It’s natural for young people to ask big questions about life and faith as they go through the challenging teen years. “Why is life sometimes so tough?”, “How do I know God is real?”, “What should I read in the Bible and how?”
Bible Society has embraced this curiosity as a positive and developed a brand-new tool to help 13 to 18-year-olds dig deeper into the Scriptures. It’s called Qbla (as in Question: Blah, Blah). Qbla is a free app for Apple devices that puts young people in touch with their peers via computers and smartphones.
How do we know when God is real in our life?
When someone asks a question, it goes to a question pool, where one of 27 young Christian “vloggers” around the world can choose to answer it in a short video or “vlog”.
One of the first “vlogs” posted on the app is by youth worker Matt Crook, who works with the Schools Ministry Group in South Australia. “I talked about how do we know when God is real in our life,” he says.
“I said that Paul, one of the first Christians, talks about how God is above all and in all and through all, so God is already here. So that perspective helps us know that God is part of our life and that belief changes how we act and transforms every part of us,” he explains.
Many young Christians acknowledge that the Bible is important, but they struggle to engage with it at any level.
This open and honest interaction via digital devices is a setting that many young people find most helpful when connecting with Scripture. For many young Australians who identify as Christian, the Bible is seen as an old book, full of strange stories and hard-to-understand language that has little relevance to their lives. Many young Christians acknowledge that the Bible is important, but they struggle to engage with it at any level. Invariably, they feel guilty about not reading it regularly – if ever.
“While there are many resources where people can post questions about life and faith, this is the first where you can get a ‘vlog’ response from a young person, telling a story in 90 seconds,” says Adrian Blenkinsop of Bible Society’s Children, Youth and Education team, which has developed Qbla in partnership with Youth for Christ International, with input from school chaplains.
Qbla is just one of several ways Bible Society is working to help young people read the Bible. “We’re developing resources for young people who either can’t or don’t like to read, or who find it impossible to do a daily Bible reading plan,” says Adrian.
He sees Qbla as the perfect resource for school chaplains or Scripture teachers to point students to, then follow up later.