Does Bible knowledge matter or can we get by only on experience and obedience? If you were to list four to five theological building blocks you wanted to be sure your students owned by the time they hit college, what would those building blocks be?
I recently posed that very question to a couple of youth ministry groups. I was heartened by the response. We have at least a handful of youth workers (pastors and volunteers) who think about the core tenets of the Christian faith and strategize how to teach those tenets.
Why is this important? Three reasons come quickly to mind:
- Level of Understanding:
When two people discuss or debate two topics that are often held in tension (i.e., faith vs. reason), the person with a higher level of understanding of his or her own tenets will “win.” Of course, understanding our faith tenets isn’t about arguing or winning discussions. It’s about sharing the faith confidently and in a way that expresses love to the listener. Sharing the faith with little understanding of the tenets of faith leads to a level of hyperbole and shrillness that isn’t tolerated well by listeners. Sharing the faith out of knowledge displays a wisdom that is attractive to listeners.
- Gratitude Driver:
When we dive into the tenets of the Christian faith we better understand how rescued we are and how dependent we need to be on Christ. The more we understand Christ’s work of redemption and salvation, the more grateful we are for our rescue. Renewed gratitude, then, is a driver of deeper worship, authentic obedience, and motivated spiritual disciplines. Further, gratitude is one more thing we can add to the growing list of Bible instructions that offer proven social and psychological benefit. New research is showing that gratitude, like forgiveness and sabbath rest, brings clinical benefit that is actually measurable.
- Displays Love:
When we engage in the things that God loves (exploring His Word, heeding His instructions) we demonstrate love for God. Jesus said in John 14:21 that when we do this, we open up a new level of intimacy with God. We experience a special outpouring of love from the Father, from the Son, and a special manifestation from Jesus Himself. This, in turn, is what keeps us coming back for more, creating a perpetual cycle that creates the spiritual formation we pray for in the lives of our teens.
These reasons are the driving force behind the revision of InWord’s most popular small-group study, Faith Basics: Some Things You’ve Got To Know. The revised edition has just been released and we want you to know about it. In fact, we’re offering two things: 1) a 15 percent discount to introduce you to this great tool. View product details here ; 2) a free session (Session 1: “God’s Word: Start Here”) which you can check out and download here.
We believe in helping students understand our faith tenets so that they can share out of their authentic experience, enjoy the benefits of gratitude for what God has done, and live in a deeper level of intimacy with the Father by loving what He loves.