One of the building blocks of a strong faith foundation is a knowledge and understanding of the scriptures in the Bible. We tend to assume that if a child regularly attends worship services and Bible classes until adulthood, they have received a thorough exposure to scripture.
Unfortunately, the reality is far different. Most Bible class curricula cover about 20% of the Bible over the course of their curricula. The same stories are often repeated multiple times under the assumption that increased maturity will enable students to understand the passages better.
There is some validity to that methodology. Unfortunately, unless they are getting a lot of Bible exposure and instruction at home though, that leaves young people with a lot of missing knowledge and understanding of the things God wants them to know.
There are some things you can do to increase the exposure your Bible students get to scripture.
- Help your ministry develop an overall plan for how students will be taught the Bible. Map out what scriptures they are currently exposed to from birth to adulthood. Where are the gaps? Are there ways to expose them to some of those scriptures? Without an overall plan, you have no idea what students are getting and what they aren’t.
- Work with your ministry to develop a priority list. What are the stories and scripture passages that you want to make sure every student is taught while they are in your ministry? With the analysis from the step above, you may find some of them are not currently taught at all by your ministry.
- Encourage parents to read the Bible with their children at home. Talk with individual parents. What are the reasons some of them aren’t studying the Bible with their kids at home? Can you find ways to help them work through these barriers?
- As soon as they can read on a third grade level, find ways to encourage Bible students to read the Bible independently. Make sure they have NIrV Bibles at home, so they can understand what they read. Encourage them to read story heavy books like Mark, Ruth, Acts and others. Older students often appreciate practical books like Proverbs and James. Don’t cause stress by giving them reading plans that attempt to go through the Bible in a year, requiring them to read 2 – 20 chapters a day. Some young people can handle that, but most will get discouraged and quit. It’s better to get them in the habit of reading scripture daily than focusing too much on how much they are reading each day.
- Get the rest of the congregation involved. Adult mentors might want to set up daily calls or texts to discuss with their mentees the Bible reading for the day. Peers may want to do something similar. The entire congregation may want to encourage each other to read the Bible for a specific number of minutes a day or read the same scriptures for a period of time. When young people are surrounded by people passionate about reading the Bible, many will catch that enthusiasm.
- Create special opportunities to study more scripture. Coffee shop or park small groups may form to study a book currently not covered by the curricula. Many places have an activity everyone in the group likes to do – like running. They study the Bible and then go on a run together. The important thing is to give Bible students other opportunities to have guided Bible study in ways they will find interesting or appealing.
If your Bible students aren’t exposed to enough scripture, they will have problems living the lives God wants them to live. It’s worth taking the time and effort to make sure they are studying as much of the Bible as possible.