Getting teenagers to read anything other than social media or the latest hit series like Divergent is a difficult task. In youth ministry it is important that the ministry is biblically founded. Without instilling a strong biblical foundation into the students, their spirituality becomes like a stagnant puddle, there is no growth or depth. The president of the American Bible Society, Doug Birdsall, relates the relationship between the Bible and people to obesity in America. Birdsall says “We have an awful lot of people who realize they’re overweight, but they don’t follow a diet. People realize the Bible has values that would help us in our spiritual health, but they just don’t read it.” Reading the bible is relational, not a habit or study. Youth ministers need to teach their students that the Bible is a way to understand, value, and engage with God.
Youth pastors or leaders may ask “How do we get teenagers to read the Bible more?” but Andy Blanks suggest that this is the wrong question to ask. Blanks believes the right question may be, “What can we do to help teenagers value God more?” Reading the Bible should not be forced onto students or created to feel as homework. Homework only reminds teenagers of school and forceful reading only creates a desire to rebel. Reading the Bible begins with a passion and desire to draw closer to God. The student has to make the choice to study the word individually. Even though youth pastors are not able to make the choice for students, ministers can provide helpful insight on how to read, where to begin, when to read, and scripture explanations.
Youth pastors should provide multiple ways to involve students with the Bible within the ministry. If there is a youth activity occurring at Gray United Methodist Church it involves scripture. We attempt to turn any situation into a chance to share scripture, for example we took eating breakfast at Dairy Queen and turned it into what is now known as prayer breakfast. Prayer breakfast is a time of eating, socializing, and a devotion from students in the youth group. This demonstrates that there is a way to bring God´s word into every situation even ordinary things such as eating breakfast.
In Matthew 7 beginning with verse 24, Jesus says “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Leading students into the scripture will establish a strong foundation that is not easily destroyed. This should be a youth pastors goal. However the teenagers must have a desire to develop a rock solid foundation by engaging in the Word.