A Saturday afternoon, nearly 100 teenagers, and God’s Word…
Recently, I was invited to share ways for Digging Deeper into Scripture with a group of 7th through 12th graders at their annual youth retreat.
This was new territory! I have conducted workshops on the topic several times with adult women and shared an age-appropriate version of the workshops with children. However, up to this point I had never presented the material to a group of teens.
It was time to see what 7th through 12th graders could do!
Almost half of the retreat participants attended the workshop which was itself a little mind-blowing since some of their others options were activities such as paintball and dodge ball. (Yes, I know, some of them came to the workshop just to keep from getting pelted with things that hurt. And some came simply to sit, draw, and socialize with their friends.) But, no matter the reason, they were present, they heard, they were exposed.
And some will take what they learned back home, implement it, and possibly share it with others!
One of the amazing things about these methods for Digging Deeper into Scripture (Verse Mapping, Praying Scripture in Color, Scripture Journaling, and others) is that anyone of any age can do them.
I love to think of an entire family mapping the same verse or journaling it over the course of a week and then coming together to share. Can you imagine what insight could be gained into a portion of Scripture by hearing what a six-year-old has to say after spending a week with it? Or what a ten-year-old could learn from discussions over Scripture with their parents?
What if just one of the retreat workshop participants —
- shares with a younger sibling?
- shares with a parent?
- shares with a friend?
Perhaps that one teen will be instrumental in helping to reverse current trends among their peers.
- About a third of teens believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life (35%). This is a statistically significant drop in six percentage points since 2015.
- One in four teens say they read the Bible at least once a week (25%); this includes 3% who report daily Bible reading, 11% who report reading Scripture several times per week and 11% who read it once a week.
- One in 10 read the Bible once a month (9%), and an additional 1 in 10 report reading the Bible three or four times a year (10%).
- Among teens, the most common frustration with reading the Bible is that the language is difficult to relate to (21%).
- Among those that read the Bible within the past week, about a third say they gave a lot of thought to how it might apply to their life (34%).
- Three in ten teens know that the name of John the Baptist’s mother was Elizabeth (31%).
- Teens have somewhat more success naming Solomon as King David’s son; just under half of teens correctly identify him (46%).
- Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
This research was conducted among U.S. teens ages 13-17 and released in May 2016. It was commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted by Barna Group. For the complete report see: State of the Bible 2016: Teens.