by Nick Mance
Finding time to be in God’s Word in a world that is increasing in busyness is difficult for anyone. I think if we were honest with ourselves, we would acknowledge that there are seasons when it is difficult for us as adults to spend time investing in our relationship with Jesus. Work, family, stuff at home, yard work, playdates, playing chauffeur, and just trying to get adequate rest seem to overcome all hours of our days; but we cannot allow for these or any other life moments to detract from the time we must be spending in God’s Word.
It is no secret that our growth as a Christ-follower is intrinsically dependent upon how much time we spend in community with Jesus. But what we don’t always realize is that our students see how we engage in our relationship with Jesus, and it directly affects how they engage in their relationship with him. Our students should witness us modeling a relationship with Jesus in how we act and speak, how often we read our Bibles, and how we allow the truth of the gospel to permeate our lives.
But the reality is that we also need to model studying God’s Word with our students to help them engage in God’s Word and apply it to their lives. But there is a big question surrounding that notion: How do we do that, and how do we do it well?
I would actively encourage families to engage in regular family devotions together and use it as an opportunity to help draw your family together with each other and with Jesus. Family devotions do not need to be every day, they don’t have to be boring or childish, and they certainly do not need to be hours long. But they should allow for thoughtful conversation, opportunities for everyone to share and lead, and time of just being loved and supported by those closest to you.
There are some helpful tools and methods for doing devotions as a family, and I want to share some of those with you.
- This first one is an easy opportunity for you to simply text a devotion out to your student each day. Here are volume one and volume three of Textable Devotions for you to use. My suggestion would be twofold:
- If you are not currently doing family devotions, start small. Text these out each day and then choose one day each week to talk through them as a family. Try to keep it to a half hour to start, and then see if it develops into something bigger.
- If you are doing family devotions or have done them, try to incorporate more times that you meet as a family. Try for 2-3 times a week, but still keep it roughly half an hour to start and build on it from there.
- Another great resource would be to check out this video about helping your students engage in God’s Word and develop healthy spiritual rhythms. It is a quick clip but dripping with truth and helpful ideas.
- David R. Smith wrote an article on enhancing in-home devotions, and he offers some very helpful tools and tips, as well as some resources for you and your family.
- Some other resources are actual methods for studying the Bible, coupled with helpful questions. There is the O.I.A. Method, the Discovery Bible Study Method, and the SOAP Method. These three methods offer helpful ways to engage with Scripture and to ask questions as well.
- Other helpful digital resources include Bible Gateway, YouVersion, Open Bible, Lumina, and Blue Letter Bible.
Being intentional and pouring into the spiritual growth and development of your family is a priority that we must be running after. My prayer for you is that these resources help you and your family deepen your walk with Jesus, and that we develop families of disciple-makers who are radically changing the world for Jesus.