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Youthwork: Resources

Help with School work and Assemblies, Youth Clubs, Youth work generally and seasonal activities

Celebrating Festivals

- Readings, Reflections, Crafts and Prayer Activities for 20 Major Church Festivals

by Sally Welch


Sally Welch outlines Bible readings, reflections for leaders, a Bible story with ‘I wonder...’ questions, prayer, activities and craft ideas including sweet and savoury recipes in this book for those encouraging children to celebrate the festivals. She covers the major festivals—Christmas, Easter and Harvest but broadens the book by including less familiar occasions such as Petertide, St Michael and All Angels, and Remembrance. 

In addition, for those working within a traditional church building, Sally links each festival to a part of the building. This is not an essential however, and the ideas could be used in a variety of situations from midweek clubs, Sunday children’s ministry to Messy Church events.

There is a wealth of ideas and extremely detailed instructions for the craft and cooking activities, including help to find less common ingredients and clear instructions with regard to safety issues when using knives, cocktail sticks etc. when younger children are present. None of the recipes require cooking during the actual session which is very helpful.

The inside covers at the front and back of the book have small pictures of the finished products and helpfully larger versions of these pictures are available on the website.

By contrast much depends on the ability of the local leaders to bring the stories, prayer activities and teaching to life as these are outlined in much less detail. I wonder if without this expertise children will be in danger of knowing and experiencing more about craft activities and church architecture than they do about the God to whom we are seeking to introduce them.



The book has its own website:www.barnabasinchurches .org.uk/9781841017112/

Review by Christine Leach  (26/11/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Barnabas imprint of BRF
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1-841-01711-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Primary School Assemblies for Religious Festivals



by Ronni Lamont (Ed)


Anyone who regularly rises to the challenge of putting together an assembly or act of collective worship knows how important 'off the shelf' resources are. We all benefit from being able to draw on the wisdom and experience of others. In this wonderful collection of primary school assemblies we have plenty of both.

Drawing on the expertise of a dozen authors, Ronni Lamont has compiled an imaginative collection of assembly material that celebrates a wide variety of religious festivals from nine of the world's major religions. Each assembly is presented in a similar format with a clear aim, guidance on preparation and materials, content for the assembly itself, resources for a few moments of reflection and a song. Although these are assemblies and not acts of collective worship, they do lean towards the latter. Each includes a prayer that would not be out of place if used in church and a song, all of which, I think, are Christian in origin.

There are some wonderful touches in these assemblies - such as the lighting of candles to illustrate that sharing light (or love or happiness) can never reduce the light of the giver. And the emphasis on storytelling is brilliant – after all, stories provide the foundations for all our faiths. Whilst I might reduce the information content of some of these assemblies, I can also see how to apply them quite readily to a secondary school environment. It also might be more helpful to organise the contents by date or time of year, rather than by faith. 'What can I do today?' being the common refrain of assembly leaders!

An excellent collection that should be available in every staff room.

(The editor also edits The Assemblies Website [see link] for those whose appetites are inexhaustible!.)

Related website:www.assemblies.org.uk/

Review by David Ford  (29/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06697-1
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Go Teach – God’s Word to 12s-14s – Autumn 2014 - Young Teens



Compiled by the ‘Go Teach’ team


Also Come Learn, work book £2.60 and Visual Aids with CD £6.75
Go Teach is a four year programme produced in each of three editions, Spring, Summer and Winter. Each issue has a Teachers Guide, Visual Aids and Activity sheets. A Sample booklet is available from the Publishers.
This series of workbooks, teachers’ resources and visual aid resources (including excellent CDs) is carefully and attractively produced. The ‘packaging’ is such that it makes you want to open it ~ that’s a good start! It also substantially delivers what it promises. The Programme and Catalogue leaflet clearly states: “Go Teach exists to produce Bible teaching materials to help churches, schools and individuals teach God’s word to children and young people.” This approach to Biblical knowledge will suit a conservative evangelical approach. Others will find it worth buying these materials as high-quality resources to use within a wider framework.”
See also material for other ages.

