I want to encourage you to look at the Bible Reading Revolution blog. It is written by John Pearson, who is a great friend, Bible teacher, and member of our church.
At our church we invite people to “discover the difference”. There are many things that we believe make us different, especially when it comes to world missions. However, if their is one thing we would want to be known for is the fact that we are “people of the book”. We encourage our teenagers to be students of the book and desire that everyone of them would have a an exciting devotional life.
I am so excited about the fact that this week we had students we the Bible everyday this week. Many of those students had never read the Bible 7 days in a row before. Many things excite me in youth ministry, such as first time visitors, salvation decisions (of course), seeing them have to serve, and a good attendance in our Bible studies. However, outside of the decision to accept Christ their is nothing that excited me more then seeing them begin to fall in love with the Word of God.
I am certain if they will stay in the Word long enough then it will grab a hold of their heart and they will not be able to imagine life without it’s guidance!
Here are some things I believe contributed to this increase..
1. Provided one month devotional guide. Mark Tolson designed it and provided it for our teens. I like the one month format over the whole year. Often, when people get a 1 year guide they want to wait until the first of the year. I believe Bible reading is like a diet. If it isn’t worth starting today then it is worth starting.
2. My pastor, Austin Gardner, spoke to the students after we gave them their devotional guide. He told them of the impact that reading the Bible at their age made on his life. He prayed with them and told them he looks forward to seeing their books all filled out next month when we meet again.
3. Jeff Bush, missionary to Argentina, preached powerfully to our teenagers on Thursday night. They commented on how exciting his life seemed as a missionary. I know that life on the mission field is tough. However, the students could tell from his passion as he preached that he loved the people their and the life God has given them. He told a story of how when he was their age God called them to the mission field as he was reading in the Bible. We prayed together that our students will not miss out on what God would have for them by ignoring His voice, His Word, His Bible.
4. On Thursday nights we have been teaching through the book of Galatians. I believe it has helped them to see that every verse in the Bible is exciting and can teach us something. When youth pastors only teach from the same 15 references over and over then the students do not realize the Bible is relevant and exciting cover to cover.
I love His Book! As a youth pastor I hear constantly from blogs, magazines, and my peers that I need to be relevant. I have figured out away to make sure I am — by teaching the Bible.