Hey parents (and students)! A few months back in our parent meeting I revealed an idea about challenging all of us parents to intentionally read the Scriptures with our middle and high school students. At that time many of you received a small book called One-to-One Bible Reading. If you did not receive one of those, I still have several copies, and I’d love to get that in your hands.
Once again, the idea is to get parents and kids engaged in the Word together in an intentional way. Here is what I’m asking you to do…
- Make a commitment with your student to read the Bible together. The plans offered below has just one reading per week, but I would recommend committing together to read through each passage multiple times each week. (If you have more than one student in the student ministry, make this personal for each of them. You may want to all do the same passages and all meet together, but consider making even those 1-to-1 opportunities with each child.)
- Commit to journal a little bit as you read. This is where the little book will be helpful: chapter 8 offers a couple different framework you can use as you read that will also help inform your journaling. If you know of other frameworks you’d rather use, please do! But using some framework is good because it helps students to get going in their interaction with the Word.
- Commit to meeting each week to reflect on your reading and journaling. This can be any time, but make sure to offer sufficient time to engage with the Word personally prior to meeting together.
- I will be setting a gathering for all parents and students at the end of the 8-week framework (Early-Mid August). This gathering will allow all of us to come together and share together about what we are learning and how the Lord is using this time to encourage and grow us, both in our relationship with the Lord and with each other.
In this post I want to share with you the plan that I’d love for all of us to follow together. I think it would be good to all have a plan to follow as it offers the opportunity for us to encourage one another and also offers a little accountability. So, here is the schedule that I’m asking all of us to follow. Once again, as your family goes on vacation, take this plan with you! If you are separated from your child(ren) for a week, work that out! Plan a facetime while they are away to reflect. Or simply roll two reflections into one. Whatever you decide to do, make this a priority and try your best to stay on track. The plan will go for 8 weeks and will begin next week, the week beginning on June 12.
- Week 1: June 12-18
- Week 2: June 19-25
- Week 3: June 26-July 2
- Week 4: July 3-9
- Week 5: July 10-16
- Week 6: July 17-23
- Week 7: July 24-30
- Week 8: July 31-August 6
I am getting this plan from that little book, but I am also going to offer two different pathways to follow. They both are 8-week plans.
Reading Plan Option 1
The first will be for younger students. It will also be really good for those of us parents who either know that our student(s) are not yet walking with Jesus, or we are currently exploring that with them. This is also good for younger students who have only just begun walking with Jesus. It pulls 8 different readings from the book of Mark, working through some important truths presented by that particular gospel writer. This plan also offers some corresponding questions that you can use in your follow-up meetings with your student(s). Here is the Mark plan, along with the corresponding questions for each week. (You can consider thinking through these questions as you read each week and using them as journaling prompts, or you may simply keep these questions and use them to guide your weekly reflection time.) ALSO, you can find this reading plan in chapter 11 of the book.
Week 1 (Mark 1:1-15)
- How does Mark show us that Jesus is worthy of attention?
- What ‘witnesses’ does Mark call upon to introduce Jesus, and why?
- What is the message of Jesus, and how does it draw your attention to him?
- According to the passage, what has Jesus come to do?
- What is your own reaction to Jesus after reading this passage?
Week 2 (Mark 2:1-12)
- What do you think is the most surprising thing Jesus does in this encounter?
- If someone in a crowd of people said to you, “Your sins are forgiven”, what would you and everyone else think of that person?
- How does Jesus demonstrate his claim to be able to forgive sins?
- What difference do you think his authority should have in your own life?
Week 3 (Mark 3:7-35)
- How do people react to Jesus today?
- What responses to Jesus do you see in this passage?
- Why was Jesus’ authoritative teaching a threat to the teachers of the law?
- Jesus says, “He first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house” (v. 27). What is the point of this statement?
- What house is Jesus claiming to be overthrowing, and what could this mean for you?
