In the largest single distribution of Scripture in the city's history, about 430,500 subscribers to The Houston Chronicle received the Gospel of Luke as an insert in their newspaper Sunday, Aug. 29. The distribution was the joint effort of the International Bible Society (IBS) and more than 20 local Christian leaders and churches and other underwriters and businesspeople in the community.
IBS developed The Servant King Gospel of Luke, which incorporates imagery from Mel Gibson's popular movie, "The Passion of the Christ" for Christians to use as follow-up to the film.
Doug Stringer, founder and president of a ministry called Somebody Cares Houston, said the film "not only shook our nation but provoked the whole world."
"This was a great time to provide everyone in Houston with the Scripture that ties so closely to the movie," he said. "We hope to see God ignite a fire of transformation throughout the city and beyond."
IBS President Peter Bradley said he hopes the film will prompt viewers to "seek to learn more about Jesus through the pages of the original text."
In addition to the Servant King Gospel of Luke, a listing of 20 local churches—with their names, full addresses, phone numbers, and websites—was included with Sunday’s Chronicle to help people connect with churches in their area. Also, a main number was listed for anyone who wished to call with questions. The project was also accompanied by a website featuring testimonies, a church directory, and information on Houston’s 160-year history.
“This is a prototype of what we’ll be doing in multiple cities around the nation,” said Michael Richards, IBS regional director for the south central United States. Although IBS has done similar distributions in the past, Sunday’s distribution was the first to cover an entire city.
Meanwhile, DVD and VHS versions of the ‘Passion’ movie will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 31.