Celebrating 30 Years of Reaching Children

If you grew up in the church like I did, you’re familiar with the lyrics of a sweet song often played during the altar call, when people were invited to come forward and indicate their decision to follow Christ … “I have decided to follow Jesus / No turning back, no turning back.”

 

It’s a song for the beginning of your relationship with Jesus … but it’s also a song that carries you along the way. “The world behind me, the cross before me … No turning back, no turning back.”

 

As OneHope remembers and celebrates 30 years of ministry, I am personally reminded and challenged that there is still so much more Kingdom work to be done and that there really is “no turning back.” I was 22 years old when God gave my dad the burden to touch the life of every child and youth in the world with a relevant presentation of the Gospel. The vision was, and still is, “God’s Word. Every Child.” I’ve seen this vision come to life with amazing rapidity and powerful results.

 

It started with a book

The ministry of OneHope began in 1987 with a Scripture resource called the Book of Hope, a booklet explaining the metanarrative of the Gospel in a way that’s relevant to children and has grown to over 90 active programs in 179 nations. Programs have been developed for those who are illiterate, living through trauma, refugees, and even those whose parents are incarcerated. In 30 years, we have transformed from a book ministry to a multimedia ministry that includes films, storytelling cards, and apps!

 

Over the course of 30 years, by God’s grace, the Gospel has been presented to over 1.3 billion children and youth through OneHope programs. And today, 197 children and young people, somewhere in the world, receive the Gospel message through a OneHope Scripture engagement program every single minute.

 

 

These are great numbers! But “numbers” are not what this ministry is all about. Rather, our team at OneHope, and our partners and supporters all over the world, have a very different interest. We’re not interested in millions of children, or hundreds of thousands, or even just hundreds. We feel we have the mind of Christ when we say: we’re interested in each individual child, every boy and girl, each one with a face, a name, a story … and a special place in the heart of the heavenly Father.

 

A life transformed

We hear thousands of stories each year of lives that are transformed after encountering the truth found in God’s Word. Stories of children who are living in unsurmountable oppression, poverty, and circumstances that you and I cannot begin to imagine. One that stopped me in my tracks was the story of a Hindu girl named Tanvi. She lives in a majority-Hindu nation where it is incredibly difficult and dangerous to openly share the Gospel. But after seeing a showing of The GodMan film, a computer-animated presentation of the life of Jesus and reading the Book of Hope, she chose Christ as Savior.

 

Tanvi started attending church – and was even joined by her brother and mother – but Tanvi’s father was incredibly angry! He didn’t understand how his family could leave the faith of their forefathers. It was unheard of.

 

One Sunday, he exploded! Irrational, by anger and alcohol, he locked them in a room together and threatened to set fire to the house with all three of them inside.

 

At that moment, a friend from church came to the house – it was one of the leaders from the children’s ministry. She stopped Tanvi’s father from setting the house on fire and saved the lives of everyone inside!

 

Today, Tanvi’s parents have both chosen to follow Jesus – and the entire family is worshiping together in their local church.

 

This is the power of God’s Word to transform lives.

 

How does it work?

OneHope’s outcome-based Scripture engagement programs supply local churches and missions organizations with the resources they know will help them connect children and youth in their mission field with the Good News. Among our most effective programs on every continent:

 

Book of Hope. A harmony of the Gospels which presents the life of Christ so nothing is repeated and nothing is left out. The basic Scripture text is then augmented with extra sections that appeal to the heart-felt needs of the target audience. This book has been created in hundreds of languages for dozens of different age groups.

 

The GodMan. This computer-generated animation film of the life of Christ has been contextualized to many nations and cultures and is especially useful for children who can’t read, although nearly all children love to watch a movie. It has been broadcast on national television in many nations and is also used in conjunction with distributions of the Book of Hope.

 

God’s Big Story. This series of illustrated cards and Bible stories is powerfully effective in oral cultures, clearly presents the overarching metanarrative of the Scriptures, appeals to children because they get to keep a baseball-card type illustration of each story they learn, and is great for keeping children engaged and coming back to Sunday school or Bible club so they can collect all the cards. Children learn to tell the stories themselves — many even use their card to share the Gospel with friends and family.

 

Bible App for Kids. Just as we wanted to create programs that would reach children who can’t read, we also wanted to create programs that would speak to technologically savvy children — thus our partnership with YouVersion in the most popular religious app for children in history: the Bible App for Kids. With Scripture stories, interactive graphics, games and music, the Bible App for Kids has led children as young as three-years-old to choose Christ as Savior — and it appeals to children of all ages.

 

The Psalmist prayed to God, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105, KJV). In a dark world, when you share God’s Word with a child, you light up their path, you show them the way they should go. Whether it’s a Muslim boy in the Middle East who’s being pushed to become a terrorist, or an impoverished girl in Haiti who’s being pushed to become a prostitute. Whether it’s a child laborer in Nepal, or a soccer player in South America. The desperate need for eternal hope, for spiritual sustenance, for the light of the Gospel, is real, and universal.

 

 

Get Involved

There has never been a better time to join us. Today our vision of “God’s Word. Every Child” is becoming a reality — our team has formulated Vision 2030, a strategic plan to reach every child and youth on earth with the Good News by the year 2030 … and to continually saturate each new generation with God’s Word every seven years until Christ returns. This is the amazing future which we’re looking forward to — and we would love for you to be part of it, through your prayers and generosity.

 

We know that our heavenly Father loves children. We know He desires to see them come into His saving grace. We know there’s rejoicing in heaven whenever a single sinner makes the decision to follow Jesus Christ. Imagine the heart of your Father!

 

I hope you’ll visit the website at onehope.net and learn more about how we are coming alongside our partners to share the Good News with children and youth around the world. We look forward to the next 30 years and hearing more stories of young people who are learning about God for the first time. I pray you won’t pass up the opportunity to join us in fulfilling the vision of “God’s Word. Every Child.”

 

 

Meet the Hoskins

Bob Hoskins began his evangelistic ministry at the age of seven, traveling the United States and preaching crusades. As a young man, he felt the call to global missions and headed to British Guyana to share the Gospel. He is an ordained missionary in the Assemblies of God and has lived and ministered in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. As the President of Life Publishers, he revolutionized the international distribution of Scripture, particularly in the Spanish, French and Portuguese languages. In 1987, Bob founded OneHope with a simple mission – to provide God’s Word to Every Child. In 2004, Bob’s son, Rob became the president of OneHope and together they have led the ministry through tremendous growth. Now in their thirtieth year of ministry, OneHope has reached more than one billion children and youth with God’s Word.

 

Rob Hoskins grew up in a missionary home passionate to spread the truth of God’s Word from an early age. Rob grew up in the Middle East and Europe before settling in South Florida. Like his father, Bob, Rob is also an ordained missionary of the Assemblies of God Church, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanguard University. He is presently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Rob has also served on numerous global missions boards and committees, including the Forum of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI), the Lausanne Movement, and the Visual Story Network. He was honored to receive a John Maxwell’s Equip Leadership Award in 2005 and an honorary doctorate from ORU in 2017 after serving a two-year tenure as chairman of the board for the university. Rob and his wife Kim live near OneHope’s global headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Rob writes a weekly blog at www.robhoskins.com and can be followed on Twitter @robhoskins.

 

 

 

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