When it comes to Youth Ministry a lot of focus can go into the Friday and we can lose sight of what happens during the week. This however can mean that our young people do very little to pursue their relationship with God on a daily basis.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Our Youth Ministry goal isn’t to have people at youth on a Friday night, but we want to make followers of Jesus, so when they finish youth, graduate and go to work or uni or family and life really starts, they will still be a follower of Jesus. So how do we get our teenagers reading their bible?
Young people aren’t conditioned to read their bible daily. For a teenager who comes to Youth and gives their life to Jesus this is going to be a foreign concept. So we need to be intentional in how we introduce this to them and encourage them that this can be an awesome thing in their lives and for churched kids this can be something that they need to.
Reading the bible:
Step 1 – In your Hangtime Group give everyone a bible.
- Make sure everyone in your group has a bible. Yes they can just download it, but there is something significant and precious about a teenager owning a paper bible. It gives them a sense of ownership of the word and also means the bible is separate from their phone that can be a hinderance to them.
- If you know they already have a paper bible then encourage them to bring it with them next time.
Step 2 – Read a book of the bible together
- Mention that, “we’re starting a new thing in our hangtime” Think about what book of the bible you want them to read and then in the group ask them what they would be interested in reading. It is great to guide them towards what book to read as you can really hit what you know they need, however empowering them to make a decision as a group as to what to read will give them ownership of the idea and leave them more dedicated to see this through. If they want to read something other than what you suggested, if it is still good then accept it and read what they want to read.
- For a group of guys perhaps read the manly stories in the bible, include stories with a bit of gore and it might help them see its not just a love story. Also guys tend to have short attention spans so a devotional style reading may be better so that the reading is fast paced and doesn’t allow their mind to wonder.
- Ask them how much they can read a day. Set a goal to reach each day, make sure that as a group it is a goal that is easily achievable so as not to leave them discouraged by day one. But by setting how much to read each day it gives them something to reach for.
- Once you have setup this bible reading plan as a group you now have license to bring it up every hangtime. You can talk to them comfortably and regularly about how their bible reading is going.
Step 3 – Give them a notebook
- This is so important because by giving them a notebook this teaches our young people to create a space for God to speak to them.
” Then the Lord replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.””
- If you have a group of girls then get them some nice Kmart journals to write in, make them proud to own it and write in it. The small investment is worth it.
- If you have a group of guys then don’t call it a journal, just a notebook. Give them notebooks that look manly. Send them a photo in a group message of you doing your devotion time, it will help them see that real men do this.
Step 4 – Every hangtime ask them how it is going.
- Don’t allow the bible to be something that goes unspoken about. Bring it up in normal conversation with them. Use points of conversation like
“I loved reading psalms this week, how has your quiet time been going this week?”or “I got so much out that story of David and Goliath, how’d you find it?”
- Also to encourage this conversation it is a great idea to tee up a committed Christian teenager in your group and let them know you’ll be asking, so that they are the first to answer and guide the conversation down a great path.
Step 5 – Ask them, “what has God been speaking to you about?”
- This can be quite a personal question to ask but we shouldn’t shy away from it. When you are following up and chatting with young people from your group ask them this question. If they have an answer then encourage them in that, get excited about it, even ask them if they would share it in the next hangtime group.
- If they don’t have an answer then share with them what you have been hearing from God and how it is helping you. Show them the benefits of taking time to listen to what God has to say to them.
- We need to establish a precedent that we will keep asking this question because it is important for them in their walk with God.
And finally make sure that you excel in your own God time.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
Let us not be a youth leadership that excels in public leadership, but lacks in private devotion. We need to excel in our own personal devotion time with God and become more like Jesus. We need to be able to learn from Christ and grow ourselves, so we can show our teenagers how to as well.