Talking Bibles International

Because they need to hear

Escondido, CA   |  https://www.talkingbibles.org

Mission

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. Talking Bibles International is an ECFA-accredited 501(c)3 charitable organization.

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 info

1998

President

Mr. Mark S. Hoekstra

Main address

PO Box 906

Escondido, CA 92033 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Audio Scriptures International

EIN

33-0361583

NTEE code info

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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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

More than 700 million people around the world cannot read or choose not to read. To these people, a print Bible is of no use. How will they engage with scripture? They need an audio Bible, a Bible that speaks to them in their heart language. The Talking Bible gives non-readers immediate access to God's Word. People lack literacy for a variety of reasons, whether it be that they belong to oral cultures, are not educated, have learning disabilities, or are visually impaired. These groups of people may struggle to read a print Bible, but they will easily listen to the Talking Bible. When non-reading Christians are equipped with a Bible in a format that they can understand, God's Kingdom expands. Having access to the Bible in their heart language empowers non-readers to become evangelists, disciples, and church planters. They will share the Gospel with their families, friends, and neighbors.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Talking Bible Ministry

We work with you to share the spoken Word of God with millions of non-readers. We provide 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.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) 2020

Affiliations & memberships

Barnabas Foundation 2011

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of Bible chapters played on our Bible listening website

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Talking Bible Ministry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of Asian descent, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Talking Bible Ministry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

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

Number of Talking Bibles distributed in Africa

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants and migrants

Related Program

Talking Bible Ministry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, Economically disadvantaged people, People with vision impairments

Related Program

Talking Bible Ministry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

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

Number of unique website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This anonymous data combines the traffic to our informational and Bible listening websites.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

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 30 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.

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.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Talking Bibles International serves those who cannot or do not read by giving them access to Scripture, recorded in their heart language, so that they can listen to the Word of God with autonomy. The majority of the world's people belong to oral cultures, which means that reading and writing are not part of their daily lives. This does not include the many people who belong to literary-based cultures and cannot read due to impairments or a lack of education. Talking Bibles enable all people, readers and non-readers alike, to experience the Word of God for themselves and empowers them to share it with others.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, In person visits,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Talking Bibles International utilizes local volunteers in-country to distribute Talking Bibles amongst people in their regions. We collect feedback from these volunteers, who collect feedback from the people they distribute to. From this feedback, we will assess any needed changes to the device, the distribution methods, or the feedback process itself. Recently, we created a mobile chat thread to connect with our volunteers so that feedback can be shared and received in real time. We've found that this allows us all to stay up-to-date with one another and address needs or celebrate victories together with greater consistency and efficiency.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Talking Bibles International relies heavily on the local volunteer pastors and evangelists who work with us to share God's Word on Talking Bibles. We believe that they know best how to reach and connect with the people in their areas, so we are receptive to their needs and suggestions. These men and women are the catalyzing force to helping non-readers gain access to the Word of God. By being in active communication with them, we are able to support their distribution efforts and act as guides and partners throughout the process.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,

Financials

Talking Bibles International
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Talking Bibles International

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Paul Hoekstra

Talking Bibles International

Term: 2011 -

Joseph Chua

Mark Hoekstra

Talking Bibles International

Paul Hoekstra

Talking Bibles International

Scott Roelof

Julia Schuur

Lawrence Schut

Chuck Todd

Deb Hoffmeister

Arlen Memmelaar

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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
  • Ethics and 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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/21/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data