I sat in on part of our church’s middle school discipleship group last night and I have to brag on them a little bit.
Spurgeon said, “Whether we teach young Christians truth or not, the devil will be sure to teach them error.” Our youth pastor, Joshua Haynes, teaches our young Christians truth. Last night he was teaching these kids about studying the Bible. He was teaching these middle schoolers inductive study methods. How cool is that! And he wasn’t just teaching the basic 3 principles—Observation, Interpretation, and Application—hoping that they’d someday be able to put them into practice, you know, when they got older and more serious about studying Scripture. He was digging deep into what these principles mean, why they’re important, and how to do them. And the kids were really digging it.
They are still on the first principle, Observation. The pastor had my wife, Debi, come in and speak a bit about observation, and to give a demonstration that she has given to the adult ladies at our church a couple of times. She had multiple items on a tray and asked the kids to write down as many observations that they could about what they saw in 2 minutes. She then used the items to show that what they see at first glance might turn out to be different upon further reflection. This ties into good observation skills when studying the Bible.
Pastor Joshua then talked to them about the 5 Ws that we should all be asking of the text: Who, What, When, Where, Why. He broke each one down and gave examples of how they could use each question. Afterward, he broke them into small groups and had them practice this on a passage of Scripture.
I am so excited that our youth group is getting such great training by Pastor Joshua and his volunteers. So often churches will try to dumb down good solid teaching to younger teens, but I think that’s a huge mistake. Kids are smart, and they can grasp these concepts. Some of it may end up being a challenge for them, but that’s certainly not a bad thing.
I feel certain that these kids, under this type of training, will soon be better prepared to properly study Scripture than many adults in many churches today. It would benefit us all to learn the same study techniques and to put them into practice daily as we seek to know God’s Word and glorify him as a result.