As a youth minister, Bible studies form a central focus of what I do in ministry. I find myself constantly teaching the Word whether that is in youth group, small group, or on a school campus with a ministry such as First Priority or FCA. When it comes to teaching, there are many resources available for student Bible studies, but I would argue that the best approach to teaching and Bible study is to write your own. Here are the advantages of writing your own Bible study:
1. Connects Best with Your Students
All Bible study material is written with a generic student in mind. This generic student is given certain interests and assumed to be in a particular place spiritually. The major problem with Bible study material is that the generic student does not attend your youth group. Writing your own Bible studies allows you to tailor the material to your group. You can address the interests of the group and speak into their culture while allowing you to write to your students spiritual struggles. This allows the material to truly connect and engage your students in their world.
2. Allows You to Shape the Theological Priorities of Your Teaching Material
Though we do not like to admit it, everyone has their own theological bias and presuppositions that they bring to their writing. If you have a mission and a vision for what you want your students to be learning theologically, writing material allows you to advance that mission and vision by focusing on the Biblical principles that you think are a priority for your students.
3. Allows You to Stay Sharp as an Expositor
When many youth ministers leave the bubble of Bible college or seminary, they are met with a harsh and sometimes shocking world. Youth ministers quickly learn that students are not impressed with their ability to parse Hebrew verbs or their knowledge of St. Augustine’s view of original sin. Through writing your own Bible study, you have the opportunity to continue to be a theological nerd within the confines of your office. This gives you the freedom to dive deep theologically while developing material that speaks to your students in their world.
4. Builds a Personal Resource Library
As you write Bible studies, you will collect a wealth of resources along the way. It is always helpful to develop a resource library on your laptop of illustrations, quotes, and expositions of passages. If you take the time to organize your materials, you can have easy access to topical ideas and notes on passages to make future studies of those passages and topics easier.
5. Leads to the Possibility of Publishing Down the Road
Writing your own material creates materials that you can share with others. This can be done via blogging, book and article writing, and maybe even through partnering with a publishing company. Since you are constantly developing materials, you are able to provide many smaller studies that could be easily published if God opened the door for a publishing relationship.
Though it is not the easiest way to do Bible study, writing your own material is well worth the time and investment. It will sharpen you as a teacher and writer while being a benefit to your students.