First let's set the scene. The small group of children or young people are sitting in a circle on the beach or under a tree, in a hall or a classroom, in a dorm or maybe a tent. Everyone has a Bible and it's your task to lead the group. What happens next?
Opening the Bible with a group of young people is an exciting adventure and a core part any SU event. We've put together some ideas to help you get started - and it really is about going back to basics and allowing God to speak through His Word.
The Wow! factor
Have confidence to open the Bible with young people, ensuring they have their own copy. Make it your aim to read a chapter or less together, and use a set of questions to allow people in your group to begin to explore the Bible for themselves. It may take just 20 minutes at a time. Expect someone in your group to respond with a "wow!" at some point.
You are their mentor
Resist the temptation to preach, teach or be a priest/go between - your job is to guide, to show the young people how to handle their own Bibles.
You are their leader
If you believe and have confidence in the power of God's Word, then be their most excellent Christian role model, and open the Bible with them. Let them see that you are serious about reading the Bible yourself!
Believe in the power of God's word
As you lead your group, the task is simple - let the Bible speak! Make sure everyone has their own Bible, find the chosen chapter, pray, read it together, briefly outline the context, ask the questions, allow the young people to comment with their own answers and be prepared to be surprised by God!
It may lead to young people asking their own questions; it may lead to prayer; it may lead to a hunger for more; it may lead to praise - it all depends on the Holy Spirit, not on you!
Expect God to speak to you too!
You are not the world's leading authority on the Bible and how it applies, so read it with your group with a real attitude of humility, and don't go in there ready to preach, teach, rebuke, guide, or convict. Let the Holy Spirit teach you! Let the Holy Spirit guide you! Let Him convict you!
YES! Enjoy all those games and other activities
We must spend a lot of time building relationships with the young people in our small group - games, adventures, new experiences, fun, laughter, listening, etc. - but we cannot afford to neglect opening the Bible with our group.
Suggested questions to ask your group
Use this set of questions if you are reading one of Jesus' teaching passages:
- Can someone point out (on the timeline*), when this took place?
- Who was listening to Jesus?
- If this is a parable, can you work out what Jesus is teaching the listeners and us?
- If this is straight teaching from Jesus, can you put into your own words something that Jesus was telling His listeners?
- What do you find exciting about what Jesus says?
- What do you find hard about what Jesus says?
- Is there something in what Jesus says that you think would change the world or change you?
- Is there something here you'd like to put into practice in your own life?
- How much do you believe what Jesus says?
Find out more... The material in this feature is based on a new resource by SU Scotland Regional Worker, Kenny McKie, called "Teach Yourself Bible Reading Groups". Inside the guide, you'll find sets of questions covering:
- Jesus' teaching passages
- New Testament narrative passages
- Old Testament narrative passages
- New Testament letters
- Books of prophecy
- Books of poetry
- Books of law
Kenny McKie is Regional Worker - East & West Dunbartonshire, Forth Valley & Stirling