One of the goals of a Bible class for teens should be to encourage kids and teens to read the Bible independently. You may be unsure how to encourage them when you only have them in your Bible class once a week. Or maybe you have tried to give rewards for Bible reading with little success.
There are a few things you can do that are more likely to encourage students to read their Bibles outside of class.
- Start class with a question. Most students want to participate in class discussions, even if they don’t always talk. Try spending the first five minutes of class asking everyone to share the most interesting, inspiring or helpful thing they read in the Bible this week. Be prepared to share your own incites the first few weeks. Try to read passages you know might intrigue your students and encourage them to read those passages and find some new ones.
- End class with a challenge. Give students a challenge at the end of each class that will encourage them to open their Bibles independently. It may be to read a scripture you didn’t have time for in class or to prepare for the next class. Often the best challenges ask students to find something in the Bible that answers a quest like, “Find a Proverb you think everyone in your school needs to know.” Or “Find a Psalm that would comfort you if you were worried.” These types of questions encourage students to engage personally with what they are reading, rather than just an academic exercise.
- Provide a platform. Set aside five minutes each class for a student or pair of students to do a sort of advertisement for reading a particular passage of scripture. This won’t appeal to every student, but those who are artistic, creative or have the gift of teaching might really enjoy this challenge. You may want to consider having students video their suggestions and share them on Facebook or some other platform to encourage other members of the congregation to read the Bible.
- Offer special study times. Many young people crave adult attention. They might enjoy an opportunity for a smaller group study for those willing to read certain passages. Even if they don’t keep up with the reading, it gives you another opportunity to teach them from God’s Words.
Taking the extra time and effort to encourage Young people to read the Bible independently is one of the best gifts you can give your Bible students. You may have to try several different things to reach all of your students, but your enthusiasm and tenacity will reinforce how critical you think Bible study is to life.