Review by Ian Terry  (07/10/05)
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Publisher: Go Teach Publications Ltd
Published: 2014
ISBN: 977-0-950-72513-1
Paperback
Price: £8.25

The Beautiful Disciplines

- Helping Young People to Develop Their Spiritual Roots

by Martin Saunders


At first glance, the title, The Beautiful Disciplines, may not appear very inspiring to anyone working with young people; however, on closer inspection there is much to recommend this book.
It is a resource for youth workers rooted in the author’s premise that modern Christian youth discipleship is producing brittle disciples. Martin Saunders’ conclusion arose out of countless conversations with youth workers and teenagers and he states in his introduction that, ‘the work we do with young people in their childhood and adolescence does not seem to ensure that those individuals retain an active faith into adulthood.’
His stated aim is to, ‘resource youth workers to equip young people with the tools to build direct connections with God. It hinges on the idea that the Spiritual disciplines… contain the power to strengthen and reinforce brittle young disciples, and so ensure that their faith endures the leap, pitfalls and changes of season that lie on the path to adulthood.’
As editor of Youthwork magazine, a volunteer youth worker for almost a decade and author of 10 books, Martin is well qualified to write such a resource as this and brings all of his experience to its production. As a result what we have here is an eminently usable and practical resource for all those seeking to assist young people in developing and deepening their faith through a disciplined, direct relationship with God.
There is an excellent, clear introduction to the principles involved; photocopiable resources and an adaptable 11 week course. The first week sets out to introduce the course, with the following ten weeks covering; prayer, study, fasting, meditation, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, worship and celebration. The author’s understanding of young people and what makes them tick is very evident throughout the book.
Each session has an introduction for the youth leader which helps them to fully understand and engage with the principles involved; ‘First steps’, a selection of story based discussion starters which introduce the theme and lead into a series of questions intended to get the young people talking; ‘Adaptable meeting guides’, involving games, activities, discussions, Bible study and engagement with the disciplines; and ‘Going deeper’, resources to provide extra activities aimed at continuing the exploration of the Disciplines, which often encourages personal reflection and response.
The sessions are firmly rooted in biblical principles, the spiritual disciplines through which Christians have been deepening their relationship with God since the early days of Christianity and a real understanding of young people. This is an accessible and very adaptable resource which will prove invaluable to all those concerned with deepening the faith of their young people.

Review by Chris Low  (30/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-857-21055-5
Paperback

Decathlon

- Using Sport to Share the Gospel Message With Young People

by Various Contributors


Youth for Christ, Scripture Union and Urban Saints have brought each of their relevant expertise and experience together to produce this amazing resource. Initially with the London 2012 Games in mind, but adaptable to many subsequent sports tournaments in coming years, this resource has taken 10 Olympic/Paralympic events and created interactive lesson plans around each. Each discipline has complete delivery plans for both 11-14s and 14-18s age groups and builds within the lesson an aspect of Christianity alongside the sporting activity.
These lessons could be delivered within a school term over 10 weeks, as stand alone lessons or within a high activity week. They could be taught within P.E., P.S.H.E. or even assemblies. This is a great opportunity to see a genuine cross-curriculum resource be used as a way of school pupils understanding who Jesus is and what that means to them within a curriculum based setting.

Review by Barry Mason  (11/06/12)
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Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: Spring 2012
ISBN: 978-1-844-27587-8
Stapled A4 Paperback.
Price: £11.99

Worship Feast: Outdoors

- 25 Experiences of God’s Great Earth

by Jenny Youngman


I have always found the Worship Feast series to be good solid youth resources (that also frequently work really well with non-youth small groups too!) and this latest one is not a disappointment. This time the theme and exercises are all based on experiencing the outdoors, but what’s really nice is that though some involve getting away out into ‘real’ nature others are gentle and just involve being able to feel rain, see rainbows or spend time in a garden or at a swimming pool – so regardless of your setting there is likely to be something you can adapt and use here.
As always they really are self contained in that they tell you everything you need to lead one of the 25 sessions, materials needed if any, overview and theme, scriptures and insight, step by step activity guide, opening and closing words, prayers – it’s all here for you to just pick up and use as is or as a really strong starting point for you to adapt to suit your group.
Great book for any group that does outward bound activities as standard, but also good for those looking to incorporate a bit more nature into their worship too.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (19/11/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Abingdon Press from Alban Books
Published: June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-426-71573-0
Paperback
Price: £11.99

