February 20, 2013 PhilBell

Faith Ownership In Students: Part 2 – Putting Faith Into Practice

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9

I’m a parent of young kids…  I have three kids under 6 and it can be a wild ride at times! Some of the most challenging times for our family are meal times believe it or not. If you have young kids, you so get this. Trying to teach my kids how to eat and how to get more food in their mouth than on the floor is rather challenging at times…

Self Feeders Youth Ministry

However, as a parent, I know that what is messy today, will help my kids grow healthy for tomorrow. For now my job is to tell my kids how to eat, show them how to eat, and let them ‘practice’ with their food. But can you imagine if I only decided to tell my kids and show my kids how to eat, but never give them a chance to practice?

So often we teach students, we show them, but we don’t always spend a great deal of time helping actually ‘practice’ their faith… What should this look like?

Paul gives us and the Philippians a great blueprint for what discipleship can look like. You see, within the context of trusting relationships Paul asserts three foundational principles:

We teach. We model. They practice.

If you are reading this thinking: “Yes, I know this… This is basic!” I would push back and ask you how much of your time is actually spent giving students the opportunity to ‘practice’ their faith? It’s easy to tell students to go home and read their bible isn’t it? If you are like me, this is what I have done for years…

There are many ways to help students own and put their faith into practice, but in this post I want to camp out with the reading of God’s Word. Helping students develop a love for God first, and then a love for His Word through hearing, seeing, and practicing, is essential as we help students to own their faith for the long haul.

Provide devotions, bible studies, and take home materials as a natural next step.

Now let me be honest, it has taken a year for us to begin to create a culture for our students where it’s normal for them to take home materials. We talk about it all the time, we have students encourage other students about it, and we have tried to make it part of our everyday culture. Here are three resources I highly recommend:

  • The Simple Truth Bible: This provides 366 daily devotions and is a great resource to get students started with a daily habit of devotion. They are highly practical and challenge students to apply each devotion in some way.
  • OnTrack Devotions: These are incredible to help students take the next step in their faith walk and help them learn basic inductive bible study and help student learn to ‘self-feed’ on God’s Word and get loads out of it. (Click on the link for a great deal I can get you on this resource).
  • RootWorks: I wish Simply Youth Ministry would write more of these. (I might even do more myself at some stage). These are full on bible study covering a whole book of the bible. These studies are concentrated and for students you want to really chew on God’s Word.

‘Practice’ bible study with your students.

One of our small groups in our discipleship program is currently studying Teachings of Jesus. Although a goal is to help them understand what Jesus was teaching, an underlying goal is to ‘practice’ bible study. Each week therefore, consists of having students dig into the content asking four questions:

  1. What does it say?
  2. What did it mean in their world?
  3. What does it mean in our world?
  4. How can we apply this to our lives? 

By creating a bible study around bible study skills is helping students to self-feed, and ultimately learn to develop life-long habits and faith ownership.

I sincerely would love to hear what is working for you? What ideas can you share here?

Would you like to guest post here and share is working for you?

Phil <><

photo credit: moominmolly via photopin cc

About the Author

PhilBell Phil Bell is a Family Ministry pastor with over 15 years of experience ministering to families. He holds a Masters in Christian Ministry and is a national speaker, columnist, author, and blogger. He’s passionate about investing in families and equipping parents to reach the next generation for Christ. He’s originally from England and now lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife Lisa and their three beautiful kids.