Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Unpacking Youth Workers’ Dirty Little Secret

Unpacking Youth Workers’ Dirty Little Secret

How Do I Start with the Bible?

Am I all for the lectionary? Yes, but I don’t always follow it with teens.

Am I all for making lessons, messages and series out of deep reflection and study on Scripture? Yes, but I don’t always just pick a scripture and make the lesson.

The reality is that we have our curriculum and big ideas. I’m not saying to scrap these things. However, I suggest that even if we have these things, our first priority can be the scripture. It can be our go to source for preparation. Here are two ways that I see this working out:

1. Curriculum. I suspect that your curriculum has scripture in it. If not, then throw it away. If it does, then before you get into the lesson planning, set aside time early in the week and start with that scripture. Read it, study it, pray about it and engage it. Then after you’ve spent time studying the text, go to the lesson plan. I’m confident you’ll find that you have more to draw from, more inspiration and more power in your message if you let the Word of God get inside you before you get into the lesson plan.

2. The Big Idea. So you got this idea. Do the scripture search early. Then look not for just single verses but a whole pericope. And study it. Not only that, but submit your big idea to the text. If the Bible says something different than your big idea, be willing to abandon it for God. In the end, you’ll be more inspired knowing your big idea actually resonates with our controlling narrative or you were faithful and chose obedience to God over your own interests.

How do you make the Bible your starting point in youth ministry?

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Paul Sheneman is an author, speaker and youth pastor. He serves with the Macedonia Methodist Church in Ohio. He drinks way too much coffee for his own good. His main interest is exploring Christian formation. You can follow most of his ramblings on his blog at www.discipleshipremix.com or on Twitter @PaulSheneman.