I just got done reading Andy Blanks’ The 7 Best Practices For Teaching Teenagers The Bible. As someone who doesn’t have a seminarian background I’ve found it intimidating over the years learning how to incorporate scripture into my messages and small group curriculum. Even if you have been to seminary or studied theology I’m sure you know learning scripture is a lot different from teaching it. But, one of the responsibilities that comes with youth ministry is teaching the Bible; however, what about your volunteers?
Have you ever thought about their comfort level with scripture? Do any of them have experience outside of personal use? Most of them probably joined your ministry thinking, “I just want to spend time with the teens.” When you tell them to teach scripture I’m sure many of them are thinking, “Wait, what? I’m no expert.”
That’s why this book is helpful. For those of us in full time ministry it’s a refresher and a chance to refocus on the basics of one of the essential spiritual habits. But, for our ministers it’s a chance for them to build confidence and a solid foundation when it comes to growing disciples.
There are many things I love about the book; however, two things stand out:
- It’s A Quick Read – The book moves quickly because of the variety of story, exercise and application. While there are moments to pause, reflect and go deeper, it’s really a book that’s easy to navigate through. I’ve found many books on practical ministry overwritten that drag on, but this one gets right to the point. Because it’s a quick read, I’m not worried about giving this out to my team to read. I’m a book junky, not everyone is; but, this one is definitely worth the time.
- It’s Filled With Concrete Application – At times the book encourages you to stop, reflect and even try some of the practices out. It’s not the first book that does this; however, it’s done in a way that’s clear and easy. Whether you are reading the book on your own or with your team, you can definitely use the exercises to build confidence.
Again, this book is a quick read and it’s broken down just as the title suggest, 7 Best Practices. They are:
Best Practice #1 – Engaging With God
Best Practice #2 – Prepare Well, Teach Well
Best Practice #3 – Context Is Key
Best Practice #4 – Embrace Unpredictability
Best Practice #5 – Plan For Interaction
Best Practice #6 – Teach For Application
Best Practice #7 – Know Your Role
My big takeaway from reading this book is the fact that I need to spend more time looking at scripture instead of just reciting and retyping it. As Andy puts it:
To be an effective Bible teacher, you must regularly seek to know God by engaging with Him through His Word.
There have been weeks where I’ve gone preaching God’s word to students; yet, struggled to embrace His word for my life. This book was a reminder that if we are investing in teens, we need to be invested in God’s plan for us, otherwise you have to wonder, “What am I doing in ministry?” As a youth minister I greatly appreciate the love and encouragement poured into this book.
As great as this book is for youth ministers, I would strongly recommend it for any volunteer in your ministry that has fellowship or discipleship role with a student. This will take the edge out of teaching scripture, give them some practical tools and show them how to go deeper. So if you get a chance, head over to ym360.com to learn more.
Which of the 7 Best Practices are you best at doing? Which one do you need to revisit?