How often do you think about what you want students to get out of the time they spend studying the Bible with you?

At youthministry360, we think about it a lot.

If you’re asking who youthminstry360 is, it’s not a bad question. You see, we’re a brand new youth ministry resource company. And while our hope is that we’ll soon get to know each other really well, I’ll start with a two-sentence glimpse into our values and priorities. (Don’t you wish every introduction were so efficient?)

At youthministry360, we’re committed to two basic principles:

  • We’re committed to seeing spiritual transformation happen in the lives of teenagers as a result of a deepening understanding and application of God’s Word . . .
  • And we’re committed to serving and equipping youth workers.

That’s really about it. If it falls under those two areas, you can bet we’re working hard to make it happen. If it doesn’t, well, there are plenty of other great people and ministries out there who are capable of handling it. But let’s get back to youthministry360’s core commitments.

We believe the foundation of your youth ministry should be both helping your students understand God’s Word, and helping them apply that understanding to their lives. But how do you accomplish this? You can’t know whether or not your ministry’s strategy for Bible study is effective unless you establish some goals, and then measure against them.

So, what should your goals be for your students’ time spent studying the Bible? Here are three simple concepts that might get you thinking:

  • Know the Story of Scripture⎯This is the “macro” view of the Bible. The Big Picture, if you will. It’s the overarching narrative of God’s redemptive plan from Genesis to Revelation. It’s the story that starts with Creation, includes God calling a people to Himself, sees the fruition of this redemption in Christ, and projects the amazing future awaiting all those who believe. It’s the view from 30,000 feet.
  • Contextualize Individual Passages⎯This is the “micro” view. This is understanding how a particular passage of Scripture⎯a hand-full of verses, really⎯fits into the context of the Book they’re in. And in turn, how the specific Book fits in the context of the Big Picture Story. (Ties together rather nicely, don’t you think?)
  • Understand the Exact Application for Their Lives⎯This is the “spiritual transformation” moment. Every time you teach the Bible, there has to be a theological or spiritual takeaway. What is the central biblical principle that should be applied by your students? It’s the answer to the “so what?” question. And the application has to be spelled out in relevant terms that students can do something with. If not, students are left to simply collect knowledge, and that’s a pretty crummy way to approach Scripture.

These goals represent one way to think about what you want students to get out of their time spent in Bible study with you. What are your goals? We’d love for your voice to be a part of the YM360 community. Come hang out at the YM360 Blog and see for yourself what all the buzz is about.

Andy Blanks is the co-founder of youthministry360. You can read other articles from Andy, along with a host of other contributors, at the YM360 Blog.

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