I read an article on CNN’s website the other day that said that the You Version Bible app has now reached 10 million downloads and I will admit that two of them are me. But in recent months, I have started to consider whether or not to allow students to use them at youth. The more that I think about it, the more I feel convinced that there is no substitute for the real thing and here are a few things that I am considering in the process.
Status: I may seem obvious but in most cases, a students cell phone is the most expensive thing they own, its their treasure and something they have worked very hard for. I respect how important the phone the is to them but I ask them to respect or request to put it away in place of a paper Bible. We do allow phones and have had students text in questions, but for the most part, we ask that they be present and resist outside distractions, allowing them to focus on God.
Less Distractions: I don’t often find students thumbing through Leviticus instead of listening to my Sermons but I know that there are tons of distractions on iPods and cell phones and if I were honest, I would be working my way through Angry Birds some nights. Limiting distractions is helpful to keeping students focused, and help to not be a distraction to those around them.
Bibles are Cumbersome: This is a good thing! I love seeing a student walk in with a Bible under their arm. They are distinct and beautiful, many decorated with stickers, duct tape and they are unmistakable. Carrying your bible around is a statement, it’s a stance, it shows that it is something you value and that you are willing to tote around this obvious symbol of that. Each week we have a “Bible Booya” when students who brought theirs, slap them together, its silly but more students each week are bringing their Bible or ordering one from us.
I am not sure this is a hill am willing to die on, but I might stick around for a while. I feel wholeheartedly that there is value in students turning those pages, making notes, and watching as the pages become worn and tattered from studying them. I just think a worn in Bible is a beautiful thing, how about you?
Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MoreThanDodgeball.com. You can, too! See how right here.