Friday, January 14, 2011

4 Tips on getting teenagers to read the Bible

Kate* came to faith when she was 15yo, her family wasn't Christian and Kate had never been to church before coming to Christ through an evangelistic rally. She came to the rally because she had some friends who invited her and they loved Jesus. Kate started coming regularly to church and she loved it and got involved in the worship team. She would say that she loves Jesus but doesn't read the Bible. She doesn't know how to! She has no idea where to start, she doesn't understand the language or the stories and how it relates to her now! What helped Kate move forward?

A few things that helped Kate:
  • Someone invested into her spiritually
  •  Someone shared a devotional style of Bible engagement that worked for her
  • She met with friends who shared an accountable relationship
  • She wanted to grow
1. Someone invested in her spiritually.

 Kate was 15 when she came to know Christ as Lord and Saviour. She hadn't grown up in the church, she never went to Sunday School, she didn't attend a school that taught RE. If Kate had been left to her own devises, to her own spiritual growth, and learning she may not have got very far. But an older, more mature woman came alongside her and spent regular time with her, walking through the Bible, its stories, its meaning and helped her to understand. Yes it took time, it took patience and perseverance for the mature Christian woman – but the fruit was worth it!

If you are a parent and you are watching your teenager switch off and struggle to understand the Bible, see if you can help or encourage them to find a Spiritual mentor, someone who will invest in them and their walk with Jesus. It might be you as a parent, but probably not, pray for God to lead your teenager to someone who can invest in them spiritually – it might be one-on-one or it might be in a small group.

If you are a youth leader or worker, consider investing intentionally into one or two people for dedicated discipleship and spiritual growth, ask God to lead you to the person to invest in. You don't need to be perfect, or have everything all together (none of us do), we just need to be willing to lead people into a closer relationship with Jesus. Don't know where to start? There are so many resources available at Christian bookstores, or you could just start with Milk to Meat!

2.  Someone shared a devotional style of Bible engagement that worked for her

A few years after her initial discipleship time, Kate began to struggle again with her Bible reading and engagement. Kate would often sit down to read the Bible and just pray that God would show her something, then fling the Bible open and see what page it landed on, then proceed to read from that page for the day. A bit random but that was all Kate knew, she tried many different devotionals, and tools but none really clicked. Until one morning someone shared the S.O.A.P. method with her (also known as Journaling), this revolutionised her devotional time, her connection with God and her Bible engagement. Kate hasn't looked back since.

There are so many devotionals and resources available, but we are all created and wired differently, why not give a few things a go and see what works. Some teenagers enjoy reading and some don't, there are written Bibles in book form, electronic form and even Bibles that you can add into your mobile or iPod. Some teenager enjoy connecting with God's Word creatively – encourage that! Maybe they have read a verse that has impacted them and they enjoy painting – buy them a canvas and get them to engage that Scripture creatively.

3. Kate met with friends who shared an accountable relationship

Kate started meeting with a couple of friends her age in an Accountability Group, her church provided the outline, idea and questions they could ask each other. One of the questions was about her Bible engagement, how often was she reading the Bible, and how did she hear from God this week. Kate shared that being asked these questions each week really encouraged her to read each week. It was especially helpful that she was in an Accountability group with her friends and people she loved and respected.

Accountability groups can be really helpful, to lots of areas of our lives. If you are interested in the type of questions you can ask within an accountability group there are some resources online and at

4. Kate wanted to grow

Kate wanted to grow in her relationship with God, she wanted to know more, she desired to be changed by Him. Her hunger for the Word grew, her hunger for God grew, to connect with Him and be led by Him in each and every day.

If your teenager isn't interested, isn't wanting to grow, isn't wanting to change, isn't wanting to connect with God. Then it's a difficult battle – the best advice here – is pray, pray, pray!!! And after that seek those little opportunities to share with them about God and continue to keep the door open cause one day, they may just turn around and surprise you.

* Name changed

How can we help you?

Milk to Meat is committed to Bible Engagement! We would love to pray for you and your teenagers, if you'd like to share your prayer request, please comment or join our Facebook group 'Milk to Meat Bible Engagement'

For more tools, resources and articles go to

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