commitment to impacting children is being felt.
There are many more reasons, but thinking about these alone makes me extremely grateful for this program. Children, communities and future generations are benefiting because of how God is at work.
Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the LORD (Psalm 102:18)