Tag Archives: Zondervan

Book Review: The Stick Faith Guide For Your Family

Book Review: The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family by Dr. Kara Powell5258580_orig

The Good:

Real. This book could not get any more real. We are talking about real advice from real families. This book is essentially a collection of advice from parents for the sole purpose of building a faith that sticks in their kids. This is not advice from a panel of psychologists or “parent experts”…no these are real parents that are in the trenches just like you grasping at ideas that will really work and help their child develop their faith.

Practical (Extremely). This may be the most practical parenting book I have ever picked up. From the very start, I was underlining ideas that I could implement right away. In fact, the author even warns the reader to take it slow and just take 5 ideas at a time. Otherwise, it could be overwhelming since there are so many good ideas. And since there are so many ideas, it is easy for any family to find something that fits their family situation (i.e. single parent homes, teenager-filled home, young children, etc.)

Ministry Treasures. From chapter 7 which talks about the elder generation’s impact on kids, to the chapter on mentoring…these can be very valuable in building a ministry that is inter-generational. Pastors, youth workers, children’s ministry volunteers…these are pages that need to be read and ideas that can be implemented tomorrow.

Gone too soon. Although I am a parent of young kids, everyone tells me the time goes so quickly. These pages are full of ideas to value the time and use it to have a real impact for your child’s relationship with God and others.

The Bad:

Occasional Bad Advice. Here are a few examples: #1: Allow your child to seek another church/skip youth group – sure this is a little out of context, but did not like reading it, nonetheless. #2: Apologize – Not found in the Bible. Encourage forgiveness over apologizing.

Wide Denomination Range. This is more of a warning for the reader. This is to a wide (Christian-based) denomination audience, so as long as you know that going in, it will prevent confusion.

Could use a little more grace. Many parents are suffering having a prodigal son or daughter. I think this book is missing a chapter on ministering to those that fade away or are rebelling. And also a reinforcement of the idea of there is no perfect plan, but it is of God’s grace. This is in there, but could use more of these types of encouragement and reminders throughout.

The Grade: B.

In the fall, I will be recommending this book to my parents as a valuable resource, and I recommend it to you as well. Powell provides incredible ideas for parents to have a deep impact on their children’s faith. I can almost guarantee any parent can find at least 5 ideas from this book that they can start doing immediately. And everyone is different, so this book provides an incredible variety of families and ideas for everyone to try. The realness, the variety, and the potential impact on children make this book a highly recommended parenting source.

 

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Finding the Right Youth Curriculum

Last week, I wrote a very convincing blog on why you should consider using curriculum. This week is a brief list of websites that will help you find the right curriculum. Even if you already using a year-long curriculum like XP3 or LIVE, you most likely have other teaching times. So, you inevitably have the daunting task of searching the internet for curriculum that will fit your topic, your teaching style, your group size…and the list goes on. Below is a list of websites that I have used in the past.online support

Quick tip: Open all websites, type in the topic or Book study in the search box provided, and compare the products found.

Youth Specialties. What is nice about Youth Specialties is explained in their organization’s name. They specialize in youth ministry material. Several of these other companies have a wider range of material, which does not make them any better or worse, but I feel Youth Specialties garners trust with their focused material on youth. You will not have to worry whether the material is designed for older or younger audiences, but is tailored specifically for youth ministry.

Group. What I like about their website and curriculum is it is tailored for a specific program. Whether it is a small group setting, mission trip training, sermons, or even junior high or high school material, the resource organization on their website is very helpful. Group also provides a LIVE curriculum that will last the entire junior high and high school years – 72/144 weeks respectively.

Regular Baptist Press. This one might not be as well-known, but it happens to be my favorite. Out of all the curriculum I have used, this is the most user-friendly and creative. If I ever have a guest speaker for a series, I typically will try to give them this curriculum. The only downside is there typically is not DVD-based curriculum, if you are into those, and also the topics are somewhat limited. But if you find something that fits your topic, I would strongly recommend purchasing or at least using it as a supplement material to your lessons.

Simply Youth Ministry. See Youth Specialties description. This is essentially the youth department of Group. So much of what is on this website overlaps with Group and their products. But I still go here to make sure I didn’t miss any resources.

Zondervan. This may have gone under the radar to many of you, because Zondervan is often viewed as a publisher or regular books, not necessarily curriculum. I’ve found some great material here, including some incredibly creative DVD-series that my student have enjoyed. Worth a look.

