Raise your hand if you have ever told students to read their Bible! Alright, all across the country hands are raised at their desk, on their couch, in Starbucks, or wherever this is being read because I am going to guess that if you are in youth ministry you have encouraged students to read their Bible! It is one of the main things we do. We know the importance of Scripture and we know that it will have a huge impact on students’ lives.
So, let me ask you this… How are YOU doing with reading your Bible?
I think way too often we as youth workers get so caught up in the busyness of ministry and of telling others how they can build their relationship with God that we forget to do it ourselves. It is so easy to get busy! From a packed summer, to launching a new school year, to the craziness of the Christmas season, to finishing strong in spring and gearing up for another summer it is as if we never get time to catch up. That is exactly why it is so important that we make time to get into The Word!
About a year ago it hit me hard. I have been in youth ministry for around 10 years, and I have encouraged thousands of students to read their Bible. In my sermons, from the stage, in small groups, one on one, at camp, driving to camp, in pretty much every single youth ministry setting I have, at one time or another, talked to students about the importance of reading Scripture and encouraged them to do so. But one day it hit me how much of a hypocrite I was!! Why should I expect students to actually read their Bible if I didn’t!?!?
Sure, I read my Bible but it wasn’t regular, and most of the time it was studying for or preparing a message. I used the same excuses that students do… “Not enough time”, “I just forget”, “Too busy” a bunch of statements that showed the importance and value that I placed on Scripture. If I wanted students to listen to me I needed to be willing to do what I was encouraging them to do.
We know all the reasons WHY it is important to read our Bible, we tell them to students all the time. But we need to start listening to those reasons and doing it in our own life.
So much joy and peace comes from a daily practice of reading your Bible. I get excited every day when I am about to read. For me, I went from “I don’t have the time” to “If I don’t read, the rest of the day is a waste of time” because I am simply not the best version of me. It is hard to be a youth worker, but developing a daily practice of reading your Bible will give you so much refreshment and peace as you navigate the difficulties of youth ministry. It is a wonderful gift and definitely a must!
Stop making excuses, stop blaming other things for why you are not reading your Bible. If we are going to follow our call to be a leader that means we need to go first, literally that is what leading means. Don’t tell students to do something you are not doing first. Read your Bible! Make it a priority, carve out time, do it!