This content was adapted from a teaching session by BSSM Third Year Overseer, Jared Neusch, which has been included at the bottom of this post.
One of the most important things you can do as a school leader is help your students develop a passion and love for the Word of God! The Bible is the source of absolute truth; it is a light that guides us through even the darkest times. Helping your students love the Word is a gift that will keep giving to them for their rest of their lives.
Falling in love with the Word is ultimately about falling in love with the Author! Indeed, we don’t read Scripture to merely obtain information, but to encounter Jesus, know His nature, and be fed by His Spirit.
In this post, we want to share three ways you can encourage your students to get in the Word and fall more deeply in love with the God who wrote it!
1. Break Up with Shame
When you are leading your school, you may encounter students who experience shame or guilt regarding the Bible. They may feel they are not smart enough, not disciplined enough, or not passionate enough to really engage with the Word. Even for those who regularly read their Bibles, it can be easy for them to feel like they’re not measuring up to their own preconceived expectations. Conclusions of “there’s something wrong with me” or “maybe the Bible just isn’t for me” can be easily reached and lead students down a path of disconnection from God’s Word.
We have good news: God wants to bring freedom to this area! He wants to give students a new paradigm to approach the Bible with truth and love. As a leader, you can help your students understand that God is not mad or disappointed in them, which will free them from the bondage of shame and condemnation. God’s love for us is not based on our performance or works; it’s based upon His work on the cross. We are perfectly loved no matter how much we read our Bibles–a truth many students need to hear and receive.
What we are not saying is, “You don’t need to feel bad, just don’t read the Bible.” Conversely, what we want to communicate is, “Don’t let guilt or shame lead you to the Scripture.” God wants to lead students to the Word through love and joy! As Jared Neusch says, “The Bible is fun enough where God doesn’t need to use guilt and shame to drive us there.”
2. Inspire Vision
Once your students break up with shame, it’s time for them to get a vision for what their lives could look like immersed in the Word of God. This is where you as a leader get to come in and inspire vision in their lives, helping them see their potential to grasp God’s Word.
One way to inspire this vision is by asking questions that will help students realize what unique ways they are called to engage with the Bible. Here are some questions to help get you started:
- Are you passionate about art, music, or perhaps food? What if you combined your time in the Word with a creative expression like painting, singing, or cooking?
- What do you need to do to get the most out of Scripture? Is it reading early in the morning with coffee, or reading late at night with music?
- Would it be better to read inside in a quiet room? Or would you benefit from the energy of a crowded coffee shop?
By asking these questions, you will help your students think outside the box and discover ways to interact with the Bible that will feed their souls. Remember, no two people are made to interact with God in the same way, and the same is true for His Word. Inspire students to think creatively and engage with the Bible in a way that is unique to them.
3. Challenge and Activate
Now that they’ve broken up with shame and have a vision for how they are uniquely called to interact with God’s Word, it’s time to challenge and activate your students! What are some fun goals that you could set as a school for reading the Word? You could even do a contest for “most creative expression” so students are motivated to think outside the box and try new things.
Remember, students learn the most when they put into action what has been taught, so be sure to think of fun ways to challenge your students to make joyful changes in their lives and discover new, life-giving ways to read the Bible!
Note: the full-length version of this video will be included in BSSM Equip, an upcoming platform for BSSM Video Curriculum.