Most likely, you have played this game at one point or another in Youth Ministry, either while you yourself were a student or now that you are a leader. For those who haven’t, the way you play the game is that you go around the circle and each person tells three facts about themselves, two truths and one lie, and then the rest of the group must decide which of the three facts are truths and lies.
Today, I want to give three Facts about American Youth, but unlike that game, I will just come out and tell you which one is a lie and which two are true.
The truths come from a 2009 study by Barna regarding the different views and uses of the bible among different generations. They found several interesting conclusions from their data, but most interesting of their findings are these two simple stats:
- Less Engagement – While many young adults are active users of the Bible, the pattern shows a clear generational drop-off – the younger the person, the less likely then are to read the Bible. In particular, Busters and Mosaics are less likely than average to have spent time alone in the last week praying and reading the Bible for at least 15 minutes. Interestingly, none of the four generations were particularly likely to say they aspired to read the Bible more as a means of improving their spiritual lives.
- Bible Appetite – Despite the generational decline in many Bible metrics, one departure from the typical pattern is the fact that younger adults, especially Mosaics (19%), express a slightly above-average interest in gaining additional Bible knowledge. This compares with 12% of Boomers and 9% of Elders.
The third fact, the Lie if you will, is simply this: Students will better Understand the importance of the Bible if we simply talk about it more.
Hopefully, you know that to be false. Students will best understand the importance of the bible from experiencing Adults who understand the importance of the Bible. We could point you to several series of sermons for your youth group about getting into the word and the importance of the Bible in our daily lives, but ultimately, students don’t want to be taught, they want you to show them.
As Youth Pastors, we need to be intentional about living out a love for the bible that is apparent in the lives of our students. You can probably find a million posts about the importance of getting into the word Daily, and we absolutely agree with what others have already said. If you don’t have a zeal and passion for the word, your not going to be able to instill a zeal and passion for the word in your students.
Further, if the students don’t see you or other leaders viewing the Bible as an important aspect of your life, they are not going to learn to view it as an important aspect of their life, no matter how many sermons you preach on it.
So back to the two truths, and what that means for our student ministries. Essentially, what I see when I read those two statements is that Students today are not getting into the word nearly as much as they want to. The stats are from 2009, but I did my own poll a few months back in our group and only 15% of our group said they got into the word at least once a week, but 90% of our group said they wanted to know the bible more.
So the question is, What are you doing to in your ministry to change this?