The Bible Book by Book

- A Journey Through Its People, Places and Themes

by Chris Rogers


A collaboration work from the Elevation/Youthwork/Monarch teams make this a brilliant young peoples guide to the content of the Bible. Following the usual high level production style of Lion Bible Guides, i.e. shiny glossy paper, great photographs and maps etc, it is perked up by a lovely to look at script on the headers and subsections.
Bullet pointed, short, pithy and easy to read it makes for an excellent grounder in the bible. Definitely one I would recommend for the resource shelves of any secondary level RE teacher or youth leader, and definitely one to give to teens who are journeying through the Bible, whether it be for school, for church or better yet for themselves.
Great all round resource material to my mind.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/10/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-857-21016-6
Flexiback
Price: £14.99

The Think Tank

- 100 Adaptable Discussion Starters to get Teens Talking

by Martin Saunders


Photocopy free of charge. Includes 25 movie-based resources.
Given this book of discussion starters is a Youthwork Magazine resource it was always going to be pretty good, after all it's got real weighty credentials because it's from Martin Saunders the editor of Youthwork, add in that it's got 100 excellent discussion starters and it's photocopiable and it's a sure fire winner.
I have to admit it is one of the best discussion starter/group resources I have seen in a while, each starter is really good sound biblically based material that nevertheless deals with a topical real life issue in a clear and open way and allows for real discussion to happen. It does not avoid the weighty subjects of homosexuality, gender, racism, drugs, domestic violence etc and what is better yet is that they are broached in such a way as to be open ended allowing for real discussion without offering initially a particular bias - something that can occasionally be missing in Christian youth resources, but here these are still good biblical discussions.
add in the addition of real on topic material like cyber-bullying, connectivity and networking. fashion, euthanasia etc and then the movie based discussions which use things like the Simpsons film, stardust etc and you really do have an all round winner that works with any youth group and also with any small group too!

Review by Melanie Carroll  (01/11/10)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: August 2010
ISBN: 978-1-854-24964-7
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Who is Jesus?

- A Six-week Study For Tweens

by Carol McDonough and Marcia Stoner


Another of the American tween series resources that means these are aimed at the 10 - 13 age range. This one is a good introduction and study of the life of Jesus from his birth to his resurrection and what that really means in terms of how it affects our faith rather than just being about the story.
It has in it strong reproducible material and handouts, some good short drama skits and a really well thought out and timed leaders guide for each of the six sessions. On the whole with this book you get everything you need - or a list of what you need to supply for the activities - to do a good 6 week study of Jesus that could actually be a good precursor to confirmation or a baptism/commitment study.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (01/11/10)
Jacket
Publisher: Abingdon Press from Alban Books
Published: July 2010
ISBN: 978-0-687-65800-8
A4 Paperback
Price: £10.99

Philosophy of Religion for Today

- For GCSE Religious Studies

by Simon and Christopher Danes with Seeta Lakhani


Philosophy of Religion for Today is the third in a trilogy of textbooks by Simon and Christopher Danes, designed to be used as a course textbook or revision guide by students taking GCSE RE. As with the two previous books, the earlier edition has been completely revised and updated to bring it into line with the requirements of the new specifications which came into force in 2009. The Danes brothers both read Theology at Brasenose College, Oxford and Seeta Lakhani, who joins them in this text, has a degree in Anthropology and is an expert on Hinduism, which she teaches at the Hindu Academy in London. The layout of the book uses attractive graphic presentations; encourages students to think for themselves and to “own” their learning; and gives a deep coverage to all the issues relevant to the GCSE specifications.

Review by Sue Cooper  (28/10/10)
Jacket
Publisher: St Mark's Press
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-907-06205-6
A4 Paperback
Price: £14.75

Today’s Issues and Christian Beliefs

- For GCSE Religious Studies

by Simon and Christopher Danes


This textbook was originally published by Lion but has been completely revised in this edition to meet the requirements of the new 2009 GCSE specifications. Simon and Christopher Danes each has a wealth of relevant experience through teaching RE in both Church and non-denominational schools and this has given them considerable insight into best practice in modern education. The textbook contains first hand accounts of relevant experiences from people who have been actively involved in the issues covered; the layout of the pages is clear and the type faces used provide a variety of sizes and fonts, making the pages attractive. The information on issues such as poverty, agnosticism, sexism and fertility is presented rationally and with balance. I would recommend this text to teachers of RE for classroom use but it could also be used by individual students as a revision guide.

