A Brief History of Bible Visuals International

“Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.” Psalm 148:11-13

Children’s ministry is not a work that begins with man. In fact, no ministry starts with man. It starts with a God of grace who comes to men, women and children in their fallen condition and provides redemption through a Savior, Jesus Christ. In His wisdom, God has accomplished this work through His Word, His Spirit and through the witness of His people. That’s where Bible Visuals International starts . . .

The ministry of Bible Visuals International grew out of the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Eastern Pennsylvania back in 1959. Under the leadership of director Helen Odenwelder, the ministry focused on publishing lessons and resources for local ministry needs. However, God soon enlarged Helen’s vision for the ministry through a mission trip to the Philippines in 1962. While there, she noticed that flannel graph figures were impractical in an open-air setting. Instead, she imagined visualized flashcard books that ministry partners here and abroad could easily use in a variety of settings.

Back in Pennsylvania, she assembled a team of writers and illustrators to create these kinds of materials. Over several decades the ministry produced a series of 312 visualized Bible lessons simply known as the Visualized Bible. In addition, they created a collection of visualized stories and songs for children’s ministry. These resources were created with not only local ministry in mind but international ministry as well. American idioms were minimized to ease translation. BVI soon established translation and print agreements in several countries to provide ministry partners with materials that were affordable, accessible and adaptable to their needs.

In the 1990s, with the increased growth of the Internet and computer technology, the leadership at BVI once again sensed the need for new formats to help ministry partners. First, BVI materials were digitized and made available in PowerPoint disk format. In 2011, BVI began to make the resources available online in download formats. Now ministry partners from around the world can access low cost ministry visuals along with translated text files! BVI continues to fulfill it’s mission of “helping children see Jesus” by focusing on the production of new ministry materials and on the low-cost or free distribution of these resources in print and digital formats.