Monthly Archives: May 2014

Youth Curriculum Review Series (2013-14 Edition)

Curriculum Review:   Do You Know This Man? By Lifeway Christian Resources

The Good:

This ended up being one of my favorite series I’ve taught. The curriculum does a great job, first of knownall, in engaging culture. There are quotes from a wide range of celebrities, athletes and historical figures, from Mike Tyson to George W. Bush. Now that is a range of voices.

Additionally, it centers on a specific passage of Scripture, and provides easy teaching points from that passage. The points are already established for you, and it doesn’t force you to come up with your own teaching outline.

The activity pages are a thing of beauty. There is so much creativity there, and provides multiple avenues of learning. Whether your students are visual, auditory, or hands-on, you got it all in these lessons. There are also additional resources available online.

The Bad:

The series was a bit short for my liking. So I decided to stretch the mid-week discussion into a second week of material. It took a little creativity, but with a little work, there was enough material within the primary and mid-week curriculum to make two significant teaching lessons.

The Scriptural depth is lacking at times. Although it does a good job of diving deep within the main teaching passage, it lacks parallel Scripture to add to the subject at hand.

The Grade: B+

The Scriptural depth could use some improvement in areas, but if you are willing to dig a little deeper, this curriculum is all you need to provide a dynamite study of the precious Savior. With visuals out your ears, compact outlines, activities, and cultural parallels, you are set. I fully recommend this curriculum for a youth study on Jesus.

EXTRAS:

Videos: Falling Plates; Compassion; Something More; Resurrection

Series Bumpers/Intro: That’s My King; Jesus Changes Everything

Pictures:  Different Cultures Jesus

 

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Book Review: Inter-Generational Youth Ministry

Book Review:  Inter-Generational Youth Ministry by Mel Walker

The Good: 

Intergenerational Cover FinalThose in youth ministry are up to our ears in statistics of high school and young adults leaving the church. True, statistics tell a story, and are valuable in evaluating cultural trends. However, statistics are like a home run hitter that only hits home runs when no one is on base. It is helpful, but it will rarely give your team the win. Statistics are helpful, but they rarely get results. That is, unless you couple those statistics with solutions. When you provide solutions, you have a book worth reading.

This book begins with a youth culture history lesson. It was fascinating, and set up the rest of the book perfectly. In fact, I found it so helpful, I used much of the material in my message at the teen/senior citizen luncheon. It was a perfect tie in of generations. Basically, I gave the history of youth ministry, the current state of youth ministry, and what you as the elder generation can do to help.

In the following chapters, each ministry of the church is dissected and examined. From children’s ministry to the senior saints, the evaluation of the current church models were scrutinized respectfully, and given helpful solutions to issues that exist in churches across the nation.

As a reader of scores of youth ministry books, what separates the good from the bad is the “how”. Sure, anyone can observe and articulate the problems that exist in youth ministry. Anyone can verbalize problems like a popular news network. But what makes this a good youth ministry book, is it provides the “how”. Each chapter includes multiple, practical steps to implement the solution to the existing issues. In addition to the how, each solution is accompanied with Biblical support. What a combo! So, when you as a youth worker, youth pastor, church staff member, parent, or church member begin to employ some of these solutions in your church and inevitably get the “why” question. You now have practical reasons and Biblical reasons for the changes and new ministry practices you are implementing in your church. That’s what I call armed and dangerous…OK, maybe I should stick with practical and Biblical.

The Bad:

Frankly, it was difficult to find the bad in this book (you will see why when I give out the grade), but there was one thing. On occasion, there is a repetition of illustrations or concepts. Some of this, I realize, was done for emphasis of certain points. However, there were other idioms or illustrations that were repeated, and could have used some more originality.

The Grade: A

This book is a MUST READ for all those involved in the church. Notice I did not just say those involved in youth ministry. This is an all-hands-on-deck experience. This is a total church makeover that is worth a look. These concepts and ideas have been part of my ministry philosophy for years, and for someone to write down specific ways to implement them, it is like long-lost friends being reunited.

Not only is this book immensely practical and useful, but as was mentioned before, it is Biblical. Without the Biblical support, you could get excited about new ministry ideals, but they would have no weight, no substance, and fade away like a passing fad. The Bible’s eternal principles are worth exploring, and are priceless when a writer can articulate those in your context, and flesh our practical ways to accomplish those principles.

Honestly, this was one of my favorite youth ministry books I have read. It deserves to be put into practice in your ministry today. It’s time we do something about the problems of our young people leaving the church, instead of just pointing out the problem. This book will give you solutions, and step-by-step instructions to putting those solutions to work.

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Book Review: Lead Your Family Like Jesus

Book Review:  Lead Your Family Like Jesus

Lead-Your-Family1

The Good: This book provides positive instruction for the parent. Ranging from topics of goal-oriented parenting and developing family values, the parent is given wise advice throughout the book. It is more positive reinforcement than life-altering, but still provides value for the parent looking to improve in their parenting.  The idea of post-it notes for positive reinforcement was a great idea, and I plan to use that.  The Pause & Reflect sections are very useful to gauge where parenting help is needed.  Also, while the versus needed a little more depth, they do provide great basis for parenting Bible studies in the future.

The Bad: Sad to say, this book lacks spiritual depth at times. The authors have written books that have been popular in the business world, and that approach does not translate well in leading like Jesus. Basically, without the spiritual depth, it often acted like a parent self-help book. And when it came to discipline, I found it somewhat weak. It often caved to the thinking of discussing problems rather than providing consequences for actions.

The Grade: C. The title was a bit misleading. With the title, the reader is expecting a theological study of Jesus in regards to parenting. What the reader gets is a practical, day-to-day instructional book on parenting. While many of the points are helpful, I was hoping for something with a little more spiritual depth.

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Wedding Rehearsal Tips

  1. Let’s get this party started. Gather entire wedding party together at front. If outdoors, possibly meet in the tent or in small room for instructions.
  1. My name is…Introduce yourself. Explain you are the pastor of the wedding. Give the impression you are happy to be there.
  1. Meet & Greet. Before you pray, start off by having Bride introduce her family and bridesmaids.  Next, have the Groom introduce his family & groomsmen.
  1. Prayer. God should be at the center of the marriage and wedding ceremony, and the wedding rehearsal should be no different.
  1. Twice is Nice. This is how this will work. 1st run through will be a “rough draft”. Get all the kinks out, and it typically ends up being gigglefest 1995. Then run it through a 2nd time as the “REAL DEAL”. Exactly like you would have it on the wedding day.
  1. Introduce the Enforcer. Introduce the Wedding Coordinator. The wedding coordinator will get everyone in their places and get started. Also be sure to explain if you have ANY questions/concerns on wedding day, see the wedding coordinator, not the bride or groom.
  1. Leave some Space. Make sure to leave a place in your notebook to jot down some notes for tomorrow’s wedding.rehearsal

 

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