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Giving Up Gimmicks
Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture
by Brian H Cosby
Publisher:P&R Publishing from IVP
Wow – what a breath of fresh air in some ways, an acknowledgement that much of youth ministry has become more about entertaining the kids to keep them there rather than evangelising and teaching the kids. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with activity based youth work, I do it, I use puppets with younger ages, I use crafts with mixed ages, I use secular music and film clips with older ones to get over an idea – but at the heart of what we do there has to be a real emphasis on teaching the young the living word of God, in getting them to take it in and really internalise it and not just come out quoting sample bits. Here Cosby uses a reformed tradition term to get this idea over, using 'means of grace' youth ministry, that is to say ministry based around the means of grace that leads to salvation, namely using the Word of God, the sacraments, prayer, service and community action and teaching through these methods and instilling these things into our young people. That's not to say we can't still mix and blend but at the end of the day there has to be more than just jingoistic and fun filled activity at the heart of our mission and ministry with our young. This is a refreshing look at youth ministry and one I think many will actually find they agree with in part and want to action.
Reviewer: Melanie Carroll (17/11/12)