As I look at the results from end-season surveys, one of the most significant differences from group to group is the impact of the monthly Scripture memorization. For some groups, memorizing Scripture is the most meaningful element of the mentoring season, while others think it’s a weird question for us to ask since their groups barely discussed it.
For each element of a Radical Mentoring meeting (Reading, Homework, Memorizing Scripture, Community, or Prayer), we’ve heard an argument that “men won’t do it . . .” But in almost every case, the formula for success is simple: if the mentor sticks to the process and holds the mentees accountable, they’ll rise to the challenge and hold up their end of the covenant.
Here are a few other things to consider when it comes to making the most of Scripture memorization with your mentoring groups . . .
- The keyword matters – We include a keyword with each Scripture verse for two reasons: First, keywords create relevance. They remind us of the practical nature of the verses we’re learning. Second, keywords increase our ability to recall the verses. We’re trying to help mentees build a Rolodex of relevant Scripture they can remember and lean on in applicable situations. For me, whenever I’m fearful of something, I instinctively recall 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Why? Because when I memorized it as a mentee in 2002, I associated it with the keyword “fear.”
- Accountability is important – Having each mentee recite the verse, along with its keyword and reference at every meeting creates a level of accountability reflecting the importance of the exercise. When you’re considering your agenda for each meeting, make sure you have enough time for everyone to say the verse. It’s too important to skip or skimp on.
- It must matter to the mentor – If Scripture memory is important to the mentor, then it will be important to the group. If the mentor doesn’t see the relevance of it, then it will be either ignored altogether or thrown in at the last minute. Mentors, if you’re uncomfortable with this exercise or find it hard to memorize things, that’s ok, but you need to push past that and lead on this. Otherwise, your mentees will lose out.
- Tools are helpful – Memorizing can be genuinely hard for some people. Don’t let that be a barrier for diving into God’s Word. And even for those who may not struggle as much, using tools to memorize can be extremely helpful. There are a number of helpful apps like Remember Me or The Bible Memory App. Or some mentors like printing off little cards with the verse on it that their mentees can use to study. We’ve got a template for that here.
- Don’t be afraid to go deeper on the Scripture – If you have a little teacher in you, this is an okay time to bring it out. Don’t lecture or break down each line of the verse, but if you have some short, practical insight that will help your group internalize these truths, share it. Or if you want your groups to dig a little deeper into each specific Scripture, instruct them to do some study in the context of the verse and come prepared to share a 5-minute explanation to the group. (Note: If you do this, you may want to have only one or two guys share each month. Having everyone share could eat up a lot of extra minutes)
Remember, the goal isn’t to memorize Scripture for the sake of it. You want your mentees to understand that the Word of God is alive. You will begin to hear stories from your mentees about times when they remembered one of their verses at just the right moment or when they were able to use a verse to encourage someone else.
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