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Best of ChurchLeaders: Tim Mackie and Jon Collins on Why It’s Hard to Understand the Bible

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Tim Mackie and Jon Collins are the writers and creative directors behind BibleProject, a nonprofit animation studio that produces short form, fully animated Bible videos, along with other Bible resources. Their goal is to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere.

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Key Questions for Tim Mackie and Jon Collins

-Why is it so challenging to engage people in understanding the Bible?

-How do you choose the themes you are going to discuss in your videos?

-What has been one of the most challenging biblical themes to represent visually?

-How do you hope to equip the church with these videos?

Key Quotes from Tim Mackie

“Even though the Bible is familiar to a lot of us who grew up in church communities and church traditions, that can hide another, historical fact that the Bible comes from another culture, another place, another time and language and history—actually multiple languages. That in itself presents a gap in understanding and a challenge for understanding.” 

“Most people aren’t in the habit of reading ancient texts from across the planet from thousands of years ago, and that’s what the Bible is.” 

“Just as it’s difficult to get on a plane and go touch down in another country and immediately feel at ease and at home and understand everything that’s going on, in the same way the Bible is a cross-cultural experience when we open and read it.” 

“The learning process actually continues in the visual development process because when you begin to see an idea explained…the way that visual explanation works will open up a new way of thinking about it.” 

“A real deep sub-theme of all of our work is trying to represent the ethic of Jesus that we often call the ‘upside down ethic of the Kingdom of God’ that’s so counter to our normal ways of seeing the world and living in it.”

Key Quotes from Jon Collins

“It is good to de-familiarize ourselves with the Bible, to a degree. We need to stop and think about how strange it is that we’re asked as people of God to be students of ancient literature.”

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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye