The other day I got an email advertisement from one of the leading youth worker websites. This site creates, and sells, products for youth pastors to use, from curriculum to fun and games. Sometimes the curriculum looks like fun and games, and I wonder where the teaching is. Are youth pastors who focus on activities and games really pastoring the youth entrusted to their care?
As I was saying. This email ad landed in my inbox and the large text at the top of the ad told me these resources would help me get my students into God’s Word. The heading actually read.
GET YOUR STUDENTS INTO GOD’S WORD
The top product being pushed under that headline was this.
Now admittedly, I only have four years experience as an unpaid youth pastor in a small rural community. I love the youth at our church though, and I certainly want God’s best for them. I feel strongly that they should be reading and studying their Bibles. I try to instill that discipline in their lives every chance I get.
I just don’t think one minute will cut it. You could argue that one minute is better than none, and that may be true on some level. My concern with a product like this is that it sends a message to the youth that the Bible is inconsequential, you can get “enough” of it in your life if you spend one minute a day reading it.
To be fair, the website for this product does offer this thought.
These bite-size servings of Scripture are sure to increase your appetite for God’s Word.
Are they? Is anyone using this product to successfully inspire their youth to read Scripture for themselves? It seems to me that actually reading the Bible, and explaining it, to students would be the better choice.
I spent most of the school year, until my daughter was born in April, meeting with a group of young people at our church every weekday morning to read the Bible before school. Nothing intense, just coffee and a couple chapters read aloud among friends. It was a great way to start the day. Over the course of the year we read Isaiah, Joshua, Judges, Revelation, and Job. The youth picked the books. I just showed up and made coffee, and we prayed together and read together. Sometimes it was only one chapter and then we’d talk about it. Sometimes it was 2-3 chapters and we’d talk about it. I got a lot out of it, and I think they did too.
On the flip side, we’re currently studying through Colossians on Wednesday nights and this coming week we’re going to spend an hour looking at one verse. I’m trying to show them the value of reading and studying, which are two very different things.
If you can demonstrate for them that the Bible has concrete answers to the tough questions they have, they will turn to the Scripture in a real way. If, on the other hand, all you’ve done is play games and activities with them, I can see how they would not be reading their Bibles. You haven’t demonstrated it’s value and usefulness to them.
Maybe I’m wrong, I certainly haven’t done it perfectly. I know some of the youth in our church don’t read their Bible daily. All I’m saying is that I have yet to find a curriculum for teaching youth, that I thought did a reasonably good job of teaching the Bible, and teaching them to treasure it. That’s why I abandoned canned curriculum in favor of expository teaching about a year into this.
I don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning. But I don’t think the One Minute Bible is something I’ll be encouraging my students to embrace. How about you?