Can you be part of challenging a teen in your world toward a God-centred life? Aleena gives some statistics, and a call to action.
Do Teens and Bible Studies Mix?
By Aleena Denison
There have been many surveys taken to determine the statistics of how many young people remain in church by choice once they are free to make their own decisions. One statistic records that 88% or more of the young people in church (who are regular attendees) leave and never return once they are out of high school. What could be the reason for this? And is there any way to prevent it from happening?
I think there are many reasons why young people choose to leave the church, and one reason is especially notable: Most of these young people haven't, for the most part, been engaged in any Bible study, but have simply been going to church to sit through services (and see friends). Because of this, they don't have a firm grasp of God and His Word, and don't see Him as being personal with them. Many may have even said a prayer of confession and repentance of sin, but the motion seemed to be simply so they wouldn't have to fear hell, and they missed the importance of having a relationship with their Heavenly Father.
But if they are saved, why is it they don't do Bible studies?
• If you were to ask them, there's a good possibility they'll tell you it's mostly because they just don't have enough time.
• The time they do have is given to all sorts of recreation, from time with friends, time with electronics, to whatever else they can think of to fill their time.
• The effort it takes to think things through for the purpose of achieving insight is often of little interest. If they can do it quickly and without too much extra effort, they might accept it.
• Many teens today believe that the teen years are when it's time to kick back and do what one wants. In their near-sightedness, they believe that they'll have time to get serious later in life.
• Listed last, but having a huge impact is this: Parents hold incredible sway over the influence and habits of young people by their personal examples and assistance.
So, if one were to help a teen eliminate the faulty thinking, and get him or her into a Bible study, does the style of Bible study make a difference in their growth? Well, look at the following types of studies:
• Basic/Light studies:
When you observe the devotional sections in bookstores today, you'll find an overwhelming supply of quick devotionals for people (young and old) on the go with busy lifestyles. These short, simple studies are to encourage people to take at least five minutes of their day to spend reading and meditating on the Bible. The topics in these books are intended to help meet people's spiritual needs. Although these studies are better than nothing, if anyone were to spend years only taking in short, basic truths, there would be no depth of relationship with God. Many teens who have been challenged to maintain a daily Bible study time choose these kinds of studies because they are quick and easy reading, and the application is very minimal ("think about this as you go about your day").
• In depth/Challenging studies:
Solid, life-confronting Bible studies are out there for teens, and are intended to be life-changing. They are the least favorite type of study due to intensity, mostly in the area of application. The questions demand answers that are from the Bible, and candidly point out the distorted thinking of the sinful mind. Combining text study and application means that there must be more time involved, and it would be very difficult to brush aside or forget these potent studies.
So many young people today know little or nothing about Scripture, even those who are frequently in the church setting. An excellent study to lay the foundation of the Bible for them would be one that explains the Bible as a whole. From beginning to end, what is the overall story of the Bible, and does it affect lives today? This study has had an outstanding effect with teens, adults, and children. There is an overwhelming understanding of a holy God, the helplessness of people, and the astounding Sacrifice that was paid for all people in order to restore relationships with God. After this there is sincere commitment to have and maintain that relationship.
Please be part of challenging teens toward living God-centered lives by showing them that they can, and must, "mix" with Bible studies.