“You are what you eat!” We’ve all heard it, right? And, at this time of year, with Christmas and New Year’s parties chock full of sweet and savory goodies that could tempt the cleanest eater into indulging, one might be considering a New Year’s resolution to watch more carefully what’s eaten—after January 1, of course.
The same might be said for what we consume through sight and sound each day. You are what you read, watch, and listen to.
Psalm 34:8 entreats us, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” But for many pastors, DCEs, youth group volunteers, and parents, getting youth to spend time in God’s Word each day can be a challenge—“Just take a bite!” I can hear myself coaxing my six-year-old, “You’ll like it, trust me!”
We want our kids to hear God’s promise of forgiveness, life, and salvation through Jesus Christ, and to let it transform their hearts and minds. But how can we get them to even take that first bite?
How can we help our children and youth turn to God’s Word first to find the spiritual food they need to tackle each day as it comes? Here are three ideas to get you started. Next month I’ll have three more.
- Use an app, such as Remind or another group-texting app, to send a daily Scripture to your youth. CPH’s Everyday Faith Calendar or Portals of Prayer might be a good place to find those daily Scriptures. For the month of January, the Everyday Faith Calendar has the first verse of 32 (one for every day in January plus an extra on one day) different books of the Bible, one for each day of the month. Include the whole verse, along with a simple prayer for God to bless the youth as they take His Word with them into their day.
- Do you have any youth who journal regularly, or who want to begin that habit? Encourage them to try writing out a Scripture verse or two each day. Again, you simply can use the verses found on the Everyday Faith Calendar or in Portals of Prayer. I find that the physical act of taking up pen and paper to copy God’s Word, word for word, can sometimes help me focus better on what’s being taught in the verses I’m copying. For youth who don’t keep a regular journal, they might simply write the verses in a section of their school notebook. Younger kids could do their Scripture verse with mom or dad over breakfast, maybe even writing it on a whiteboard or chalkboard you have hanging in your home for family schedules, reminders and the like, so everyone can see it.
- Encourage your youth to create an image for Instagram or Facebook, with the daily Scripture you’ve sent out, and share it to a group page or share it publicly with a set hashtag (for example, #[yourchurchname]youth and/or #dailyscripturechallenge2019). Collect the images as they’re shared, and repost them to the congregation’s website or Facebook. Encourage the youth to help their wider church experience God’s Word each day, too, as they share their Scripture-based images.
It can take more than two months for a new habit to form, so don’t give up too quickly on helping your kids to turn to God’s Word for daily encouragement! Keep helping them to taste and see that the Lord truly is good.
Let me know if you try any of these ideas. Next month I’ll have three more simple ways to get kids and youth engaged with God’s Word. Happy New Year!