I recently read an article that has got me thinking a lot about this. What do YOU think? Here's an excerpt with the link:
"[Students] would much rather IM about God on a computer, watch The Passion of the Christ to be sensationalized by the gore of the crucifixion, or listen to a CD/MP3 of the latest pop worship music than thoughtfully reflect in God’s Word. These may all be good spiritual tools, but they fail to utilize the mind. Joshua 1:8a reads, “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it.” The phrase “meditate on it day and night” is a deliberate discipline of chewing on, mulling over, rereading, and processing God’s Word. This is an ongoing intellectual process, engaging the mind to come into a full and proper relationship with the Almighty."- Kent Millen, "Why Christian Young People Don't Think and What To Do About It."
I'm afraid that Millen is on to something big. Through my own experiences in junior/senior high school, youth group (as a teenager), and youth ministry (4-5 years), I cannot remember too many teens who looked forward to Bible study - maybe to games, maybe to snacks, maybe to friends, maybe to trips, maybe to awards, but not to the joy of digging deep in God's Word and putting it to practice. Now games, friends, trips, etc. are all great, but the school systems offer those same opportunities!
Maybe teachers are fault (i.e., youth leaders, youth pastors, etc.). Maybe we have not clearly communicated the necessity of the Word of God in the Christian life. Some would say that it is just too hard to compete with the 'flashiness' of youth culture. As a result, many try to build flashy youth programs and activities to get students involved. I love Millen's quotation of Spurgeon: "If you have to have a carnival to get them to church, you need to keep having a carnival to get them back."
Now I'm not against 'cool' events or creative ways to get students learning (like Bible Quizzing!), but why don't more Christians (teen or adult) have a natural (or perhaps supernatural) desire to read and reflect upon the Word? Why do I struggle to wake up 45 minutes early to spend time wrestling with God's Word, thinking, "What does this mean and what should I do about it?"
We often claim that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. I agree! But a relationship requires communication, and that requires Bible study and prayer! If I'm not reading and reflecting on God's Word, if I'm not spending time in prayer, what does that say about my relationship with my Savior, the Almighty?
What do you think?
[By the way . . . I'm thankful to have a good group of youth at Maywood! This article speaks to a general situation in America, not necessarily to my specific context.]