Barna released their Year in Review recently that reported only 19% of Americans are what you call “engaged” in the Bible, meaning they read it at least 4 times a week & believe it to be the actual & inspired Word of God. No wonder the American church is spiritually anemic! Good news is, it can turn around TODAY.
As we enter another new year, we’ve been thinking of ways to get the kids we shepherd (our own as well as SS class & Wed night small group teens) to not be overwhelmed or discouraged in their Bible reading. We all know, if you don’t have some kind of a plan, it won’t happen. The BEST thing we can do for these kids is get them into the Word. So…we looked for a flexible plan. Here’s what we found.
Note: We didn’t create this. The person who did put it on as a freebie but super complicated to share format, so I just made it a link here to simplify. To give credit, here’s the original link if you’d like to get it that way.
This plan is great for a few reasons. First of all, you can start wherever you want & go wherever you want in Scripture rather than feel like you have to start in Genesis & get bogged down in the Pentateuch (again). You can start on January 1st or 10th or March even. You won’t get frustrated by “being behind” or “reading ahead”. If you hear a Scripture mentioned in a sermon or class & want to go home & dig further, DO IT. Mark it. Then as the year goes on, you can see the parts you’ve not hit & get busy reading those gems! It may take three years (if you read one chapter a day) or you may “binge read” & get all the prophets read through in two weeks. Doesn’t matter. Just don’t neglect those letters from Paul or Psalms. They are ALL important!! “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
Keith likes that this plan has a prayer printed right on the sheet to remind you to start & finish by talking with your Father. This is not just another item to check off the list & get puffed up about. This is a relationship you are building.
If you read as a family, you could mark those boxes in one color & your personal reading in another. This way you can keep track of what you’re doing all in one place! Nice.
So, print it out (we copied it front & back so it’s on one sheet & tri-folded it to make a bookmark) & hand it out to those you shepherd. We think our kids will be encouraged as they see those boxes get colored in over time & actually see how much of the Word they’ve read. And we’ve already been able to pull it out to show the kids in SS how much we’ve read so it gives all of us accountably as well as an opportunity for them to see this is a life long pursuit. It is exciting & fun! It is VITAL. It is the most beautiful, amazing, & life-giving Book. Encouraging you to set those you shepherd on the personal God-seeking journey early & JOIN THEM. : ]
PS – We also encourage the kids to listen on their iPods. It does speak to you differently when you hear it vs. when you read it. Some people have a harder time reading & get so caught up in the letters they miss the message. Even if that’s not you, it is interesting to see what jumps out when you hear bigger portions while you are on a jog or washing dishes. It is worth doing if you’ve never tried it before. Here’s a link to a few free ones: ESV New Testament, KJV & ESV complete Bible, or listen on line here to the entire NLT Bible. That’s just what I found in a quick search.
Leaving you with an oldie but oft forgotten goodie that every preschooler I’ve ever taught has loved to sing way too many times. (If you teach your littles this song, just be sure you explain the whole grow & shrink spiritually thing to them. They’ll take it literally otherwise!) May the Lord richly bless the reading & hearing of His Word in 2015!