“For your typical youth group, half of them are never reading the Bible,” says Jeff Eckart, Never the Same (NTS) and Claim Your Campus (CYC2020) founder. These are jarring words for Christian youth leaders seeking to minister to students inside and outside their churches today. Eckart, though, is not about to give up, even though he’s aware of the trends and heard a lot of excuses about student Bible dis-engagement throughout his ministry. In fact, he’s spent the last two decades trying to proactively counter this tendency. His approach with students is relatively simple, but effective—encourage weekly Bible reading, engage in regular small group Bible reading, and solidify it in big room youth group experiences.
For the student who is frustrated by their inability to develop Bible reading as a regular habit, he offers this additional advice. “Read the Bible in larger chunks. Read through a book all at once. And while you’re reading, ask good questions.”
To the youth leader who’s not convinced of the importance of student Bible engagement, Jeff offers a bold challenge. “I think the number one goal of any youth minister is to create an environment where they can get their students to read the Bible. It’s a hill worth climbing. It’s a battle worth fighting, and the results are remarkable. All the metrics that people want in church happen when we do one simple think. It’s getting students to read the Bible.”
Looking for a solid resource for student engagement in the Bible? Check out Eckart's Soul Exercises.