Christian parents are always looking for ways to make the Bible come alive for their children. The Israel-based company DNA-Educational Games is now making board games and card games that help children of all ages learn more about the Bible and the Land.

With input from top biblical scholars, as well as photographers and graphic designers, the company has produced three flagship games called “In the Footsteps of Jesus,” “Journey to the Holy Land” and “Sayings of the Lord.” A fourth game entitled “Snakes and Ladders,” focusing on the missionary journeys of the Apostles, is being planned.

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All three current games can be used to teach about the locations where Jesus taught and the world in which he lived, as well as to build a greater appreciation for his message. Although the staff of DNA Games is Jewish, they launched the company in part to show their appreciation for Israel’s Christian friends.

“During the Holocaust, a relative of mine was forced to flee her home in Poland,” DNA Games CEO Hagai Rom recently told The Christian Edition. “She fled to Russia, and along the way she met many Christian families who helped and supported her. She felt she owed them a debt of gratitude, and one day she asked me if I had any idea how to make something that would embrace their religious beliefs and values. I started to form an idea, we began to develop the games, and her dream of appreciation became real.”

Rom said he hopes that Christian families playing his company’s games will come together for times of fun and learning. “We want to reinforce the family bond and at the same time strengthen their knowledge of the New Testament,” he added.

The games are suitable for Christians of all denominations and have been published in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

But more than camaraderie and altruism are at play in the DNA games.

Rom explained that the market for religious-themed games, books and toys is growing and also provides an opportunity to create jobs in Israel.

Rom thought that there might be a market for these games and started to investigate the field. He discovered that the religious consumer market in the United States was an $8.6 billion business in 2008 and is growing faster than overall retail. Nearly 12 percent of all Americans spend more than $50 a month on religious products. The total annual expenditures on religious products among American Christians, which also includes expenditures on imported products from Israel, is estimated at $4.2 billion.

Sales in the PC and electronic gaming industry have dropped, and simple, old-fashioned board and card games are making a comeback. This may be due in part to the global economic crisis, with many parents no longer willing to spend hundreds of dollars for expensive digital video games. Parents are also increasingly concerned about the mental impact on their children of games that inundate them with rapid-fire digital images.

The “old school” DNA games are available at most gift shops in Israel and also on the company’s website.

Discounts are available for large churches and educational institutions, as several Christian schools have already begun using them to teach the Bible to children.

“We have played them ourselves over and over,” said Christian educator Lisa Zaccaro. “And everyone – from our 4- year-old to our 13-year-old, to my husband and myself, and so many others who have come to our home – have enjoyed the blessing that comes from knowing our God more and more.

“These games have replaced worldly ones, and the benefits are eternal. How can you beat that?”
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