Tag Archives: cbemini

reading the bible with 6th grade guys

my church is working through the community bible experience, a program for reading through the new testament, in small groups, using a particular packaging of the bible that’s more like a book club (stripped of verse numbers and columns and other notes that clog things up). we have hundreds of people engaged in this.

our junior high pastor was smart enough to realize that it was unlikely many of our middle schoolers could or would read the quantity of scripture needed to stay up with the 8-week plan the rest of the church is using. so she, creatively, took the CBEmini version of community bible experience, that The Youth Cartel worked on and promoted (never too late to try out this great, free resource, btw), and created a customized version. CBEmini takes groups on a 9-day journey through luke and acts. but in our middle school ministry, we’re reading through luke and acts over an 8-week span. so the readings each day are substantially shorter (but still a chunk for middle schoolers!).

as a result, each week when our 6th grade guys small group meets in my home, we’re recapping and talking about the passages they read that week. honestly, about 4 or 5 of my 12 guys are earnestly trying to keep up with the readings (and i think those are guys whose parents are doing the full new testament 8-week thing, a good endorsement of parents modeling something for the family). but i’ve noticed a few things:

1. these are the easiest small group times i’ve ever prepped for. the curriculum is the bible. and, each week, i simply select a few small portions from the week’s readings, and we read those aloud together. then, i have a small handful of open-ended questions to get discussion going (stuff like: what did you notice? what might this mean for you?).

2. the guys actually listen! when one of their peers is reading scripture, they seem to automatically understand that they shouldn’t interrupt or crack jokes or take us on wild tangents about what their dog did this week.

3. my guys are incredibly patient with each other. no one laughs when the reader mispronounces something or reads too slowly. really, i’ve never seen them be this gracious with each other.

4. normally our small group time is rather hit-and-miss in terms of substance. but during these weeks, every small group discussion has been rich with insight and exploration.

5. i’m not ready to chuck other curriculum out the window. there are topics we need to talk about in our small group that would be better handled with other approaches. but i’m loving the simplicity and hidden curriculum in this whole thing: beyond the individual insights and comments, we’re teaching these 6th grade guys that reading the bible doesn’t have to be scary or impossible.

i’m lovin’ it (thanks for that, mcdonalds). and i’d encourage you to try something like this.

getting teenagers to read the bible

what youth worker wouldn’t like to find a way to get teenagers engaged in the bible?

that’s why The Youth Cartel partnered with Biblica (formerly International Bible Society) to create CBEmini.

CBEmini is a 9-day starter version of Biblica’s 8-week community bible experience. using a fantastic, stripped-down edition of scripture, without the verse numbers and other distractions (so it reads more like a novel), The Books of the Bible provides a way to read the bible in three ways that circumvent what biblica’s research has found as the major hurdles to bible engagement:
– we read the bible in fragments
– we read the bible without context
– we read the bible in isolation

while the full community bible experience takes groups through the entire new testament in 8 weeks, CBEmini provides youth groups, reading in small groups, a 9-day experience of reading through luke and acts. there’s a full leader’s guide, with an overview and 3 weeks of discussion guides. youth workers can choose to use the free pdf of the scripture (which we provide with the leader’s guide), free email subscriptions, or the free version of The Books of the Bible on YouVersion (the app). or, they can choose to purchase copies of The Books of the Bible new testament for an ultra-low price of $5.99 when you buy a case.

and here’s the best part: the whole thing is FREE!

yup, free. biblica’s desire is purely to help people (and, in the case of CBEmini, youth groups) experience the bible in a way that will shape their lives.

we had over 500 people at the atlanta NYWC sign up for CBEmini. but, of course, many of you weren’t there, and we’d love to have you join us in this extremely cool experience!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP. you can also join us on facebook, or follow on twitter.