Bible Savvy for Groups & Families
How to Use Bible Savvy Journal in Community Groups
Discuss with your Community Group how you might encourage personal scripture reading through the use of the Bible Savvy Journal. Here are three ways to do so:
1. Check-In Questions
This method combines personal sharing with accountability and can be used as a regular supplement to your study. These questions can be inserted as a meeting kick-off activity or at another convenient point in the agenda:
- How have you read, listened to, or meditated on the Bible in order to feed or grow your faith this week?
- Share one significant truth or application that God brought to your attention through the daily readings.
- Where is God speaking to you in your reading? Is there any area where God is asking you to have more trust in him?
2. Community Group Study
Your Community Group can also study in detail one of the specific Bible Savvy Journal readings since your last meeting. You can find an expanded downloadable version of the COMMA method here and a journaling version here. You may also use these generic COMMA questions:
- What do we know about the context of this passage that might be helpful?
- What themes or words “jump out at you” from this passage?
- What timeless truths do you find in this passage?
- How will you apply one of these timeless truths?
Of course, facilitators should feel free to add their own specific questions as needed or desired.
3. Both of the Above
For a focused use of the Bible Savvy Journal combine both approaches. For breadth, begin your meeting with the Check-In Questions covering all of the readings since your last meeting. Then for depth, drill down on one of the daily readings through the Bible study portion of your meeting.
Focus Prayer on Application
As with any other Community Group study, if group members mention specific applications arising from the study, look to incorporate these applications into group prayer.
How to Use This Journal as a family
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” - Psalm 78:4
We tell the next generation by talking about our personal experiences with God. We tell the next generation by consistently bringing them to church worship services and age-specific ministry environments designed for kids and students. We tell the next generation by teaching them to study and apply the Bible. It is in all these moments that God’s Holy Spirit can best open the eyes and capture the hearts of the kids we love.
Some encouragements for your family
Every member of the family, elementary age and older, should have their own journal to use. Use the EPIC Journals for kids in elementary school. For younger kids, utilize the Family First Look resource passed out at the end of KidsWorld each week.
Read the daily passages together as a family or, depending on the reading level of the kids, each person can read on their own. Do what works best for your family. The key is every person, in a developmentally appropriate way, consistently spending time with God in prayer, reading and, memorizing his Word.
If your family reads privately most days, have a goal to gather as a family at least once or twice a week for Bible reading, discussion and prayer.
Sometimes your kids might not want to participate. Expect some misbehavior and bad attitudes from time to time. Do not let that deter you. Do what is best, not what is easiest. At the same time, give your kids the grace to be kids. Do not expect them to sit still on your couch, fully engaged for long periods of time while you wax eloquently.
Do not wait for a weekly, planned family devotional time to have spiritual conversations with your kids. Elementary age through adults are all reading the same passages and memorizing the same verses.
Find casual times throughout the day/week to discuss the reading or memory verse. Not every discussion about God and the Bible has to happen formally in the same way or place. (See Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
Some sections of the Bible are more exciting to read than others. For example, it can be difficult to read through multiple lists of names, each name seemingly harder to pronounce than the last. Sometimes it is okay to skim as you read. Look for any verses in that day’s reading where insights and applications can be found. If none are readily seen, that might be a good day to go back to the previous Psalms or Proverbs chapter or key in on the memory verse for that day.
Suggested discussion topics and questions
- Anything someone wrote in their journal since you last met that they would like to share.
- Anything someone read that was confusing that they have questions about. It’s okay to respond, “I don’t know” to a question and seek out an answer later. It’s also okay as a parent to bring up something you don’t know and have questions about.
- What was the best or your favorite thing you read this week?
- What action steps does everyone plan to take because of what you read and how can our family help and encourage each other toward that?
- How can we pray for each other this week?
Do not feel like you have to hit on all of those topics each time you meet. Treat each gathering time uniquely. Gauge the length of time and number of topics on how the conversation is going.
Some parts of the Bible are sexual or violent in nature. You might want to read those passages ahead of time and decide how you want to handle them with your kids. You might want to read them together so you can explain and answer questions. You might want to have your child skip that day’s reading altogether.
On days you decide to have them skip the reading because of the graphic content, rather than simply saying, “We’re just not going to read the Bible today,” you might want to have your kids spend some extra time reading and discussing that week’s memory verse, or you might want to have them re-read the previous weekend’s passage from Psalms or Proverbs.