Happy Tuesday everyone,
As I stated yesterday today we have 2 different questions, with 2 responses for each. Both questions are focused on Bible studies prepared for youth. I hope you are getting as much from this blog as I am. I love reading the different ideas, advice, and perspectives on these topics. It has greatly helped me rethink some of the way I serve in my ministry.
In just a few hours I will be heading to North Carolina for a spiritual retreat with other youth ministers called Oasis. Check it out at http://www.cbfymn.org/ this is a great organization aimed at connecting youth ministers in the Cooperative Baptist world. I can’t wait to share with you my experience in next week’s blog.
Without further delay here is the first question….
“What are some elements you use in Bible study?”
Josh Beeler is the Associate Pastor of Youth and College and Central Baptist Church of Fountain City in Knoxville, TN. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University and of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Josh is married to his wonderful wife, Sherry, who he enjoys sharing conversation, adventures, and life with. He is ridiculously playful and works daily to maintain his mischievousness. Josh enjoys playing, singing, reading, questioning and laughing with friends.
The words that we craft to help our students here the Bible anew are incredibly important, but we have to find ways to engage their other senses also if we really want those words to take root and develop meaning in their lives.
Perhaps the most common one in our ministry, and in most of our ministries, is technology. Here’s some of the different ways we use technology in our ministry setting:
Powerpoint/Worship Program (Easy Worship, ProPresenter, MediaShout, etc.)
1)We have an announcement slideshow that plays during the mingle time at the beginning before we actually get into the lesson to keep them informed.
2) We use slides to put the words of scripture and questions to sight.
3) Whenever we do a prayer station night, we will run relevant scriptures on constant loop so that, if they find themselves stuck between stations or waiting to get to the next prompt, they can focus on the scripture passage posted and meditate on it instead of just wasting that moment.
1) We play music during the mingle time that is upbeat and fun.
2) We play meditative/reflective songs during prayer activities to engage another sense and to not make them afraid of speaking their words in open air.
1) Sometimes I’ll base a Bible study around the message of a song, and you can find a music (or lyric) video for pretty much any popular song on YouTube.
2) To draw in students from wherever they may be mingling around the room, we will play a funny video we found on YouTube at the beginning of our time together to gather everyone.
There are some AWESOME youth ministry sites that have created tech-based games. For some really cool examples, visit downloadyouthministry.com!
Other than technology, here are some other very meaningful elements to help youth connect with the lesson that we’ve used:
Choose a theme and create 10-15 different prayers to fit within that theme. One prayer might be based on a popular quote from an author. One prayer might require students to light a candle for a cause. One prayer might require them to write out their response. Another might require that they use their body in a particular way: voice their prayer out loud, face a particular direction, look at another person in the room you are praying for, raise your hands as you pray, etc. Ultimately, you want to provide as many different and creative ways for students to engage the lesson being prayed so that one might truly sink in.
A well-chosen game can always serve as an object lesson! There are TONS of books and websites out there that give you ideas, so don’t feel like you have to be a creative wealth of knowledge to think of them. A meaningful game allows students to have fun and learn the lesson in a creative way. If you do this enough, students will start to try and figure out what the game means in relationship to the Bible before you even tell them—trust me!
Church Traditions Communion, Ash Wednesday, Church Calendar lessons—all of these things connect them to the larger purpose and mission of the church. One of the best things you can do for your students is to show them how to be Christian after youth group. Engage them in Church practices and your church’s mission projects. As a student, it is incredibly meaningful to be considered as an adult.
Adam Standiford serves as Minister with Youth at Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, KY. He and his wife are both students at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. He will graduate in 2015 with an emphasis in Pastoral Care and Counseling. His ministerial interests include pastoral counseling, spiritual formation, and youth/college ministry.
Though I may decide to mix things up on certain weeks, more often than not I prefer to use these three elements in Bible study: exposure, dialogue, and reflection.
Exposure happens when students are presented with several opinions, perspectives, or stories related to the topic or study that you are exploring with the youth. Being aware that there is more than one way of thinking about a text or concept, youth are encouraged to listen to other viewpoints, become more aware about themselves, and be creative about expressing their own beliefs and experiences with God to others who have seen God differently.
From that information, we move into dialogue. Dialogue should be an opportunity for the youth to communicate their own understandings and to seek clarification on what might still be hazy. Seeking dialogue helps youth to understand perspectives more clearly, which hopefully yields youth who are more respectful in their living and witness. One of the blessings of dialogue are the moments where youth will come to a revelation about a text or topic that is such an awesome gift to everyone in the room. For these moments, thanks be to God.