Review by Sue Cooper  (28/10/10)
Jacket
Publisher: St Mark's Press
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-907-06202-5
A4 Paperback
Price: £14.75

Mark: A Gospel For Today

- For GCSE Religious Studies

by Simon and Christopher Danes


Simon and Christopher Danes, both graduates in Theology from Brasenose College, Oxford, and both experienced teachers of RE in Church and non-denominational schools, have revised their book, Mark: a Gospel for Today, to bring it into line with the new GCSE specifications which came into force in 2009. Quite simply, this textbook contains all the guidance a teacher or student studying St Mark’s Gospel needs for examination success at GCSE. Information is clearly presented, the content and contexts are made clearly available to all abilities and the attention of the readers is engaged without there being any “dumbing down” of the content and import; for example, such knotty problems as transubstantiation are presented with historical and religious accuracy and the student is allowed to think the problem through and come to their own conclusion. A truly useful tool whether to be used as a class textbook or for individual revision.

A useful aid to study is the CD of St Mark's Gospel from St Mark's Press. 'Peter Wickham's compelling reading captures the power and the drama of Mark's story.'
These publisher's words are willingly endorsed by the TGBS Editor

Review by Sue Cooper  (28/10/10)
Jacket
Publisher: St Mark's Press
Published: 09 September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-907-06200-1
A4 Paperback
Price: £14.75

More Secondary School Assemblies



by Ronni Lamont


This collection of assemblies suitable for secondary schools is put out in conjunction with the Assemblies Website www.assemblies.org.uk which is compiled by the same editor. The assemblies are collected under three headings: Christian Festivals, Throughout the Year and World Faiths: they are headed as being suitable for the whole of a secondary school or for Key Stage 3 or Key Stages 3 and 4 for example. Whilst I find some of the assembly plans indicated as being “whole school” more suited to being for the younger secondary years, there is no doubt that judiciously used, this book would be an huge help to all those class teachers and heads of year who have to give assemblies on a regular basis. I have made this book available to all my colleagues in the staffroom!

Review by Sue Cooper  (22/09/10)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-281-06169-3
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Daring To Do What is Right

- The Story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

by Terence Copley


On the whole this little booklet is a very good one which gives you short, simply written information about the German Lutheran priest called Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was killed by the Nazis shortly before the end of World War II because of his resistance against Hitler and his regime. The easy to read text is interrupted on every page by “What do you think” parts, that ask questions about the reader’s opinion, so it encourages the reader to think about the reasons for the behaviour of the characters. There are some minor mistakes of facts in the booklet and in some parts it’s glorifying Bonhoeffer too much. As a German Lutheran ordained priest and as someone who taught RE in different schools I approve this book and find it very useful.

Review by Steffi Reuther  (03/05/10)
Jacket
Publisher: RMEP imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 30 September 2008
ISBN: 978-1-851-75354-3
Stapled Paperback
Price: £5.68

Celebrating Sundays

- Ten Great Reasons to Enjoy God’s Priceless Gift of the Lord’s Day

by Jonathan Holdt


Jonathan Holdt takes a traditional approach to the issue of keeping Sunday Special. He highlights the danger of Sunday becoming a day like any other day. He considers the rhythm of the week, which has been established by God. On the seventh day he rested. Jonathan gives 10 reasons why the Lords Day should be kept special.
The 10 reasons highlight the need for man to follow God s plan and to rest on the seventh day. There is a religious and moral requirement to set aside one day a week for physical rest, worshiping and honouring God. In an era where Christian values seem to be steadily eroding this can become an act of witness to non-Christians, our friends, our family and our children: also as an encouragement to other Christians.
Jonathan concludes by looking at the difference in the way Christians should look at Sunday. Not by asking in a legalistic way, ‘What can’t I do on Sunday?’ But ‘What can I do on Sunday?’ This booklet is an interesting companion to Dan Walkers Sport on Sunday .

Review by Bob Stoneham  (19/10/09)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: Spring 2009
ISBN: 978-1-846-25169-6
Stapled A4 Paperback.
Price: £2.00

Drama Out of a Crisis

- Contemporary reflections on Advent

by Tony Bower


Every now and then, an unpretentious, straight forward practical resource comes along. This book offers strikingly simply stories, monologues, sketches and poems which can be used during advent services. What’s more, with a little creativity on the user’s part (i.e. involving different ages to read, act or even props & music) then advent starts to take on a fresh and clear feel. It’s not astounding stuff here, but it’s useable straight away and with advent normally a hectic time of the year the preparation time can be short. There are 15 sets of reflections and if you’re looking to ‘freshen-up’ a most familiar story then this is for you.

