For 20 years I have had the honor to serve the Lord in student ministry. In those two decades, I have discipled and taught hundreds of teenagers to engage God through his written Word.
I have noticed two things remain the same for a teenager’s engagement with God’s Word, regardless of cultural influence and generational differences:
1) Teenagers want to engage with God through His Word; and
2) They want to be challenged to do so. Someone just has to being willing to challenge them.
I have also noticed a connection between the number of students who engage with God’s Word and the number of adults who challenge students to engage with God’s Word. The more adults encourage a single student to engage the Word of God, the more likely that student will engage with the Word of God. It’s that simple.
There are many ways to engage the Word, but here are some simple strategies I have used to challenge students (and my own children) based on the challenge found in Psalm 119:11: “For I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
How old are you?
Can you recite from memory, without a break, the same number of Bible verses as you are old? For instance, if a teenager is 15, can they recite 15 Bible verses without taking a break? As an adult, can I recite 38 Bible verse without a break? This is a fun challenge I do with my 17-, 13-, and 8-year-old children on a regular basis. We even try to see who can quote them the fastest (naturally I never win!).
How small (and big) can you go?
Memorize a small book of the Bible: Titus, Jude, James, etc. As you memorize one book, move to a larger book. Maybe, just maybe, someone can memorize all of Psalms.
What is your topic?
I have found a great apologetic tool is to memorize Scriptures based on a topic. For instance, I ask my students and children to memorize the following Scriptures to recount the creation account: Genesis 1:1-2:3, John 1:1-18, and Colossians 1:15-20. Given, there are lots of other creation-account scriptures, but I give these to my students and children because it encompasses a full and Christ-centered view of creation.
No matter your age, I challenge you to join your local church’s youth leader or pastor to disciple a younger generation. After all, it takes more than one person to challenge this next generation to engage with God through His word. Will you?