Title: The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens (Participants Guide)
Author: Robert H Thune (w/ Will Walker)
Publishing Date: August 31, 2014
About the Book:
Techie? Jock? Class Clown? You Can t Build a Life on a Label. Something or someone will always try to define you. Maybe others call you the techie, the jock, the class clown, or the smart kid. It s easy to think that those labels sum up who you really are, express what really matters in your life, and define the things you should pursue. But your identity goes far deeper than the positive or even the negative labels people use to define you. There is something at the core of a satisfying and meaningful life that can t be summed up by any label. The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens offers you the chance to center your life on the only thing in the universe that actually has the power to define you, give your life meaning, and shape how you live each day. This 9-lesson Bible study, adapted from The Gospel-Centered Life by Bob Thune and Will Walker, gives teens and young adults a road map for living a life centered on God and the gospel. Each lesson is self-contained, featuring clear teaching from Scripture, and requires no extra work outside the group setting. The self-explanatory Leader s Guide helps small group leaders with discussion questions and background material that clearly explain and apply the gospel truths from each lesson. Nine-lesson small group study defining and applying the gospel in a teen-friendly way Adapted from Thune and Walker s best-selling The Gospel-Centered Life Appropriate for believers and non-believers alike, with self-contained lessons and clear teaching from Scripture Easy-to-use, requiring no homework Brings teens together, making community the context for gospel change Self-explanatory Leader s Guide available with discussion questions and background material for each lesson From: Serge
Although this book is intended to be read over a 9 week period, I read this with some of the teens from our youth group over the course of a weekend while on a work retreat. The teens were participating in what’s known as The James Project. Together, the teens and leaders helped the camp employees by cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, and preparing meals for the group that was using the camp. The intent of The James project is to mesh works and faith, and show how important they are to the Christian walk. In the quiet time while not actively working, we sat and read The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens together.
This book is deep, convicting, thought-provoking, encouraging, and so much more. Coming in at just under 80 pages, it’s not an incredibly long read, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be impactful. I literally could have highlighted over half of the book. Even though it was written for teens, I feel like I got just as much out of it as an adult.
One of the pitfalls of growing up in the church and/or a Christian family, is that you can start to see yourself in a light that’s different than what you should. Have you ever caught yourself saying “thank God I’m not as bad as ______,” or have you ever minimized your own sins to make yourself appear better than others? Have you ever felt like you had to fit in to a certain “mold” of what a Christian was supposed to be like so that you show the rest of the world a person who you truly aren’t? The beginning of the book cuts to the root of this type of thinking. It puts us all on even playing-ground for our need for Jesus. Just because one person’s sin may be more visible than another’s, it doesn’t mean the other person’s sin isn’t any less serious. At the end of the day, we are all guilty before God and in need of our Savior Jesus Christ!
The book slowly shifts to how the gospel-centered life is lived out. as page 58 says, “God works through us both to tell people about the gospel and to show them the gospel by how we speak and act.” Being a Christian doesn’t mean that we become flawless on earth, but that we know we are sinners in need of Christ daily in our lives. “Biblical repentance frees us from our own ways of dealing with what we do wrong and makes a way for God’s power to fill us and change us.” It should affect every part of our lives spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
The final chapter in the book was about handling conflict. This was one that held quite a bit of discussion for the group. As people, we struggle with how to handle conflict appropriately. The chapter breaks down how people argue into two basic categories: attackers and withdrawers. It doesn’t say either are right but simply it’s how people are. In talking with our group, some identified strictly as one or the other, but some of us also identified with both sides depending on the circumstances (or people). I believe this chapter was very helpful for the teens, and sparked interest in studying this deeper. I agree with this even for myself.
I highly recommend this book for youth groups and small groups for teens. I would even recommend it for adults. Simply changing the references from “school and siblings,” to “work and spouses,” adults could benefit just as much from this study. It will challenge the reader to dig deeper in their faith and further refine them in their walk with the Lord.