Review by Andrew Elliott  (07/05/03)
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Publisher: Kevin Mayhew Publishers
Published: July 2002
ISBN: 1-840-03946-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Simon Peter: Challenging Times

- Pocket Bible People

by Helen Clark


This book would be really useful in a Youth Group setting. It gives young people a good grounding in the character of Simon Peter both the good and the bad. This shows our young people God’s love and that He is willing to forgive us all. The book is also excellent at explaining simply the Trinity and the ascension. I feel young people would benefit greatly from this book and its companion book, Simon Peter: The Training Years. There are also some anecdotal stories which the youngsters might find helpful

Review by Barbara Stoneham  (19/10/09)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: Spring 2009
ISBN: 978-1-846-25158-0
Pocket Book
Price: £5.00

Special Services for Advent and Christmas



by Susan Hardwick


At such a special time of the year, it is important to find a refreshing way to present Advent and Christmas to a congregation. Whilst this book doesn’t offer anything surprising, it does offer structured outlines for services for ‘all age’, teenagers, children, and even a Christingle service. A fair amount of preparation is needed by anyone attempting to use these resources, but I would recommend the effort. So often at this time of the year services are too familiar and result in being uninspiring and sometimes, dare I say it, dull! But here is a resource which can help offer different ways at ‘getting the message’ out – without compromising the subtext of Advent and Christmas.

Review by Andrew Elliott  (07/05/03)
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Publisher: Kevin Mayhew Publishers
Published: July 2002
ISBN: 1-840-03961-2
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Simon Peter: The Training Years

- Pocket Bible People

by Helen Clark


This book is aimed at young teenagers. It covers Simon Peter’s early stages as a disciple of Jesus: his qualities both good and bad, his impulsiveness and his loyalty. It has sections the young people can study and answer questions and some anecdotal stories from the writers to explain some of the points of the book. It would be a useful guide for a study with a young Christian or young people with a growing interest in Christianity.

Review by Barbara Stoneham  (29/08/09)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: Spring 2009
ISBN: 978-1-846-25157-3
Pocket Book
Price: £5.00

Sport & Sundays

- Christian BBC Presenter Dan Walker Tells His Story

by Jonathan Holt


As a Christian it is very easy to appear to be almost legalistic over the issue of keeping Sunday special. In this refreshing approach to the issue Dan Walker starts by telling his own story and also gives clear biblical reasons why we should not work or play sport on a Sunday. At University Dan already a Christian refused to play on a Sunday and this gave him a great opportunity to debate the reasons with his team mates and to witness to them. This encouraged him to read and re-read the scriptures on this issue. Dan gives a good overview and numerous biblical references. Dan also looks at the personal cost to him. As a sports commentator Dan after a promising start was unable to get a job as he would not work on a Sunday. He quotes one interviewer who said on the issue of not working on a Sunday, ‘you will not get anywhere with an attitude like that’.
But Dan placed his trust in the Lord and is now working for the BBC on radio and T.V. He still holds true to his faith and does not work on a Sunday.

Review by Bob Stoneham  (29/08/09)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: Spring 2009
ISBN: 978-1-846-25172-6
Stapled A4 Paperback.
Price: £2.00

Thinking About God: Does God Exist? Can We Experience God? with CD-Rom included

- Truth-Seekers series

by Elicia Lewis


Thinking About God is a title in the Truth-Seekers series published by RMEP and intended for secondary school use at Key Stage 3. The whole series is intended as a teacher’s resource for developing thinking skills on issues of truth in religion and philosophy. This book, as do the other two, offers clear notes on teaching and learning activities; gives background information on the religious and philosophical ideas encountered; presents assessment examples; gives photocopy resources at A5 size and provides a CD-Rom containing all the activity sheets for printing out at A4 size. The activities are differentiated meaning that the material can be used at varying levels and stages. Each of the schemes of work lays out the teaching and learning objectives and gives detailed lesson plans. Any teacher of RE would be very happy to have this book (and its sister texts) in their department.

Other titles in the Truth-Seekers series are Thinking About God’s Nature and Thinking about Truth, both available Spring 2009. Editor

Review by Sue Cooper  (31/07/09)
Jacket
Publisher: RMEP imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: January 2009
ISBN: 978-1-851-75362-8
A4 Paperback
Price: £39.93 (excl VAT)