Written by Sherry
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 23:10
This article from the Arizona Republic tells the story of Mark Hart, the 33 year old Executive Vice President of Life Teen.
He picked up his moniker, the Bible Geek, a few years ago by accident. He was leading a Bible study and had to leave town. Before he did, he e-mailed a dozen teens in the study explaining how the scripture they were studying pertained to their lives.
"I didn't want the e-mail to be about me so I signed it 'Bible Geek,' and it became a huge hit instantly," said Hart, who lives in Gilbert.
Since then he has answered thousands of questions from teens, making the Bible fun and relevant.
Hart points to relevance, or lack thereof, as a reason teens have left the church. Life Teen, which was launched more than 20 years ago, has helped change that. Today, the program is in 1,200 parishes and 20 countries.
"Adults are willing to or wanting to kind of write teenagers off," Hart said. "Not all teenagers are deviant, taking drugs or a part of gangs."
A relationship grows when teens can look at God as their father, not just their savior, enjoying a more intimate connection, he said.
"I am not going to teach about a God that we don't know personally," Hart said.
Hart helps teens through Bible studies, online questions and answers, retreats and live podcast of the scriptures to help them find and understand individual relationships with God.
Hart emphasizes seven core values of a personal relationship between a teenager and God: love, joy, evangelization, primary vocation, affirmation, authenticity and Eucharistic spirituality.
Now those are seven core values that every Catholic can embrace.