It happened like this.
I was cutting my grass about five weeks ago, and listening to some of my favorite worship songs, and, really, spending some time in prayer. Cutting the grass gives me time to think, and to listen to God, while I’m pushing my old, and barely-hanging-on mower.
And I was, simply, overwhelmed. I wanted something big to happen with our students this summer.
The past couple of summers, God has blessed us with great bible studies, and I have watched tremendous growth among our students, as they have been transformed into worshippers. I abandoned an age-old youth ministry technique of glitter and pizza and craziness, and inserted, instead, a solid time of bible study. And those times were amazing. On Tuesday nights, there were two distinct study groups, of both guys and girls, and, as I led the guys study, I watched them wrestle with big topics, and become engaged in deep discussions. Some of my best memories in youth ministry have come from those study times.
That textual bible study time resulted in my own conviction to read the bible. Last May, for the first time, I began to use the bible as something more than just a teaching tool, and began to read it for myself. (You can read my thoughts here.) God opened Himself to me, and filled my heart, every day, so much that now I spend the first hour of my day in the Word and in prayer, and do not make one decision until that time is over. I protect that time, too, and will not let it be compromised.
So, last fall, I began a new small group, centered solely around a textual study. From August to December, of 2010, I led a group, with about ten students and a couple of adults (one of which was an elder, and the other a co-leader in our student worship called Fortress) through the entire Word of God. Biblical professors would call it systematic theology. I just called it “getting familiar with the Word.” This January, I began a study, in the same small group, of the gospel of John. Every week we learn from a new chapter in the Fourth Gospel, and it has transformed me, along with our students. I love getting their text messages after the study group has ended, as they have deeper questions they want to ask.
All of those things manifested themselves on that new spring day about five weeks ago, when I felt, and prayed, for something big. And that “big thing” was to challenge our teenagers to read the entire Word of God this summer.
I doubted that calling at first. I spoke of the idea to Eran, and she encouraged me to listen to God, and encouraged me to engage our teenagers by saying, really, that teenagers spend their entire school year learning seven hours a day, with an hour, or two, of homework later. She went on to say that if we can expect them to handle school work, and juggle extracurricular activities, but not expect them to read the Bible in 90 days, then we have seriously messed up somewhere.
I love my wife.
So here we are, about to launch this ambitious, but God-led plan. I do not know what will happen this summer, but I believe that for the students who take it seriously, then lives will be changed. I’ve also challenged our families to do the same. Can you imagine what will happen to our families if we began to talk about spiritual matters, instead of talking about sports, or movies, or anything else? Wow.
And wow again. God will change our families, and change our church.
I’m excited, and trusting, knowing that if God has led me to this plan, then He will bless it tremendously.