- According to this passage, how do you become a part of Jesus’ family?
Week 4 (Mark 8:22-38)
- What event takes place just before Peter’s confession? Why do you think these two stories are paced next to each other?
- How would you describe the healing of the blind man?
- How good is a partial understanding of Jesus?
- According to Jesus, why does a follower of Christ have to “deny himself” and “lose his life”?
Week 5 (Mark 10:17-45)
- Looking at verses 17-22, what would Jesus say is the basic character of people in the world?
- Based upon this passage, do you think you can earn your salvation by being a good person?
- In verses 32-34, Jesus says that he is going to die. According to verse 45, what is the purpose of his death?
- Read Isaiah 53:5, 10-12. How do these verses help us understand what a ransom is?
- What would Jesus tell you to do if you desired to enter into a relationship with God?
Week 6 (Mark 14:53-15:15)
- When we read of great tragedies in history, we tend to think that we would have acted differently if we had been there. Can you see yourself in this passage? What would you be doing?
- How are some of the characters in this passage similar to each other? How are they different?
- What evidence is Mark presenting in his attempt to prove that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?
- How does Jesus’ silence actually communicate his identity? (See Isaiah 53:7-9)
- How has this passage affected your view of Jesus?
Week 7 (Mark 15:16-39)
- How many times does the phrase “King of the Jews” appear in chapter 15 (including v. 1-15)? What is ironic about this? What is Mark trying to say about the events at the cross?
- Read Psalm 22. How does this help you understand the words of Jesus form the cross in v. 34?
- How does Psalm 22 end? What is Jesus ultimately claiming for himself?
- Why do you think the events at the cross were necessary?
- What final description of Jesus’ identity does Mark provide? Where have you seen this title before?
- What do the events at the cross teach us about what it means to follow Jesus?
Week 8 (Mark 15:42-16:8)
- Of what face does Mark want his readers to be sure in verses 42-47?
- What does Mark say happened to Jesus’ body?
- What is surprising about these accounts of Jesus’ resurrection?
- Why is it significant that Jesus rose from the dead?
- What questions do you still have? Are you ready to follow Jesus?
Reading Plan Option 2
This option will be for older students that have some depth and are prepared to go a bit deeper. This plan works through Romans 5-8 and really digs into some central matters of doctrine surrounding a proper understanding of salvation. There are no corresponding questions offered with this plan, which means you will need to identify some sort of framework to use, especially in journalling/reflection. This is an opportunity to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, parents! It is an opportunity to get your students hands down into the soil, too, and for you both to pursue a deeper understanding of our identity in Christ. You can find this reading plan in chapter 9 of the book.
Week 1: Reconciliation with God (Romans 5:1-11)
Week 2: The reign of sin to life in Christ (Romans 5:12-21)
Week 3: Set free from sin (Romans 6:1-14)
Week 4: Made slaves of God (Romans 6:15-23)
Week 5: Dead to the law (Romans 7:1-6)
Week 6: The function of the law (Romans 7:7-25)
Week 7: Life in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-17)
Week 8: Future destiny in Christ (Romans 8:18-39)
I am really looking forward to seeing how this intentional engagement in the Word with each other will bear fruit in your lives, in the life of our student ministry, and in the life of our church! By the way, this is not only something I’m asking you to do this summer, but this is a pattern that I am attempting to set in the future of our student ministry. As we move back to our normal schedule this August, I will be providing another reading plan that will correspond directly with our teaching series. The aim is for you to engage in specific passages of Scripture with your own child(ren) before we engage with them in those passages. I believe this right and good in light of your (parents’) calling by God to be the primary faith influences in our students’ lives.
So let’s get that pattern established this summer! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! And if you’d like to have a copy of the book I mentioned above, let me know that too. I love you all, and want you to know that it is a great joy to partner with you in this work of turning our kids’ hearts to Jesus in order to see him as the greatest treasure.