Tag Archives: Theology

Youth Curriculum Review Series – 2015 Edition

As mentioned in a previous blog article “Why You Should Teach Theology to Teenagers”, I decided to bravely go where few youth pastors have gone before…a series on theology.  Theology and doctrine are the foundation of our beliefs.  And it is what you believe and who you believe in that drives how you will live your life.  This makes this theology series called “Theology of a Teenager” a potentially life-changing series.  So, realizing the importance of these lessons, I decided to use several resources to enhance my study and prep for each lesson.  Below is a review of the resources used…

Curriculum Review:  Theology Resources

The Good:

41meerfMKnL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_Clear by Chris Folmsbee.  This curriculum does  a great job of breaking down each major doctrine in a very understandable way.  The writer presents the material in a way that is very teachable with workable outlines.  This resource was used heavily in the outline phases of the lessons.  It often hit the major points that I desired to discuss and helped me narrow down my discussion points.  Also, Folmsbee does a great job of integrating Scripture throughout.  Large volume of Bible passages to work with in every chapter was very helpful.

51Sk5VTCtzL._AC_UL320_SR212,320_Practical Christian Theology by Floyd H. Barackman.  Why is this on the list you ask?  While it is true, this is not a teen curriculum.  However, this was very helpful in bringing it a notch.  I warned the students that there would be challenging lessons throughout.  But rather than getting eye rolls, I got enthusiasm and teens who were up to the challenge.  With this book, you are able to dive a little deeper and challenge your students.  I found the students appreciated me not dumbing down the material, but taking it to a higher level.  Those that were still new, I still had balanced lesson with the Gospel clear throughout the series.

516Sh0GA57L._SX404_BO1,204,203,200_Creative Bible Lessons in Essential Theology by Andrew Hedges.  Compared to the two above, this resource was not used as much.  But, this curriculum was valuable for other reasons.  It provided great discussion questions to keep the lessons interactive, rather than a long lecture.  Also, each lesson has a “breaking the ice” section which was helpful to bridge a game time or announcements to the lesson time.

The Bad:

41ESJRxLh3L._SL500_SY375_BO1,204,203,200_  I feel bad for even putting this in the bad category because of all that Kara Powell has contributed to youth ministry.  But I have to be honest, and it is not entirely her fault.  This resource was a hand-me-down from 1999.  So the material is a bit out of date.  There has been quite a progression of technology since then, and it puts many of the illustrations and teacher resources non-usable.  Also, the curriculum is very difficult to use and many of the teaching ideas require prep time and a great deal of materials.  This is not a curriculum tool that I would suggest using for a theology series.

Videos:

Introduction to Series:

Theology Matters – Dug Down Deep – Joshua Harris; #truth Jesus Wins

Other Illustration Videos: 

Does God Existevan-almighty-movie-clip-screenshot-you-did-good_large

Does God Exist – Albert Einstein

Evan Almighty Speaks With God

That’s My King

Heaven – It’s Not What You Think

 

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Why You Should Teach Theology To Teenagers

PosterTheology to teenagers? Are you sure? We are already seeing teenagers leave the church, aren’t you just going to add to the problem by teaching doctrine and a whole bunch of topics that end in –ology?

Actually it is quite the opposite. Teenagers need a foundation. They need to know the basic doctrines of the Bible in order to properly understand the rest of the pages written by God.

There is a reason that Genesis chapter 1, the very beginning of the Bible, begins with “In the beginning God”. God is the beginning to all knowledge, to all things spiritual. He is the answer to life’s important questions.

If anything, theology should be a place where we begin, not a place we fear to step. Do not underestimate what your students can learn. Do not overestimate what your students know now…

In fact, below is a simple theological survey, with the results from my youth ministry. Feel free to use it and maybe you will see the need to teach theology. Or it may point to specific doctrinal issues that you need to address. Feel free to share how it goes…

Survey Results PDF

 

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Book Review: Excellence in Preaching

Book Review:  Excellence in Preaching by Simon Vibert

excellence in preachingThe Good:

Bite-Size Candy. Have you noticed how all the favorite candies are going to bite-size now? You can get all your favorite treats in a little bag, all in bite size nuggets. Basically, it allows you to think you are eating less calories, while eating more than you would in a king-size pack. Essentially, that is what happened with this book. I found myself enjoying the “bite-sized” chapters, hoping to just digest one chapter at a time. And I found myself wanting to read more than my original appetite dictated.

Better Preacher Infomercial. You can almost hear in the background as you read, “Will make you a better preacher, or your money back!” You know what, this book could deliver on this promise. It truly holds golden principles that, if you put them into practice, will allow you to be a better preacher.

Come Along for the Ride. Each chapter summarizes sermons from some of the best preachers of God’s Word on the planet (Mr. Vibert, you forget Matt Chandler on this list…think about that for your sequel). The chapters take the strengths of each preacher and teach you how to implement those strengths into your preaching. Also, the author does a good job of keeping balance for the reader, understanding it is not intending to produce clones of these preachers, by following every aspect of their personality and preaching mannerisms.

The Bad:

Can’t Have Just One. It’s like Lay’s potato chips (can you tell I’m trying to eat right this week), you can’t eat just one. Same with the sermon summaries. Many times, the author chooses just one sermon to give illustrations of the preacher’s strengths. In my opinion, the chapters that mentioned other sermons brought more credibility to the instruction.

Pace Yourself. File this in the “not the author’s fault” category. But it would be wise to pace yourself. With the amount of “tips” this book provides, it would be wise to take them in bite-size chunks (again with the food!)

The Grade: B+

Every preacher should at least read the conclusion of the book. In fact, I’ll be sharing with my senior pastor the “12 Things Preachers Do Well” this week. Stay tuned, next week I will give you those 12 tips. You won’t want to miss those.

As I mentioned before, it was a fun ride. To be able to learn from some of the best preachers, and to have someone spell out what makes them good, makes it worth a read. I’ve got a long way to go in my preaching, but this was worth it for the training. I’m blessed to have a mentor to help me in my sermon prep and delivery, if you do not have someone like this, allow this book to mentor you and develop your preaching.

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