I love taking my Bible to church. When I was a youth pastor, I would look for deals on Bibles in bulk and leave 30 or 40 on a table for youth to grab when the service began. We gave away more Bibles to new students than I can count, and given the opportunity, I would do it all again (thanks for permission to do things like this FPC :). I love when I’m preaching and I hear the flipping of pages. One of my favourite moments in young adult ministry was walking into a coffee shop and seeing a group of my young adult disciples, gathered around a table, studying the Word together. It was wild. I want my love for the scriptures to be contagious, and I prefer the physical book. Every. Time.
You’ve probably noticed that this year the PAONL for the first time included a digital option for their 2021 Bible Reading Plan. It even has videos produced by the Bible Project that help to explain the Bible in the context of the whole story. You can still print off the guide and check the boxes. I enjoy checking boxes way too much, so I understand if this is your preferred method. But you can also join us online on YouVersion and actually track your progress and discuss with up to 150 people at a time. You could read it as a church, or a small group, or a family, or in a discipleship huddle, or solo.
Here are 3 things I love about YouVersion that I just learned recently:
1. You can create YouVersion Events like our PAONL week of prayer for your church to follow on Sundays and beyond that include sermon notes, scriptures, schedules and pictures. It is almost like having a free church app and is SO easy to use. If you need help getting started, feel free to fire off a message.
2. You can add friends, follow along with each other’s progress, keep each other accountable, and even discuss things together. You decide how much to share, but you can keep track of every verse you have ever highlighted and every margin note if you want to. We have had some great discussions so far on the Biblical Storyline Reading Plan.
3. There are thousands of excellent quality devotionals and Bible Reading Guides. A lot of my friends love Bible in One Year with Alpha’s Nicky Gumbel. I know of many pastors who also used their devotionals for midweek encouragement during the shutdown.
Now there is a good reason to get excited when you begin to preach and everyone takes out their phones. I hope it never replaces the sound of the rustling of pages, but I would be so excited to pastor a church where my whole congregation is tracking with me on the YouVersion app and discussing sermon notes and small group content throughout the week. I hope it is a blessing to you as well!