According to a recent study by Lifeway research, 66 percent of students who attended church at least twice a month during high school will stop attending by the time they turn 22. According to another study by Lifeway Research, the number one predictor of spiritual maturity is reading the Bible on a daily basis. Put simply, reading and studying the Bible are the practices that have the most impact on spiritual growth. But the study found that only 19 percent of churchgoers read the Bible daily.
If you are like me, when you read these kinds of statistics, your first reaction is to assume these stats refer to other churches but not yours. However, if I am honest, I personally know far too many students from my own ministries that are no longer active in the church. One would be too many. So rather than assume that these stats don’t apply to us, we ought to consider what steps we might take to reverse this trend.
In the most recent study, not surprisingly, those students who read the Bible regularly were less likely to leave the church. This tells us something that we really should already know—one of the most important things you can do as a student leader is to encourage your students to regularly, consistently, and fervently study God’s Word.
We know God’s Word is inspired (2 Tim. 3:16), living and effective (Heb. 4:12), and essential to all elements of spiritual growth (2 Tim. 3:16-17). In other words, your students need God’s Word and they need you to encourage and challenge them to engage it regularly like Paul did for Timothy (2 Tim. 2:15)—lest they depart from the truth (2 Tim. 2:18).
These realities are what spurred us on to develop the Daily Discipleship Guide for Explore the Bible Students. The Daily Discipleship Guide provides students with five days of daily Bible readings. However, we know that merely reading the Bible is not enough (James 2:19-20). It must impact our hearts such that it directs and informs our actions. Therefore, these readings are guided such that they help students make sense of the Bible and learn how to understand it and apply its teaching to their daily lives.
We hope and pray that this resource equips you and your students to study the Bible faithfully and consistently. The more we raise up students who love God’s Word, the more likely we will see students who develop a lifelong faith and desire to participate in the mission God has given us of making disciples of all nations. Here’s a video that explains the Daily Discipleship Guide more, and you can find more information and can purchase the Daily Discipleship Guide here.
Drew Dixon is the editor of Explore the Bible Students at Lifeway Christian Resources. He is also co-founder of Love Thy Nerd, a ministry dedicated to being the love of Jesus to nerds and nerd culture. Drew has also worked in student ministry in various capacities including as a student and family pastor for over a decade.