Jeans and sneakers were as abundant as Bibles at Boulevard Baptist Church's annual Bible study this week. "We used to get only one or two teen-agers at our Bible study," said the Rev. Ralph W. Logan, minister of music and education. "So we decided to have separate study groups to try and draw out the youth."
Logan believes the strategy worked.
Despite the week's rain, up to 100 persons attened the Bible study sessions Sunday to Wednesday evenings at the church at 7000 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. "This is the largest turnout we've ever had," said Logan.
While the adults listened to interpretations of the Gospel of Mark in the church sanctuary, as many as 15 youths gathered around Logan, leader of the youth study group, to read Bible passages and discuss "What it Means to Trust God." Elementary school students did the same in their own groups.
Ringing bells and strumming an autoharp kept the preschool children's attention as they reproduced sounds described in the simplified Bible stories being read to them. They also answered questions and sang songs about Jesus' life.
A Bible study is an annual event in most Baptist churches. Following tradition, Boulevard Baptist Church's study was led by a guest minister, Dr. Vernon Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Alexandria.
Cindy Fore, 17, said she has been studying the Bible in Sunday school since she was very young. "I haven't learned much (at the Bible study) that's new," she said, "but in Sunday school we usually go into more detail on specific stories. We learned more general ideas here, like salvation."
"I never read over a lot of the Bible stories before," said Kristi Kennedy, 14, "so this has helped me."
Several members of the youth study group said they came because they wanted to learn more and their friends would be there -- not because their parents forced them.