Word of Life. When a youth worker or a new youth pastor is looking for a curriculum that is already designed, planned, and much of the pre-work is done already…this is where I point them. Word of Life has done a great job at providing curriculum that saves the teacher time in lesson planning, but also provides quality teaching and material for the lesson prep and study time.

What say you?  What curriculum websites do you use when you are searching for the right curriculum.  searchconfusion

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

Curriculum Review: Sticky Faith by Dr. Kara Powell & Brad Griffin (Zondervan Press)SONY DSC

The Good:

Creativity. The creativity has to be the first thing that stands out to me. You can tell right off the bat that the writers have experience in youth ministry. This is not purely a lecture series, but an interactive teaching approach that is easy for the teacher to use. The illustrations were dynamite, and I was rarely disappointed in the variety.

Purpose. The premise falls in line with my youth ministry philosophy. As it says in Colossians 1:23, the goal in youth ministry should be: lead teenagers to a faith that lasts, that continues, and in this case, that sticks. With so many students leaving church following graduation, there must be something that we could present to our departing seniors that will help change the trend. This curriculum aims to buck the trend, and point the students towards a faith that isn’t tied to youth group.

Easy to Use. No matter the experience level of the teacher, this curriculum was pretty easy to use. Sure, there was study involved, but even if a parent wanted to use this with their upper-classmen, it could happen.

The Bad:

The video clips. I wasn’t too impressed with the content of the clips, and was even concerned at some of the wording for young Christians. Be careful, and do not feel pressured to use the clips. At times they add to the teaching, and other times they are simply not needed.

Activities. Some of the activities or worship practices were out of my comfort zone. It’s good to have creativity, but again, don’t feel pressured in doing something that may cause more confusion than growth. This was rare in the series, but it did appear.

The Grade: B

The variety and ease of use allowed this to be a positive grade. There were some flaws, and the spiritual depth needed an extra boost every now and then, but for the most part, I enjoyed the series. In fact, I was able to use this material for a transition class where I combined junior high, high school, & young adults. Very few curricula could ever be that versatile.

The curriculum did its job in providing valuable lessons for the senior to transition into adult life. It’s an important enough venture to look into this curriculum for a number of reasons: very few curricula out there like this, the epidemic of seniors leaving church after graduation, and the importance of the topics covered. Just those few reasons alone should encourage you to take a look.

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3 Tips For Planning Your Student Ministry Teaching Calendar

I have a sickness.  The other day, I received a shipment from Staples and you would have thought it was Christmas.  New pens, new highlighters, and a fresh, blank calendar…pure bliss.  Like a 6 year old in a chocolate fountain.

While I enjoy the process of planning out the teaching calendar, the anticipatory joy of spiritually impactful lessons…it does take more work than just throwing a couple series titles together.  In fact, it is a process that has developed for months.  Let me explain the process in steps.

  1. Feed the Need.  Survey your parents, students, and others to find out what the greatest needs and greatest interest of your students are.  More than likely you will hear topics like purity, end times, devotional life, and the list goes on.  So what I have done is come up with a 6 year calendar, where in the teaching times available, I can show how a 7th grader entering the ministry will learn these things in their 6 years in our student ministry.  (*Could be 4 year calendar if in high school ministry)
  2. Glad That’s Over.  The 4 or 6 year calendar is the heavy lifting of your curriculum planning.  Now the fun part.  Picking your teaching material/curriculum.  See, for me, I don’t choose the same curriculum for all 4 years.  I like to pick and choose, allow myself some flexibility with what I teach from, and what I teach.  I’ve used materials from:  Regular Baptist Press (my personal favorite – fits my teaching style & doctrine well), Youth Specialties, Simply Youth Ministry, Group Publishing, Answers in Genesis, Lifeway, and Zondervan.
  3. Make it Your Own.  Listen to me.  You are not Doug Fields or Andy Stanley, so don’t pretend to be.  Take the curriculum and make it your own, modify and teach it as if it was written just for YOUR students.  Put together you OWN PowerPoint.  Use personal illustration and make up your own introductory hook.  Make your students feel like the lesson is FOR THEM, and not for a church in California or Atlanta.

What about you?  What curriculum do you use?  Got any tips for your teaching planning?

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