At some point in my life I heard this little song. "Read your Bible, pray ever day and you'll grow, grow, grow. To be honest I hate it.
I know there is truth to the lyric, but it seems way to simplified to me. In my life a + b does not always = c.
For me to grow it is essential that I give attention to God's Word. It seems like "following Jesus 101" but sometimes it's hard to follow through. I fight daily to spend time meditating and praying through scripture. It is life to my soul.
Imagine what it's like for students. They are busier than I am, in school and usually find the Bible boring. Our goal over the last months has been to motivate and inspire students to love the Word AND to motivate them without having them read their Bibles out of moralistic obligation.
It's been difficult, but we're making good progress.
You see, over the last year we've learned that very few of our students spend any time in the Word. Without the constant flow of truth over their hearts and minds they're sitting ducks in a world that constantly pumps lies into their minds.
Sure, they hear good teaching relatively consistently, but that's not enough. My good friend David McNeely says when we just listen to others teach the Word it's like allowing someone else to chew up a great steak and spit it in your mouth. That's not really ideal.
So how do we inspire students to long for time in the Word? Here's what we've done so far. Please, please, please give input. Our ministry is on a journey that's not finished.
1. Emphasize the Bible in discipleship groups
Our 10:24 groups are reading curriculum that gives students understanding of the Bible as a whole. Their also reading a chapter a day and discussing it in their small groups.
2. Focus on the Word on fall retreats
We just got back from our fall retreat. The major teaching was on the power of the Word and why we should spend time reading it. We were careful to say God isn't mad when we don't read it but longs for us to know him.
3. Give students space to actually read the Bible
On the retreat we gave students a lot of time to read and study their Bible. We took two mornings and read through, studied, and discussed the book of Habakkuk. Believe it not our high school students ate it up.
4. Give student a place to communicate with others what they're experiencing.
I just created a blog called "Letters From God". It's kind of corny but reflects how we communicated God desire for them to absorb the Word to get to know God. Hopefully they will jump on line and share what they're reading, what jumps out, and how God is changing them. No one's commented on the blog yet, we'll see how it goes. Our middle school students simply jumped on facebook and communicated they had read their Bible that day.
What's worked with you to inspire students to love the Word? I would love to steal some ideas.