“Hi! We’re Jacob and Jordan,” a cartoon boy and girl dressed for adventure introduce themselves on the first page of The Greatest Journey.
“Even though we’re still kids like you, we’ve traveled all over the world as missionaries. A missionary is someone who gets to tell other people about God.”
And with that, young readers dive into the ultimate adventure as they learn about who God is, how to walk with Him every day and how to share the love of Jesus with their friends.
The Greatest Journey is a 12-part discipleship and evangelism program from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) aimed at children ages 6-10. It’s newly available for families, Sunday school classes and home schools in the United States.
But anyone who’s recently participated in Operation Christmas Child—the famous shoebox ministry from BGEA’s sister organization, Samaritan’s Purse—has probably been part of The Greatest Journey already without even realizing it.
When a child in another country receives a shoebox full of gifts, that’s often just the beginning. Since 2009, millions of young shoebox recipients in 65 countries have received follow-up Bible lessons through The Greatest Journey. So the simple gift of a shoebox can lead God’s precious children to a lifelong relationship with Jesus.
“We praise the Lord for making The Greatest Journey one of the largest discipleship programs in the world today,” said Chad Miller, director of Children’s and Youth Evangelism Training at BGEA. “But there are many more boys and girls we still urgently need to reach with the truth of God’s Word.”
That’s why Miller and the rest of the team modified the program to suit children learning about God in churches and homes in the U.S.
“(Evangelism) needs to happen in the Zimbabwe village for the shoebox recipient just as much as it needs to happen on the soccer field at the YMCA in the U.S.,” Miller said.
The Greatest Journey materials available for purchase come with three student books, each of which contains four lessons (12 lessons total). There’s also an optional teacher’s guide.
“The teachers guide was developed to make it work in a classroom setting,” Miller said. “Families don’t even need it. A family could just have the student book set and have a blast just reading through it. So it’s really easy for a parent to start a Bible study.
“In fact, for parents who want to do something with their kids and don’t know what to do, this is a great start.”
New in 2014, BGEA launched The Greatest Journey Live, an onstage production that brings the characters of Jacob and Jordan to life.
At the Will Graham Central Mississippi Celebration in March, 1,500 kids and parents experienced The Greatest Journey Live. Child actors took the audience on an adventure, where they learned about walking with God and sharing their faith. Afterward, Will Graham (Billy Graham’s grandson and a father of three) shared a kid-friendly Gospel message, and many children prayed to accept Christ into their hearts.
“After the event, churches wanted to get The Greatest Journey curriculum to use in their churches,” Miller said.
The next live event is scheduled for Will Graham’s Ohio Valley Celebration in Owensboro, Kentucky next April. Until then, The Greatest Journey books are ready to help parents and teachers reach children with the Gospel. And, as Miller says, “not just reach them but make disciples.”
Learn more about using The Greatest Journey in your home, school, church or small group.