Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to reach young skeptics?

Bad news.  A couple years ago the Barna group reported that younger generations were more skeptical about the Bible.  They viewed scripture as less sacred, less accurate and teaching the same thing as other religions.

Good news.  But they also found that those younger generations expressed an above average appetite to gaining additional Bible knowledge. David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, stated:

“[The] central theme of young people’s approach to the Bible is skepticism. They question the Bible’s history as well as its relevance to their lives, leading many young people to reject the Bible as containing everything one needs to live a meaningful life. This mindset certainly has its challenges but it also raises the possibility of using their skepticism as an entry point to teaching and exploring the content of the Bible in new ways.”

How?  Here are Kinnaman’s six suggestions on how to engage young skeptics, along with how I am Second’s small group curriculum utilizes these suggestions.

1. Allow them to participate more in the process of learning:  I am Second uses discovery and discussion Bible studies, not “teaching” sessions.

2.  They expect experiences that appear unscripted and interactive.  I am Second group materials are discussion based, so they are interactive.  They also are unscripted.  The group watches an I am Second film, then reads a Bible story about someone with similar issues.  As six questions are discussed, we trust the Holy Spirit to guide the discussion and address needs in the group.  

3.  Allow them to be open and honest with their questions.  These types of questions surface because there is no predetermined “point” being made.  It is fascinating to see God fulfill His promise that His word never returns empty, but always accomplishes the purposes for which He sends it forth.  

4.  Are technologically stimulating.  I am Second uses culturally relevant technology.  Raw and authentic films on our website.  Everything available on smartphones. iPhone and Android apps.  Communication through Facebook and Twitter.  

5.  Done alongside peers and within trusted relationships.  Our materials advocate using the Person of Peace principle from Luke 10.  Which teaches to focus on spiritually open people, then reach their network of friends and family through them.  So the best place to do an I am Second group is alongside a person’s peers and within trusted relationships.  

6.  Give them the chance to be creative and visual.  Go to Facebook or YouTube and search for “I am Second.”  What you will find are lots of Facebook pages about I am Second in cities, campuses and schools.  And even more homemade YouTube videos of people doing their own rendition of an I am Second film. All confirming in their own hearts, and to the world, that they are indeed Second.

More about I am Second groups at
I am Second small group discussion guides are available as free downloads here.

They also may be purchased as printed booklets in our online store at

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