CY Christianity Explored is just what youth ministries in the USA have been in need of for some time now. Being firmly rooted upon the gospel while culturally relevant for teens, this 7 week DVD study is not only a great tool for evangelism, but also a much needed resource to help equip students with the truth of the gospel.
From the site:
Christianity Explored - CY is a life changing journey through the Gospel of Mark.
In seven interactive sessions young people will explore what Christians believe, discover the Bible’s answers to the big questions of life and find out what Christianity is all about.
CY is for teenagers and young adults and works perfectly with the new Soul DVD.
Written by Rico Tice, Associate Minister for Evangelism at All Souls Church, Langham Place in London and the second edition, thoroughly revised and updated by Barry Cooper and Sam Shammas. Christianity Explored has been adapted for teens and packaged together with the Soul DVD, by Nate Morgan Locke, to formulate a theology sound and culturally relevant study curriculum.
As I review these I will do so looking at each part on their own, then giving an overview of the course as a whole.
Soul DVD ($24.99)- This 7 part DVD is of superb production quality. Nate Morgan Locke does a great job of walking the viewer through the gospel of Mark in a current and relevant way that draws focuses on the scriptures, all the while not skimping on the video production, or artistic element. These 7 session, running 10-12 minutes each, use effective speaking, video and typology to create a video that engages the watcher. The 7 session are as follows, and are designed to be used with the CY books; Episode 1 – Christianity is Christ; Episode 2 – Identity; Episode 3 – Mission; Episode 4 – Cross; Episode 5 – Resurrection; Episode 6 – Grace; Episode 7 – Call.
Here is a video to give an example of Soul (rss readers click through to see video)
Leaders Guide for CY and CY Nano (14.99) - Not only is this leaders guide a great tool to help lead through the Christianity Explored booklets, CY and CY Nano (CY being for ages 15+, CY Nano geared for 11-14 yr olds), it is also packed with tons of extras. Weighing in at over 200 pages this leaders guide contains 40 pages of how to helps. Covering everything from Why tell young people the gospel? (pg 15) to what the leader needs to do before the course (pg 23); during the course (pg 25); and after the course (pg 37). These are more then just simple helps, they are jam packed with great cross centered, Jesus glorifying theology. Here is a short sample from the how to section.
People do not become Christians just because we share the gospel with them. God must shine his light in people’s hearts so that they recognize and respond to the truth of the gospel. (pg 17)
The CY programme is built on the conviction that the gospel must be taught slowly and carefully, and that we allow the Gospel (of Mark) to tell the gospel of Jesus Christ. The content of the gospel message is important to get right…. CY is unafraid to put centre stage many of the doctrines that have been watered down in some gospel presentations: the identity of Jesus Christ as Son of God; the problem of sin and our need for forgiveness; the reality of coming judgement; and the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the Cross.” (pg19)
I don’t know about you but those words engage my heart and excited me to use this with my students.
The Leaders Guide is broken up into 4 sections: 1) How to Run the Course 2) Study Guide for CY Nano (11-14 yr olds) 3) Study Guide for CY (15+) 4) Inside Track Weekend/Day away. It also has a substantial appendices that looks at; Answering Tough Questions; Questions from Marks Gospel; Questions about Christian Belief. The leaders guide alone is worth using as a resource to help train youth leaders and small group leaders on how to better lead a gospel-centered small group.
CY and CY Nano Handbooks (4.99) - Although I have not had a group go through this course (we are planning to have one this fall, I can tell that these handbooks will engage students. The questions, design, layout and pace at which the students will go through this books toes the line of being very easy yet deep course at the same time. One of the greatest assets, and the reason I am praising this course so much, is that it keeps going back to the Bible. Even in the handbooks the Bible is the central focal point. Many of the questions are only answered by the students reading the Bible and interacting with the passages. This is of critical importance to me because after seven weeks the study will be done, the books will be put on a shelf and maybe never opened again, but the students will still be in the Bible. CY and CY Nano point students to the importance and centrality of the scriptures, and ask great questions to stimulate conversation.
The Whole Thing: If there is one question we have either been asked by a fellow youth pastor or we have asked ourselves it is always, ‘what is the best curriculum for my students?’ Now I can’t speak for you or your students but I know for myself I have never been quick to jump on a program, curriculum or course band wagon. To be honest I have never even recommend a program to someone when asked, outside of the Bible. The main reason being, far to many of these studies are topical focused, lack theological depth and accuracy and in the end teach moralism and behavioral modifications, all things that do more harm then good for Christians. Now I know I have not reviewed the hundreds of different options out there, but what I have seen always left a bad taste in my mouth. For the first time I can honestly say that I have found a course that is not only centered on the gospel and Jesus, but saturated with it.
CY threads the needle of theological depth and age appropriate teaching, leaving the student changed, encouraged, equipped and hungry for more. If you are seeking a resource that cares about theology, Jesus, the gospel and reaching students with the truth and love of them, then this may be a great course to walk through.
Just a note: The Good Book company has a Sample Pack, which includes the Soul DVD, Gospel of Mark (NIV), Leader’s Guide and one CY and CY Nano Handbook for only $35.00 Click Here to check it out. The Starter pack is $75 and comes with; – Soul DVD- Two Leader’s Guides and nine CY handbooks, HERE is the link.This course was provided to me free, in exchange for a review, by The Good Book Company, but I was under no obligation to give it a positive review. If I didn’t like the CY Christianity Explored, I would have told you so.