Tag Archives: shepherding

Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day

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.

Bible Reading Checklist-2015  

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!

Bringing Up the Next Generation

Yeah! It looks like Dr. Dobson will be finishing up the long awaited sequel “Bringing Up Girls” in 2009. We so appreciated his book on boys; it will be interesting to see what he has for the girls. In his monthly letter, he says when he wrote Boys eight years ago, he was convinced the boy issues in this century were of greater concern than girls. Since researching over the last few years, he can now say that girls today face every bit as much trouble as boys. Parenting in this generation demands home spiritual training. We can’t rely on the schools (even Christian ones), church, youth group, etc. to do it.

Interestingly, an article for pastors this month from the Focus Magazine goes hand in hand…

“We’re in a situation like Israel’s Judges 2:10. ‘After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord, nor what He had done for Israel.’ We may be facing a similar danger today if churches are not able to engage parents in the spiritual training of their children. Consider the following decline among each successive generation, noted by Thom Rainer in his book, The Bridger Generation:

Builder Generation (born 1927-1945) – 65% are evangelical Christians
Boomers (born 1946-1964) – 35% are evangelical Christians
Generation X (born 1965-1976) – 16% are evangelical Christians
Bridgers (born 1977-1994) – 4% estimated to be evangelical Christians

Pastors, this is the future of the church. It’s time to think not only about where your church will be in the next year or five years, but also where it’s going to be in 50 to 100 years. Start assessing how your church can better minister to families and influence their future for Christ. You have to do something different from what you’ve been doing if you want to see young people walk in the purpose & plans of God throughout their entire lives…

Pastors & church leaders have to start training their congregants to pass their faith to the next generation, creating a cycle of faith-building through the strongest relationships in the home… Your church’s role is to build families for Christ’s kingdom, to help marriages thrive and stay strong, to create mentoring relationships within the body, to train the adults so they can train their kids in the faith.

If pastors & churches start seeing their roles as a partner to families for the future faith of the youngest generations, then they can reverse the trend of declining faith in America. – Chris Abeyta, director of Church outreach at Focus on the Family

Amen!! My parents started preaching this years ago. We have got to train parents how to train up their children spiritually. The church has got to see it’s role as shepherding partners with the parents instead of parents thinking their children’s spiritual food will all come from the church. It doesn’t work that way.

Dobson finished his letter asking for prayer as he works to finish this latest book. Join me will you?


PS – April 13, 2010 was the release of this book. For more info, go here.