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Reviews

Two books and an album

Pick of the month.

THE TEENAGE PRAYER EXPERIMENT NOTEBOOK

Miranda and Noah Threlfall-Holmes

The teenage prayer experiment notebook is written by mum, Miranda (also a vicar), and teenage son Noah Threlfall-Holmes who started a blog together after a family discussion about the lack of books helping teenagers develop a prayer life. Their solution was to do it themselves, and so they embarked on the blog together; Miranda came up with ideas and Noah tried them out and reviewed them. The teenage prayer experiment notebook notebook contains 18 of these experiments ranging from Ignatius prayers (using Lego) to creating a prayer space of your own (on Minecraft). Each experiment starts with an introduction, which roots the experiment theologically and in wider church practice, a kit list of the things you need and some suggestions on how to run the experiment. It also then contains space for the reader to reflect on how they feel the experiment went and then has Noah’s review and the thoughts of other young people who have tried it.

If you want a load of new ideas to revive your prayer stations then this book has some good things in it but if that’s all you get from it then I think you will have missed something. This book started out by trying to help young people to pray and that’s exactly what it does but it also changes the young people from consumers to participants, not just going along with the idea but reflecting on it, challenging it, changing it and trying something different, which has to be a good thing for our youth groups and our churches.

I would have given this book five stars but if I’m honest would have liked a few more creative ideas to be included: I can’t put away my bag of stones quite yet!

MIKE KELLY IS THE YOUTH OFFICER FOR THE DIOCESE OF LEICESTER.

HAVERIM

Paul Clayton Gibbs

‘Did you realise that Jesus’ style of teaching was fundamentally different from contemporary Christian Bible study?’ asks Paul Clayton Gibbs, founder and director of the Pais movement, in Haverim. My immediate response to this question was, ‘I’m a youth worker of course I understand this,’ but having read this book I feel I now have a language to express my approach to engaging with the scriptures I did not have previously.

This leads me to suggest much of the content of the book will not be new to youth workers, but that does not reduce its importance or quality. This is not a book you can simply dip into but it needs to be read reflectively from cover to cover. ‘Haverim’ is the word that the ancient Hebrews used when referring to ‘friends who studied together,’ and although this is where this model of engagement with the scriptures originated, the book can be effectively used by an individual or as a group. The book essentially suggests that there are four levels of studying scriptures and that each offers its own insight into the holy writing. The first is intended meaning, followed by implied meaning, interpreted meaning and inspired meaning. I believe this book presents a model allowing freedom in our work to encourage young people to engage with the scriptures. It would be appropriate for use with groups of Christians and non-Christians, particularly for anyone who is working missionally with young people.

DAN CROUCH IS YOUTH WORKER IN THE PARISH OF KEYNSHAM, AN MA STUDENT WITH CYM AND A TRUSTEE OF SOPHIE NETWORK.

REAL LOVE

Derek Johnson

Energetic, catchy, punchy and bright with a twist of reflection, Real love is the debut offering from Derek Johnson, a Jesus Culture artist and worship leader. The album features 12 of his own original tracks, through which Derek seeks to convey the message of his love and passion for Jesus. This album would be prefect for a Sunday church playlist, or great for a personal devotion time, beginning with upbeat worship songs then going through to a reflective style worship later in the album.

In my opinion, this album doesn’t really stand out to me as something amazing or innovative. However, it is the type of album that will be great to listen to on a long car journey with the sun setting, car windows down, sun glasses on, and the music blaring out to worship God in all his excellence and that is something Derek has worked well on delivering throughout his album.

TIM HIBBIN IS A YOUTH WORKER IN KENT.


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