Passing the Scroll

Open_Torah_scroll_smSome folks who teach young people wonder if their efforts are worthwhile. It can be difficult to stay focused on a scriptural text when teenagers are preoccupied with the latest gossip regarding what happened over the weekend, who likes who, and so on. Some caring adults even wonder why they bother to study and prepare at all. The following suggestion may provide much needed encouragement.

Ask some folks from your church to name people who influenced their faith. Ask a minister to name a person who opened his or her eyes to the call of God. Time after time, they will likely name a person who took time each week to study, prepare, and share biblical truths with young people.

During a recent informal church gathering, one congregation discussed persons influential in shaping the faith of its members. Over two-thirds of those present cited a Sunday school teacher as one of the strongest influences on their faith. Stories were told of men and women who, through their teaching and their faithful Christian living, taught important values and Bible stories.

Bill Leonard refers to teaching Scripture as “passing the scroll.” It is vital for passing on the Christian faith and helping our young people learn to love God. As we teach youth, we shape their image of God and what a church family is like. Experiences involving Bible study and discussion will be etched into their memories as part of the faith foundation of our teens. Teaching young people about the Bible is a significant ministry.

When I think of people who helped me form the foundation of my faith, two particular Bible study leaders come to mind. One helped me learn Paul’s missionary journeys. I still remember tracing his journeys in red ink on a map of biblical lands. This person also focused on memorizing verses and leading Bible drills. As a result, I can locate obscure books like Micah and Zephaniah in very little time. She brought the history and characters of the Bible to life for an entire group of seventh and eighth grade youth.

Another caring adult taught that asking questions was okay. He believed that the questions we formed would eventually help us make sense of our faith. Any subject was open to discussion. He set the tone with a positive focus and required each of us to listen to each other, to think through our opinions, and to search the Scriptures for insight on difficult issues.

Years from now, some of your young people will name you as one who “passed the scroll” to them. They may not remember the details of every single Bible study session you ever taught, but they will recall your presence, your faithfulness, and your love. They will count you as one who helped them see the relevance of Scripture and guided the formation of their faith.

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