Perry, age 17, is one of more than half a million students who joined the movement for Bring Your Bible to School Day—an annual, student-led event sponsored by Focus on the Family.
The event empowers Christian students to take the lead in speaking God’s grace and truth into the culture around them by taking a simple, first step: bringing God’s Word to school and starting conversations about it with friends. As this year’s event draws closer—it’s just around the corner on Thursday, Oct. 3—Perry provides some timely insights for Christians of all ages on living out your faith.
1. Look for open-door opportunities.
God put it on his heart that there was a whole lot more to going to school every day “than just you wake up, do the same thing every single day and nothing changes. And nothing changes in yourself and nothing changes with the people around you,” shares Perry, a high school student in Colorado. He realized he could have an eternal impact by just being ready to walk through the doors God opened.
“Being [at school] five days a week, seven hours a day… God was showing me that this was an outlet – an opportunity to share the Word with everyone around me.”
One of those open doors was the chance to start a student-led Bible study before class. “I expected two, maybe three people at the most.” But twice that many started “coming before school, waking up early, and having to navigate through the school and find me, whatever new classroom I'd found that day for a Bible study. …I started going through John.
“We only got through three or four chapters within four months because of how much conversation came from just reading through the verses.”
2. Don’t be afraid to start conversations.
The Bible turned out to be a great conversation starter: “I knew this girl… she was just really curious. Nobody would really even acknowledge the fact that I had my Bible on my desk …but then, out of nowhere, she was asking questions and starting a conversation. And then other people started joining in.”
Sometimes, you plant seeds without realizing it, he says, even though you might not see the results immediately. For example, he recalled another classmate who was an atheist and liked to debate with him about the existence of God. After countless conversations, God convicted Perry to start praying for the student instead of just debating.
At the end of the school year, “he just came one day and was like, ‘Hey, I'm a Christian. I believe in all this.’ And he started asking me questions about Christianity and all that arguing that we had, later on, it all turned out to be that God was really challenging him.”
3. Develop your own devotions—it’s okay to start small!
Even though Perry had a personal goal of putting God first, he faced significant challenges in high school. “Coming into my junior year, I had a lot of expectations. A lot of those expectations failed.” But the hardest challenge was when “my mom got diagnosed with cancer and it was really hard. It was really sudden.”
His mother’s diagnosis rocked him to the core. “All my expectations falling at once, it kind of just led me into a hole. It’s hard to get back up again after disappointment… And I kind of just wanted to drop it all. If God would drop my expectations, then I’m just going to drop all the responsibilities that he placed in my hands.”
Perry’s dad saw his struggles and offered some advice: “He said, ‘I can tell that you’re not reading the Bible. You need to wake up in the morning and read 10 verses a day. If you read 10 verses a day and you become interested, you might read past that—you may read 20 verses. You might read the whole chapter. And if you don’t have enough focus [that day], just read those 10 verses.’”
Perry admits it took him a while to get into the habit, but once he did, he noticed a change. “I didn’t need to fight against anything that day. Everything seemed to kind of flow in order, and that doesn’t happen because of circumstances. That happens because of God.”
4. Depend on God’s Word and not your own strength.
“God is right there with me. If I just depend on Him, depend on His Word, then all those other things seem to fade away. And the only thing I need is Him and He [is my] my top priority,” said Perry. “And that’s what really got me through that – is just practically digging into God’s Word.”
He also relied on God’s promises in Matthew 7:7, which encourages him to “pray and ask God directly for ways that “I really want to reach people today.’”
5. Be authentic—your faith is who you are.
Perry has taken his Bible to school a long time – ever since he was in middle school. But it wasn’t easy for him at the beginning. Like lots of teens, he felt the pressure to fit in. “It was a struggle for me to try to impress people or be something that I wasn’t.”
But he felt God challenging him to be open and authentic about his faith, rather than hiding it. So he began bringing his Bible with him every day to school.
“I want to be real at school, and at church, and with my friends.”
That’s one reason Perry will be joining hundreds of thousands of other doing the same on Oct. 3.
What You Can Do: Will you join us in praying for students like Perry taking part in this year’s Bring Your Bible to School Day? Ask the Lord to give them courage and grace as they interact with their classmates and share His hope. If you and your kids want to take part, you can sign up for a free How-to Guide, and when you do, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.!