Finally, reflection is a chance for the youth to compose their thoughts and insights from the night’s discussion in a way that they identify best. For some this is journaling, others it is doodling, and others may need some time to collect their thoughts in silence. Whatever it is, be open and try new methods where youth can explore how they react to the Scriptures, what others have said, and how they feel.
The next question for today is……
“What are some resources you use to plan a Bible study?”
Alix Davidson Keller recently completed her Masters of Divinity at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. She served in youth ministry at Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, KY for almost 5 years. Currently, she lives in Louisville, KY with her sweet husband, Joshua. Alix is passionate about missions and loves to travel, hike, and make jewelry.
During my years in youth ministry, I always seemed to struggle with resources – finding good ones, that is. I used to fret about developing creative, engaging Bible studies that would make the Bible stories relevant to youth. Finally, I realized that I could have them read a passage, ask them what it had to do with their lives, and they often knew better than I did! Whatever we do with these resources during Bible study, let us give young people and freedom to discover the truth and grace in the Bible for themselves. I’m listing here a few of my favorite resources for learning and presenting the stories of scripture:
Commentaries can be really helpful places to begin planning. If you’re not around a theological library, check out www.textweek.com. They provide links to online commentaries, sermons, discussion formats, skits, and all kinds of resources for lectionary passages.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc8qOXeTsUQ – The Visual Bible has really long movies on youtube for the Gospels and some other books. They are definitely cheesy, but are actually pretty accurate to scripture.
http://www.wingclips.com/themes/priorities – Movie clips by theme (Christian themes, even!)
http://www.thebricktestament.com/home.html – The Brick Testament (my favorite!). I wouldn’t just hand out this link to your youth … check it all out first and then decide for yourself.
Pinterest can be another great resource. There are lots of youth ministers who post creative ideas. Here’s mine for just one example: http://www.pinterest.com/alix_davidson/youth-ministry/
www.faithelement.com is a great resource for pre-written curriculum. It can be easily tailored to your group. And it’s free!
The Voice Bible translation is really helpful if your youth like skits. It is available online at www.biblegateway.com.
Since Lent is quickly approaching, here is one of my favorite Lent idea resources:
Andrew Noe is the Student Minister at Rosemont Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. He enjoys superheroes, and trying to be funny. He is married to the wonderful and amazing Hannah Noe. They have a super intelligent dog named Daphne, and a water-obsessed cat named Ellie
When I consider the resources I use for Bible study one of the first thoughts I have is people. I believe different people can provide different types of resources for the Bible studies we plan.
Youth provide feedback on what they are struggling with, and what they need the Bible to speak to them about. From simply asking youth what are you curious about, we can get ideas for what we are looking to speak to. Once a month try asking students to write down what they hope to learn at church. You might be surprised at the questions.
Volunteers, friends, and peers, can give you helpful insight when you bring to them a topic you plan to discuss. They might share a story that helps you connect more, or they might tell you something they have tried in the past with that same topic. Often this other perspective can give you a much needed different view on what you plan to teach.
Another resource that I have found to be useful is books. I’m not talking about those books on Christian topics that cover most minister’s bookshelves. Those are useful too, but I am talking about whatever the newest young adult fiction that is all the craze.
Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, The Uglies.
These books capture our student’s attention. They bring audiences to the point that they crave more of the story and characters. By reading these books you get a better understanding of the students you are trying to reach.
What are the questions they have in their heart, that these books are answering?
There is some reason they are drawn to these stories.These books are a resource in getting to know our students better. I feel knowing our students more, can only be helpful in planning Bible studies for them.
Most of the resources Alix has already mentioned are ones that I also use, so please check them out if you haven’t already. Especially http://www.thebricktestament.com/home.html for a good laugh.
Other resources I would suggest checking out are:
www.d365.org a great site for a daily devotional. I suggest it to youth all the time.
http://re-worship.blogspot.com/ a really great worship blog with calls to worship and other elements.
www.facebook.com I use facebook a ton to connect with other ministers. Join a facebook group of youth ministers such as the CBF youth minister’s network. These groups provide a place to post questions and ask for help while planning studies. When I was a children’s minister I used the CBF Children’s group almost every day to read what others were working on, and ask my own questions.