Freedom in Christ for young people
What about sin?
FREEDOM IN CHRIST FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
A 13-session discipleship course for the 11-18s — leader’s guide
By Steve Goss & Youth For Christ
Monarch. 320 pages + DVD. £35.00
There is very little material available in the area of youth discipleship, so it’s great that someone has tried to produce some.
The presentation of the material is high quality and the hooks used to engage the young people are attractive. There are many activities for this age group, but we have to ask what is the key activity in discipling — if it is about ‘following the Master’, then the primary purpose is to know the leader, what he has done, and obey his teaching. There is not enough of Jesus in this course, and specifically his life, death and resurrection.
One of the important issues for teenagers is assurance of forgiveness and that their salvation is secure and it is hard to find this as a core part of the course. The focus appears to be on living life to the full and on the ‘how’ of living in Christ rather than the ‘why’, which gives the course more of a ‘me-centred’ feel than a God-centred feel. Sin is not a ‘cool’ word, but it’s crucial if we are to understand the actions of the One we follow and who died for us. In training young people, I would expect to see more of the nuts and bolts of walking with Jesus — one would love to see clear material on Bible reading, prayer, witness, serving, giving, and meeting together. There is a lot of material designed to help young people deal with everyday moral issues, but, as a whole, it lacks Christ-centredness.
Session 12 is interesting where it states, ‘Nothing and no one can keep us from being the person God created us to be’. Some bright teenager might ask, ‘What about sin?’ at which point the foundation of the chapter is lost. If the writer had stated, ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord’, then he would have been on safe ground and could have built the whole chapter on what Christ has accomplished for us, his disciples. And therein lies the biggest issue with the book.
director of youth & children’s ministry at Christ Church, Winchester
associate minister at Christ Church, Winchester, and director of
Keswick Youth Ministries