If your friend tells you he’s going to a music festival all weekend, what are the images that come to mind? Cheering fans? Tents in a muddy field? People with flowers in their hair? Well now you may need to picture your friend reading a bible.
A special version of The Message Bible will be available this summer at festivals across the United Kingdom. A ‘Jesus Loves Festivals’ edition of Mark’s Gospel will be distributed through Christian outreach organizations in Staffordshire, Edinburgh, and Leeds. These organizations like Festival Angels, God Tent, and Festival Pastors have been a mainstay at UK festivals for years.
Paul Blakey, one of the coordinators of Leeds Festival Angels, explains, “When you set up church in places people don’t expect it there is often a real openness to discuss faith and spirituality. In past years at Leeds Festival we have invited people to leave prayer requests which has led to discussions and people changing their concept of the Christian faith. This year we wanted to leave people with something that would help them discover more and the Jesus Loves Festivals Gospel will help do that.”
The outreach at Leeds Festival last year saw around four thousand people regularly visiting the Festival Angels’ Prayer Cafe over the festival week. Two thousand copies of the special edition fifty-six page Gospel have been printed and include sections on how to read the Bible, how to think critically, how to pray and an overview of the Christian message.
The Reverend David Newsome, coordinator of the Festival Pastors team at the V Festival, says: “Last year at the V Festival we gave out 22,500 cups of water to thirsty festival goers. This special edition of St. Mark’s Gospel is a great gift to give to those who ask why we do it.”
Publisher of The Message, Don Pape, comments, “It is so very exciting to see that the contemporary usage of English for Eugene Peterson’s parishioners in Maryland is the same language that will reach many attending festivals in the UK. I pray The Message serves its purpose – to incite a curious desire for God’s word.”
Many of the volunteer Festival Angels are Christians. They believe that the person of Jesus is central to our lives and as an expression of that they help make a positive difference within communities. This is why you will often find Christians at festivals running food banks, patrolling streets as Street Angels, offering counselling, supporting people to be free of addictions, and being part of the Festival Angels team.
See the latest way The Message Bible is helping readers dive deeper in to the word- The Message 100.