I know that this is an issue that is fairly rampant throughout the United States in all age groups, but lately I have noticed an epidemic of Biblical illiteracy amongst the teens in our group. And not just here, but in previous positions as well (though our ministry now is a tad more literate than our last position).
We have a small (around 8 ) group of teens who stop by our house each Friday for a Bible Study. About 25% of our teens bring their Bibles with them to church services and our discipleship programming. But when it comes to our teens reading Scripture on their own, it does not register as a necessary practice. Or it registers as important, but not important enough to sacrifice time in other areas. For instance, while waiting for a parent to pick her daughter and niece up tonight, one said that she had not had time to read Scripture, and the other admits that an iCarly marathon (ugh. I was going to include a link, but decided to save you the death of your brain cells instead) was more pressing than reading her Bible last week (a marathon on one day takes time from the whole week? You do the math. I am not even trying on this one).
I have tried guided journaling, Lectio Divina, giving students different translations of Scripture that are easier for them to understand, offering guided studies – all to little avail. Granted, ministry here is still new and needs time to grow roots (I am greatly encouraged by our Bible study time and the questions raised through our reading together). But why do we Americans have to compartmentalize and refuse to invest in our faith? How can we be expected to understand and grow in our faith without reading Scripture for ourselves?
So what do you do to encourage students to spend time in Scripture?
(And if you are wondering what illiterate means, go here. Pay attention to the second and third definitions.)