Through the Blogger review program at Thomas Nelson, I had the privilege to review the Next Generation New Testament. Anytime I can take a look at how companies are combining technology with youth ministry I get excited. It contains CD’s full of mp3 files of the entire International Children’s Bible New Testament, read and dramatized by an all-star cast of tween and teen stars. It contains over 23 hours of scripture read by American Idol Jordin Sparks, Hannah Montana cast members Emily Osment and Cody Linley, High School Musical’s Corbin Bleu, actress AnnaSophia Robb, and many more. Max and Jenna Lucado provide great book introductions as well.
Since I have been in youth ministry for a long time now, I wanted to see if this would be appropriate to give to teens. After spending some time listening through it, I would have to say that the better audience would be the 8 to 13 ‘tweener’ crowd. The sound effects and soundtrack add to the dramatic feel of the narration. Think of it as a movie without the video.
I decided to check it out with some help from my 10 year old daughter. She was excited when she realized that some of her favorite tv and movie stars took part in narrating the Bible. She likes it and now wants to use my old iPod nano just for listening to the Bible. If it helps my children get excited about God’s Word, then it definitely gets my attention. The best part was the dvd containing video clips of all of the actors and actresses sharing about their faith. It was great seeing my kids engaged and excited about hearing the testimony of others.
It did seem a little strange to hear some of the adult roles in the Bible being read by teen boys with very young voices. And I would have preferred that they base the project on a Bible version that wasn’t for young children. I think pre-teens and teens can easily understand most modern adult translations. But overall I think this is a great idea, one that I would recommend for middle schoolers with iPods.
The Word of Promise: Next Generation is much more than just a word-for-word reading: it’s an all-star cast performing audio drama with a rich original score and Hollywood special effects. When Jesus walks on the water, kids will feel like they’re in the boat. When Peter waits in the courtyard during the Lord’s trial, the fire will crackle. The ambient sounds of the Holy land, the breath-taking musical score, the world-class young actors and the timeless Word of Promise all combine to deliver an unparalleled achievement.
Set includes 24 hours of audio drama on 3 mp3 CDs and a bonus 75 minute Behind-the-Scenes DVD featuring interviews with the actors.