Religion, Spiritual Development

Talking Bibles International

Because they need to hear

Escondido, CA

Mission

The ministry, an ECFA-accredited 501(c)3 charitable organization, provides leaders in communities of oral learners with "talking" Bibles, God's spoken Word, in their native languages. Our mission is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ by producing audio recordings of translated Scriptures in hundreds of languages and making these recordings accessible in the form of Talking Bibles for millions of people around the world who cannot read. The ministry trains leaders to use "talking" Bibles to share the good news of Christ. These Bibles allow leaders to nurture their congregations and reach out to unbelievers. This approach equips indigenous non-readers to become church leaders, pastors, and missionaries to their own communities.

Notes from the Nonprofit

We serve the Lord Jesus Christ by giving non-readers around the world an audio Bible in their own language. That's a big mission simply stated. If there is any detail missing on this page, please contact us. We will gladly answer any questions you have by phone or email.

You can read how God is changing lives one Talking Bible at a time at our website. Or make an appointment to stop by our office to hold a stack of testimonies, every one signed with the fingerprint of a non-reader who became a Christian after listening to God's Word in their heart language. Support Talking Bibles International, and bring the Bible into homes where no one can read.

Ruling Year

1998

President

Mr. Mark S. Hoekstra

Main Address

PO Box 906

Escondido, CA 92033 USA

Keywords

Audio Bibles, Spoken Word, Audio Scriptures, Talking Bibles, non-readers, Adopt-A-Village, Bible listening program

EIN

33-0361583

 Number

1929326444

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Religious Media, Communications Organizations (X80)

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Radio (A34)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

There are more people in the world who would prefer to listen to a Talking Bible than read it.

Most oral learners belong to cultures that do not teach with books but with conversations, narratives, music, and visual arts. For these people, reading is not their preferred method of learning. As a result, oral learners may struggle to understand the Gospel when their only access is the printed Bible.

The Talking Bible communicates God's message to oral learners in the method they most easily can understand.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Talking Bible Ministry

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of Bible chapters played on our Bible listening website

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Context notes

Beginning at the end of 2015, we anonymously track how many chapters of the Bible are played through our Bible listening website.

Number of Talking Bibles distributed in Asia

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

People of Asian descent,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Related program

Talking Bible Ministry

Context notes

The majority of Talking Bibles distribution in Asia was to non-readers in India.

Number of Talking Bibles distributed in Africa

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

People of African descent,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,

Immigrants, newcomers, refugees

Related program

Talking Bible Ministry

Context notes

The majority of Talking Bibles distribution in Africa was to non-readers in Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Number of Talking Bibles distributed worldwide

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Indigenous people,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,

People with vision impairments

Related program

Talking Bible Ministry

Context notes

While the majority of Talking Bibles distribution takes place in non-reading communities in Africa and Asia, and increasing number are being carried to South America and Europe.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Officially, there are about 776 million people in the world who lack basic reading and writing skills, according to UNESCO, the international organization tasked with measuring global literacy. Talking Bibles and its associates have worked for decades with non-literate, often overlooked minority groups who are isolated by language and culture. We know from experience that the problem of Biblical illiteracy is much greater. By our estimation, there are over 1 billion people in the world who cannot read the Bible in their heart language. These are the men, women, and children who need the spoken Word.

Whatever the reason for their lack of literacy, all non-readers are in dire need of the truth of Scripture in their own language in a format that they can study for themselves. The Good News in the Bible gives new life along with new vocabulary and a new way of thinking. People who struggle to survive in poverty often have no time or reason to learn to read unless they already know this power of the Gospel. But there are many people, especially leaders, who will not accept the authority of the Bible unless they can see or hear it for themselves. The Talking Bible crosses these barriers of mistrust and fear because God's word speaks to them.

Talking Bibles International supports the efforts of mission organizations who teach people to read the Bible in their own language. Literacy programs and the spoken Word are two equally important tools in the evangelistic toolbox. But teaching reading takes time, during which people continue to go without personal access to the Word of God. There are hundreds of millions whose eyes will never know the letters on a page, but every one of those people has ears to hear. We have it on our hearts to reach these people. With the Talking Bible, non-literate individuals can hear the Word of God in their own language today—no classes required.

