The Global Impact of Emmaus Courses
by Jesse Fullan, Director of Publications & Communications
Around the world, if you hear the word “Emmaus” mentioned, it is often in reference to the work of Emmaus courses. The global reach and impact of Emmaus courses is incredible. We currently have a presence in 108 countries, which is over half of the total number of countries in the world. Over 43 million Emmaus courses have been distributed since 1942, currently at a rate of 1.4 million each year. That is around 3,900 courses every day, or 2.7 courses every minute. They have been translated into over 80 languages, including many languages spoken in “closed” or “creative-access” countries. And our global course completion rate is about 75%, which means people are actively engaged with our content.
But as exciting as these numbers are, we feel we are just barely scratching the surface of the opportunities the Lord has before us. We truly believe the field is ripe for the harvest. Since our courses are used to reach both nonbelievers and believers (salvation then sanctification), this means our potential audience is truly the whole world. If we think this way, the numbers are not very impressive. The world population (currently at 7.6 billion) grows each year by an astounding 75 million people. China alone has a population of 1.4 billion people as of this year; India is at 1.3 billion. In regards to U.S. prison ministry, there are 2.3 million in the American criminal justice system; we estimate our courses reach around 100,000 inmates every year, less than 5% of the total. And speaking of languages, there are approximately 7,000 total languages in the world; a good percentage are small languages (not spoken by many people), but it’s clear our list of languages has room to grow.
We’re asking ourselves questions like: “What if those numbers were to double?” or even “What if, instead of 43 million courses in 75 years, we sent out 43 million every year?” We know that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).
We want to see God’s name made great. We want to see disciples made of all nations. We want God’s Word to be known, loved, and lived out by believers around the world. These things are already happening in many places; read the powerful stories about the global work of Emmaus courses in the rest of this issue. It’s incredibly exciting to see what God is doing, and we earnestly desire to dramatically grow the reach and impact of Emmaus courses.
To grow the ministry of Emmaus, we have some goals and desires in particular areas.
GROW IN NORTH AMERICA
Personal Bible Study. We wish to see people studying God’s Word for themselves. To know the message of the Bible, how to read and study it on their own, and how to find deep application for their lives.
Church Ministry. We want to reconnect to churches in a strong, meaningful way. Our courses (and the Connector program) are perfect for Bible studies, discipleship settings, teacher and missionary training, and more. We believe the church is God’s tool for believers to be prepared and equipped to fulfill the Great Commission, and we wish to serve as a resource for this purpose.
Creative Uses. Emmaus courses have application in unique situations, such as ministering to soldiers in the military, working with baseball chaplains (and other sports), Biblical training for missionaries, and many other creative uses that we’re looking to pursue.
Prison Ministry. Millions of courses have gone into U.S. prisons, with tens of thousands of inmates saved and growing in their faith. Emmaus courses are truly light in a very dark and often lonely place. We want to reach even more people in our prison ministry.
EXPAND OUR GLOBAL IMPACT
New Countries. We would love to see the ministry of Emmaus courses reach places we’ve never reached. We see huge opportunities in many parts of the world, and we’re asking the Lord to open doors to new opportunities.
Expanded Languages. There are a number of important languages that could be added to our global ministry. Also, many of our languages have just a few courses translated. Over time, our course curriculum has grown and deepened to be more comprehensive and effective in teaching people the story of the Bible and how to study it. We are praying for the people, the resources, and the funds to translate a more complete curriculum into all of our key languages.
HOW CAN YOU TAKE PART IN THE WORK?
Personal Study. If you haven’t ever taken an Emmaus course, engage with us. Start on The Emmaus Road curriculum, which you can complete online or in print. Get to know your Bible and how to read and study it for yourself.
Become a Connector. Looking for sound, structured Bible study in your church? Become an Emmaus Connector and take your bible study or small group through one of our courses, or walk alongside others in discipleship by studying a course together.
Support our Ministry. You can provide people around the world the opportunity to study the Bible through our courses by helping us open up a new country, or completing the translation of our full curriculum in a language.
Pray. We believe our ministry is impossible if believers are not earnestly praying for us and the work that is happening around the world. Rejoice with us at what the Lord is doing and has done, and pray for continued growth.
In conclusion, we realize that not all 7.6 billion people can be reached by Emmaus courses. We know that many of the 2.3 million in the U.S. criminal justice system have no interest in God or His Word. But we believe in a powerful God, the One that is mighty to save, who desires that all come to repentance. Pray for us as we seek radical growth in our ministry, for the glory of the God!
“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1)