The Tipping Point

There is a constant discussion in youth ministry about how to teach the Bible.   The issue is always how to make it connect with students without compromising the message.  I know that the Bible is the most relevant book that any person will ever read.  The problem is getting people to actually recognize that.

There was an article in Group Magazine last month that really got me thinking.  The article was about students who are not interested in reading the Bible.  It listed a number of reasons for that, from flawed methods, to students who just don’t like to read.  The ones who did seemed to have had an epiphany moment, or a tipping point moment.  It was as if at one point in time the Bible came to life.  It reminds me of that old game where you put the straws in the camel’s back until it falls.  In this case, the truth of God’s Word finally penetrates a heart and stirs up a hunger for more.  This provides some hope for those of us who teach the Bible because it tells us that the Word is making an impression on people now.  It also tells us that God does honor the teaching and hearing of His Word.

It does make me wonder when my tipping point was.  When I first trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I had never actually read the Bible on my own.  I had been to church since I was a born, but as a middle school student I was not very biblically literate.   I could tell you some of the details of many Bible stories.  What I couldn’t do was tell you why it mattered to me.  I knew the big stories, but I did not understand what the grace of God was, or any other theological concept for that matter.

I remember when I picked up my Bible and started reading it for the first time.   I didn’t know where to start, so I started in Revelation.  That was confusing.  I eventually landed on the story of Daniel.  I remember reading it and then reading it again.  I was amazed at the boldness of Daniel.  I remember going to my youth pastor and showing him what I was learning.  I started to get hungry for more and started reading any devotional I could get my hands on.  I began reading entire sections of the Bible and taking notes on what I was learning.  I would read Romans over and over again, trying to make sense of some of the difficult parts.  I would pray and ask God to teach me what it said.  This was happening without any Bible college training.  God was doing something in my life because I was open to Him and His Word.

This is something I long to see happen in our students and families.  The Bible is in many  homes, but it is just not being read as often as it should.  This concerns me because God needs to be listened to for our own good!  Honestly, I think people just assume God is trying to take away fun.  The truth is that God is trying to help us navigate things so that we don’t get hurt.

We all need a tipping point! When would you say yours was? I would love to know is when it was that you started to read the Bible on your own and what God did.   I feel like this is a helpful discussion to have.  If you haven’t really read it yet, what is the hold-up?  Feel free to share your story below and we can maybe help each other as we lean in to hear from the Lord.

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6 comments

  1. I’m not sue when my tipping point was, but it was early. I still struggle at times, but I love God’s Word! I’ve recently begun reading while listening to it read (biblegateway.com). Amazing experience. I am going to use this as a prayer for my students, family, …. Father, give them that epiphany and a hunger for the word. I’m making progress on the prayer front with them, but the Bible is another story. I so want them to see the Scripture as the food and drink it is. Planting seeds. 🙂

    1. When I prepare for a sermon or a lesson for the teens I will often listen to the passage read. I find that it fills in some of the gaps and often highlights things I would have otherwise missed. Also, I appreciate very much your desire to plant seeds. I told my own kids last week during a devotion that when we plant the seeds of God’s Word in our hearts, we know that God will grow that. I would say the same for you. Interesting thing about youth ministry is that we don’t always see the growth now. It is more about progress and less about arriving at a specific spiritual place. (if that makes sense) At any rate, a hunger for the Word is contagious. If you have it, others will want it also.

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