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When I’m speaking in front of a room full of teenagers I notice one big gaping hole. Many of them do not have Bibles in front of them. It’s hard to teach from scripture and talk about God’s word when no one else is looking at it. This used to be a problem that we might have overlooked; however, recently it’s occurred to me that it’s not as simple as apathy. There are a few reasons as to why your teens aren’t reading the Bible, and if not approached nothing in their lives will change.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that studying scripture is an important part of one’s faith formation. Your teens probably understand it’s importance; however, they can’t get through some simple obstacles. So, why are your teens not reading the Bible? Maybe it’s because:
- They Don’t Have One: If your ministry is for unchurched teens, chances are many of them do not have a Bible. If they do it’s the very old and large family Bible that their parent’s got when they were married. Simple tip is to provide Bibles for your teens and have them available each week. If you notice a teen continuously going to your Bible rack ask them if they have a copy. If they don’t have one help them figure out where they can pick one up.
- They Don’t See Yours: If you and your leaders aren’t bringing Bibles then why should the teens? Carrying around a Bible isn’t exactly like wearing a watch, people will notice. Your teenagers are already trying to fit in; therefore, if you or your leaders aren’t holding and reading one, then they won’t either. Encourage your adult AND your student leaders to bring their Bibles to large and small group. Let it be a part of the culture.
- They Can’t Figure It Out: Reading the Bible for the first time can be like navigating through Shakespeare. If you don’t understand it’s context or content then it might not make much sense. In your messages and small group activities their should be a small blurb on where they can find certain books and passages. Don’t assume that when you say Leviticus 2:11 that every teens is going to know where (Or even what) it is. Find moments in your ministry to help them navigate through it.
The Bible can be intimidating and that’s because it’s a powerful tool. It’s God’s love letter and your teens need to read it. A friend of mine, Andy Blanks recently wrote a book The 7 Best Practices For Teaching Teenagers The Bible with excellent steps on how to teach your teens the Bible, check it out (You can check out my review here). Don’t be afraid to take some time away from the activities, or a few moments from your message to encourage and explain how the Bible will impact them. It’s one of the greatest ways they can connect with God.
How do you encourage Bible reading and scripture study in your ministry?
What are some of the challenges you face?