A Right Approach to The Bible in Your Youth Ministry
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.--2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
I love the imagery of this verse. I like the image of presenting ourselves and our work to God.
It's humbling, and scary, and wonderful.
I like the image of us as workers for the Lord, laboring for God. And I like the aim of this verse: that being a worker approved is tied to our right handling of Scripture.
Are you a right handler of Scripture? Do you or your volunteers teach the Bible to teenagers in a way that's right in God's eyes? I guess the more important question would be how do we define what it means to handle Scripture the right way in our youth ministries?
Here are a few broad thoughts:
I listened during a devotion as an individual made a point about the freedom from legalism we have in Christ. Good topic, right? This individual quoted Paul's words from 1 Corinthians 6:12, "Everything is permissible for me." The only problem, of course, is that Paul was quoting a phrase commonly used by the non-believers in Corinth. Serious gaffe on the part of And Paul refutes this thought in the rest of the verse! It's not enough to know Scripture if we aren't able to correctly use it. You can't take Scripture out of context. When you do, you arm a teenager with information that is simply not the truth. And there is no telling how it will impact their actions.
Are you making enough time to prepare for your Bible study lessons or talks? If you are consistently not allowing a proper amount of time to craft a message or study for a lesson, you're actually not giving the Bible the reverence it deserves. (I know . . . this is convicting to me, as well.) If we fully grasp how transformational God's Word is in the lives of our students, we will make (not find) the time to spend in preparing to teach it.
Your youth ministry should be Christ-centered and Gospel-focused. And the last time I checked, the Gospel is most fully cimmunicated through the Bible. Building on the foundation of the Bible sounds easy enough. Yet too often, we aren't strategic in our concept or our planning to be as effective at pulling this off as we could be.
It's important to have fun. But your students get "fun" from many other sources. It's important to build relationships. But most of your students realize meaningful relationships from a variety of sources. For many of your students, the time they spend in your youth ministry may be the main time they get exposed to God's Word. The focus of your youth ministry should be for students to experience a deepening relationship with Christ built on a knowledge and application of Scripture.
Paul calls Timothy to be a worker approved, one who handles the Word in the right way. If we do this, in Paul's words, we have "no need to be ashamed." What this implies is that we are misguided if we are not teaching the Bible correctly. But it also applies a certain assurance that if we are teaching our students Scripture in a way that is accurate, and leading them to apply its precepts in their lives, then we can be confident in our service of the Lord.