If you missed Part I of this series, you can read it here.
A 2018 study revealed that 45% of students never read the Bible, largely in part because they don’t know where to start.
While the numbers are startling, the fact is that we as youth workers have a responsibility to bring our discipleship efforts to a new level by refocusing our foundation on Bible engagement. In this series, we’re looking at this through the lens of bicycles (stay with us), and how learning to ride a bike isn’t as different from learning to read the Bible as we may think.
Here are three reasons why:
- It starts with commitment
- It grows with community
- It sticks with consistency
This week, we’ll look at how Bible engagement grows with community.
It grows with community.
Picture this: A four year old is sitting in the driveway, playing with friends. You walk up to him with a bicycle in your hands and begin a conversation. “Have you ever ridden a bike before?” You ask, and he replies “No, I haven’t but I’ve heard they’re important, and I’d like to learn.” You agree, and launch immediately into a discourse on the importance of riding a bike, the power of said bicycle, how mastering this practice will set him on a path toward success, and how it would be in his best interest to start learning how to ride the bike immediately. Wide-eyed, he nods, and urgently stands up to begin.
And then you set the bike down and walk away.
As you’re picturing this situation, you might be laughing. You’d never do this. Abandon a child who wants to learn how to ride a bike? Ridiculous. Except we do this with students and the Bible all the time. We preach its mighty, all-powerful, life-altering importance and we leave students alone to figure it out on their own, with little guidance. We set the bike (or Bible) down and we walk away.
You might say – well, I try, I tell them every week, but it doesn’t work. As leaders, when we expect something from those we lead, we should be prepared to set them up to win at that task in every way we can. When teaching and traveling through the Bible becomes a foundation of your group, and when support and encouragement become the norm, students will be more likely to be brave enough to reach their feet up and touch the pedals, knowing if they get scared they have the ground – or their leaders and small group members – to fall back on.
When asked “What works when it comes to reading the Bible?” students overwhelmingly brought up answers like “accountability” and “It helps to be able to read with someone.” Personal commitment to Bible engagement should be reinforced with support and encouragement in a small group – from community. A place for growth, for honesty, for guidance, for celebrating wins and giving grace for losses. A safe place to process Scripture and move forward closer to Jesus. A place to know they’re not alone.
How are you structuring your group time to provide space for students to talk about what they’re reading (both what is interesting and what is challenging) throughout the week?
In Part III, we’ll explore how we can establish this even further with personal commitment. In the meantime, scroll down to grab a sample pack of Soul Exercises – a curriculum specifically designed to help students commit and keep going in the Bible!