An Adventist schoolboy in Queensland, Australia, is conducting Bible studies during lunchtimes for his schoolmates. A group started by 15-year-old Byron Tolhurst and some of his peers has about 40 students attending, and numbers are growing weekly.
“Our student leadership team had been praying about ways we could influence and impact our school community,” said Tolhurst, who is middle school captain at King’s Christian College on the Gold Coast. “We identified the need for more students to be passionate about reading the Bible during their early teenage years.”
Tolhurst is part of a Bible Discovery Reading group at his teen Sabbath School, so he proposed using this Bible study method, and his peers loved the idea. They held planning meetings and launched in Term 2, naming the group “Faith in Following”. The group is completely organised and led by the students.
“Students quickly began to attend, showing passion and a hunger to read the Bible,” Tolhurst said. “The group quickly grew in size so our leadership team decided to split into girls’ and boys’ groups of around 20.”
While Tolhurst’s school has strong Christian foundations, not all students have a faith background. “My classes are shared with many different Christian faith backgrounds, including those with no faith and those who consider themselves atheist,” he said. “I have developed new friendships through the group, and students who would not normally be friends have connected. More recently, a quarter of the students attending are without Christian backgrounds, showing curiosity and a real desire to learn.”
Tolhurst has never led Bible studies previously, but he says he has been part of multiple Bible study groups with great mentors.
“This background, and the simplicity of the Discovery Bible Reading method, gave me the understanding needed to lead within my school community,” he said.
“The Bible Discovery Reading method is engaging, inclusive, and creates thought-stimulating conversation. It makes reading God’s Word simple to understand but leaves you with a deep and thoughtful perspective.
“The boys in my small group respond really well to the program as it directs the flow of conversation in meaningful ways. I’m really impressed with the ideas that all of the boys contribute, even those at the beginning of their faith journey.
“Each week, I give the boys’ group challenges to complete based on the theme of the passage and encourage each student to take the knowledge gained and be a positive influence in our school community.”