If there’s one place young people turn to when they’ve got questions, it’s the web. And that’s where Bible Society has a brand new tool for getting 13-18 year olds to dig deeper into the Scriptures.
It’s called Qbla (as in Question: Blah, Blah). Qbla is a free app that enables young people to communicate with their peers between digital devices like computers and smartphones. It has short videos (vlogs) where they ask questions as well as respond to different questions around God, faith and the Bible. In this peer-to-peer environment, Christian young people share their responses to a range of topics from “What should I read in the Bible, and why?” to “Why is life sometimes so tough?” This open and honest interaction is the setting that many young people find most helpful when connecting with Scripture.
Bible Society, working with chaplaincy providers, continues to develop Qbla as young people engage with it and provide feedback. The project came about after research into the state of Bible engagement among young Australians painted a very grim picture.
For many young people in Australia who identify as Christians, the Bible is seen as an old book, full of strange stories and hard-to-understand language that has very 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 at not reading it regularly – if ever. Even with easy access to smartphones and the many Bible apps that can send small portions of Scripture to them, many young Christians (and certainly non-Christians) rarely read them.
Qbla is just one of a number of ways Bible Society is working to address this issue. “We’re developing resources for young people who either cant, or don’t like to read, or who find it impossible to do a daily Bible reading plan,” says Adrian Blenkinsop of Bible Society’s Children, Youth and Education (CYE) team. “They’re for those daydreamers, those creative thinkers, and those young people who ask hard questions as they seek to understand for themselves.”
Qbla is specifically designed for use in public schools, where a chaplain or Scripture teacher may be restricted in how they can respond to questions around God and the Bible. They can however point students to Qbla, encouraging them to hear what their peers think about different questions, and then following up later.
The CYE team encourages young Christian vloggers to join the group of regulars who are already giving Qbla a go.
If you’d love to be involved but don’t pass the age test, perhaps the question to consider is: would you help develop Qbla by making a tax-deductible donation?
For more Bible Society youth resources, click here.