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Your Students Don't Read the Bible. Here's What To Do About it.

Your Students Don't Read the Bible. Here's What To Do About it.

We have a problem! We understand there is power in the Bible, but our students aren’t spending time in it.

The good news is that adults… well 48% of us… are regular Bible users. What is a "regular Bible user" you ask? Great question! It is defined as, "They engage with the Bible on their own by using, listening to, watching, praying or using Bible text or content in any format (not including use at a church service) at least three to four times A YEAR!"

I submit to you that while we might desire for our students to read the Bible and allow for it to change their lives… it never will unless we do it first!
Have you ever been around someone who loves the Bible?
  • what are they like?
  • think about it for a moment and make a mental note of their characteristics. 

Six in 10 Americans Believe the Bible Has Transformed Their Life

How is this possible? It must be that the “thought” of the Bible is super transformative and/or what people “think” is in the Bible might be transforming their lives. But is it really true? I mean, have ever heard a Bible passage taken out of context before? Eric J. Bargerhuff wrote a great book on the topic, The Most Misused Verses in the Bible.

WE, “YOU”, as leaders must fix this. The WORD of GOD lasts forever.

YBH - Yes, but How?

This great line. "Yes, but how" haunts my mind all too often. Many times I hear a great idea but then there is no practical application for me to begin the journey. Today, I'd like to submit to you 7 ways to help combat this problem we are facing.

1. Start with Why!

It is a great book if you haven't read it. It is more of a business/marketing book but translates oh so well into youth ministry. To communicate with students and those who shepherd their lives we need to "Start with Why."
This means we don't jump in right away with the tips and tricks to Bible reading. Rather we start with the question, "why?" Why should we be reading our Bibles? I know of no better place to go than the Bible itself. 
2 Timothy 3:16-17
6 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Psalm 119
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
Isiah 55:11
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

2. Big Results Start Small

Are your students, or even you, going to start by reading entire chapters of the Bible all at once? Maybe not. There are many examples I can quickly think of that big results start small.
  • Apple - in 1977 Apple first started. But it wasn't until 1997 we started to really hear about Apple. It wasn't until 2018 that Apple became a trillion-dollar company. They started really small then worked their way larger. How many of you are reading this on your iPhone?
  • My waist size - sadly this is true. I have been gaining weight like crazy since moving to Alabama a little over three years ago. I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and he said, "wow Jake you are growing nicely." Great doctor huh?! But really? Did I just wake up with all this "extra" on me? No way. It happened one BigMac at a time.
  • CrossFit - This is really going to shock you! I coach CrossFit once a week at CrossFit Alabaster. What if I took a brand new athlete who came into the gym and had her lift 150 pounds 50 times? One, he might not be able to do it. Two, do you think he might get hurt? Sure thing! I would start him on a much smaller weight for a period of time to get good form. Then increase the weight over time. 
  • Tsunamis - They start small... right?
  • What other ideas can you think of?

Big lasting changes start really small. Don't fret if you can't do it all at once. Just start today. 

Wake Up: Rediscovering A Passion for God and the Bible [Student Edition] is a 31-day devotional experience designed to unlock the Bible for teenage Christ-followers.


3 - Have a Plan

Andy Blanks in his book, The 7 Best Practices For Teaching Teenagers The Bible, he shares about how the Hoover Dam was planned. The plan was over 100 pages long and took 1,000's of workers over three years to build. Imagine if they just started to build the Hoover Dam without a plan. That would be crazy. 
It would be crazy to expect your students to read their Bible without helping them with a plan.
  • Know where you want to go - using resources like WAKE UP are great places to start.
  • Get as detailed as possible - don't just wing this. Make a plan and try to make it detailed. Something like, "we are going to read XYZ passage twice this week."
  • Share that vision - over and over again. Share your vision for your students to be in the Word of God. Share it verbally, visually in your youth room, in emails with parents, on Social Media. Remember the old chant at during the reveal of Extreme Home Makeover? MOVE THAT BUS! Well... SHARE THAT VISION

4 - Embrace the Power of Groups

Have you ever been in a group with like-minded individuals? Maybe a sports team? Or a small group Bible study? Sure you have. There is something magnificent about being in a group. It is motivating knowing you aren't the only one going through or attempting something.
It is wonderful that most youth ministries have groups built into the fiber of our ministries. To list a few:
  • Sunday School / Bible Studies
  • Discipleship Groups (DGroups)
  • Small Groups
Why are groups effective? Take a moment to think why groups have been so powerful in your life.

    5 - Teach Multiple Access Strategies

    This sounds super sophisticated. Who said youth workers can't be sophisticated. Simply put, don't put all your eggs in one basket. We know from experience, and from that college class, that not all people learn the same way. Create and allow for many on-ramps in your youth ministry for students to read the Word of God.

    6 - Accountability

    If I wanted to run a 5k in three months the best way for me to begin my journey would be... what? Well, yes, of course, it would be to actually start running. But I submit to you that even before that I would share my plan with someone else. Why would I do this? Yep! Because I would have ACCOUNTABILITY.
    The same is true with reading the Bible. What if I connected with Sean after Youth Group this Wednesday night and said to Sean, "I have a challenge for you. Want to take it?" And he said, "yes!" I told him that I was going to read John 1:1 one time this week and I wanted to see if he would do it with me. I ask Sean to text me or DM the Youth Group IG account when he has read it this week. A few days go by and I hear nothing from Sean. What if I reached out to him and said, "Yo Sean! How's it going with John 1:1?" Do you think Sean would blow me off? I think not! He would read John 1:1 and message me back. Why? The power of Accountability.

    7 - Leverage Tech and Creativity

    Do not be afraid of technology or creativity in this area. Books, Social Media, Apps, Postcards, Flash Cards, Don’t be afraid of this one. 
    You are making a difference in the lives of students.
    Your calling is noble.
    It is necessary.
    Do Not Grow Weary.
    You ARE making a difference.
    This post was written by Jake Rasmussen but the idea and outline came from Andy Blanks.

     Andy and Jake talk more about these tips in the video below!

    Or listen on the go with our podcast

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