The chorus went something like, "Read your Bible, pray every day, and youll grow in grace ". The daily reading of the Word of God is a necessary discipline in living for God. For most people it can be something that is easy to start but harder to maintain, especially for younger Christians. Thirsty4God is the name given to a John Ritchie Ltd project which has the aim of encouraging young Christians to read the Bible on a daily basis. There are many daily reading helps available but which originate in the United States. It seemed that there was an opportunity to bring together a daily reading scheme which was written by believers in assembly fellowship who are involved in Bible Classes and youth fellowships around the UK. It also soon became obvious that such a project needed to be effectively communicated to young Christians. Most teenagers today communicate with each other by e-mail, texting, or through the internet. In addition to producing monthly booklets, these means of communication have been incorporated in this project.
Although the emphasis of the project is on the web-based delivery of the daily reading material, it is not exclusively web-based. There will be a booklet published on a monthly basis which will have thirty daily readings. It will be A5 in size and incorporate features such as a couple of historical pages giving information about the particular book or Bible character upon which the daily Bible readings are based.
The booklets are designed to provide a daily Bible reading and short comment from mainly younger brethren who have not written before, yet have much to offer teenagers and young Christians in terms of practical and helpful comment on selected Scriptures.
Who are the writers?
There is a tendency for younger Christians to listen and read what those near to their peer group have to say or write. One reason for this may be that there is a perception that someone who is around their own age can appreciate the pressures, opportunities, and temptations available to their generation. Having fairly recent experience of the problems which teenagers face, these writers are able to comment on Scripture and bring an application to the daily lives of younger Christians. Many of these brethren have direct weekly involvement with teenagers in Bible Classes and assembly activities in their area. Fifty writers have committed to the project. Each writer is providing a week of readings per year and the aim is to cover the New Testament and nine character studies from the Old Testament over a three-year period.
The articles are approximately 300 words in length and are not intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive commentary on the New Testament or Old Testament characters covered. The aim of the articles is to pick up on a verse, expression, or incident in the passage covered and bring a practical application which will be helpful to a young Christian. In doing so it is hoped that those who use the web site and booklets will have an interest stirred in the Scriptures which will encourage them to read and consider far more than is contained in the articles.
The Thirsty4God.co.uk Web Site
Thirsty4God is essentially a web-based project. In order to produce a good web site which could act as the delivery platform for daily Bible readings, some brethren from Ireland, Scotland, and England, who have IT skills, have designed and built a web site which has daily Bible readings, Bible studies, a blog, links to other web-based Christian resources, gospel material, profiles of the writers, and many other features. It is designed to change on a daily basis and to incorporate the capacity to expand into other areas of communication such as pod-casting.
The internet is a place where good and bad things can be found. Browsing is the pastime of many who wander about cyberspace searching for answers to questions and curiosities. With this in mind there is a gospel section which is aimed at the casual surfer who may stumble across it. Short gospel articles, links and some interactive material will be available and will also be changed on a regular basis.
Delivery of Thirsty4God by e-mail
One key feature of the project is the delivery of daily Bible readings to the e-mail accounts of those who subscribe. Young Christians may forget to lift a Bible throughout a day, but most of them will check their "hotmail" accounts several times a day and log onto their favourite web sites to see if there is anything new. It is this curiosity and communication through laptops and phones which the project seeks to utilize for the spiritual benefit of young Christians.
Blogging is also something which is a very popular pastime of many younger Christians. The term may be unfamiliar but is simply a name which has been derived from "web log" and refers to a diary or log which people have on the internet. It seemed to have its original use when someone went on a trip or did something for charity and wanted to keep people at home up to date with their activities. Rather than write or e-mail many people, they created a web site which people had access to and on which they posted daily entries with their news. The online diaries of thousands provide a daily or weekly distraction for many. Having looked into the whole blogging culture it seemed to be an opportunity to connect the young readers of Thirsty4God with some of the writers and let them share a little of their testimony and daily service for the Lord. It is good to set before young Christians the good, and hopefully inspiring, example of slightly older Christians who have participated in the writing process. Teenagers are often at an impressionable stage. Good role models who can show the reality of living for Christ as a student, office or factory worker, evangelist, or in some other occupation will be a positive example to them. It is hoped that the up to date testimonies of the writers will be interesting and encouraging for the readers.
Thirsty4God Bible studies
In addition to the daily readings, there are more detailed Bible studies on important basic Bible topics. Jack Hay has provided excellent studies on subjects such as baptism, head covering, fellowship, Bible study, and many other topics. It is hoped that these will be profitable for young believers with an appetite to discover a little more of what the Bible teaches on these vital subjects. Other writers who have had material published by John Ritchie Ltd have also agreed to its inclusion in this section of the web site, and it is hoped to have a continually updated and changing resource of good Bible studies.
The aim of Thirsty4God is clear: to encourage young Christians to read the Bible every day. What a blessing it would be for young believers to develop and maintain the discipline of daily reading! We are seeking to encourage Bible Class leaders and assemblies to use the web site, e-mails, booklets, and other resources as they work with teenagers in their area. In addition, the booklets and web facilities are to be made available throughout the UK and beyond to assemblies and any place where young believers may find it.