Most oral learners belong to cultures that do not teach with books but with conversations, narratives, music, and visual arts. For these people, reading is not their preferred method of learning. As a result, oral learners may struggle to understand the Gospel when their only access is the printed Bible. The Talking Bible communicates God's message to oral learners in the method they most easily can understand.

The ministry provides leaders in communities of oral learners with “talking" Bibles, God's spoken Word, in their native languages. The ministry trains leaders to use “talking" Bibles to share the good news of Christ. These Bibles allow leaders to nurture their congregations and reach out to unbelievers. This approach equips indigenous non-readers to become church leaders, pastors, and missionaries to their own communities.

In brief, our process for planting a Talking Bible is as follows: A planter (an evangelist or missionary partnering with Talking Bibles International) chooses a community to receive a Talking Bible. The planter researches the area and designs a plan to reach that community. A leader is chosen to oversee the playing of the Talking Bible. The leader plays the Talking Bible each day for 3 to 6 months. The planter provides pastoral care and follow-up. Many listeners believe and are baptized. A church is formed. Those that hear the Word and receive it bear good fruit.

Talking Bibles International has 25 years of experience bringing about positive, sustainable change to remote communities around the world through structured Bible listening programs. Our executive team and many of our staff have decades of experience in global missions. The experience they bring supplies the organization with the wisdom and connections needed to work with local ministry leaders toward a common mission to equip non-readers with a Bible of their own.

Additionally, Talking Bibles International has developed sturdy, versatile audio Scripture players that meet the requirements of the mission field. We began in the 1970s with tape players that could barely hold a full Bible lesson, and we have continually improved the devices as technology develops. Now with the solar-powered Talking Bibles, Scripture-hungry non-readers in remote villages can listen to a complete Bible in their own language without ever having to purchase batteries.

The Talking Bible, available in many languages, can store and play a complete Old and New Testament or a single testament if a complete translation is not available to record. It has been designed for groups of up to 50 people to be able to listen comfortably through the built-in speaker. It can also be plugged into a public address system to reach even more people. The Talking Bible is about the size and shape of a pocket Bible. It is shaped like a Bible for familiar, comfortable use. It has been designed to withstand the elements. It is water resistant with a built-in mylar speaker. It has been vibration tested, heat and humidity tested and drop tested. Very rarely do we get one back from the mission field. The beauty of the Talking Bible lies in its simplicity. Turn it on and it plays the Word of God! It is designed for daily Bible listening, and it always starts where you left off yesterday.

The local ministry partners who help plant Talking Bibles are given instruction on the planting and nurturing process, and they are continually encouraged to bring reports about how God is using the Talking Bible to reach and sustain listeners. The reports usually come in the form of testimonies (either recorded or dictated), baptism stories, and photographs. In addition to the successes, we also hear from our partners about difficulties they are having.

Because Talking Bibles International does not provide anything to partners besides instruction and audio Bible players, we believe that the reports we receive are honest and trustworthy. For the sake of good stewardship, we also attempt throughout the year to visit the communities where there are ongoing Talking Bible planting projects.

A second kind of success metric is the growing number of churches and missions who are hearing from their own people about how God is using Talking Bibles. We know that Talking Bible communities appreciate the gift of God's Word in their heart language because they are asking other missionaries and their national churches to bring them more.

In this decade, we have seen tremendous increase in demand for Talking Bibles in India and Africa, due to close cooperation by local ministry partners in India and Africa. We are working with missionary pastors in every state in India, and we have placed Talking Bibles in refugee camps and remote villages in east Africa with great reports. We also hope that the next few years will yield great opportunities to provide more Talking Bibles for non-readers in South America. We continue to identify global communities in need faster than we can respond with Talking Bibles. Our primary limitation is the speed and cost of manufacturing the Talking Bibles, though we have done what we can to minimize those problems.

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)

Photos

Financials

Talking Bibles International

Fiscal year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity