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Risk In Our Midst: Enpowering Teenagers to Love the Unlovable

July 25, 2012

This past spring I had the privilege of attending a one day seminar at Denver Seminary featuring youth ministry expert and friend Rich Van Pelt. It was a great presentation on youth in crisis. Somewhere in the middle of the workshop Rich recommended a book titled RISK IN OUR MIDST by Dr. Scott Larson (Group, 2000). After finishing the 155 page book I would strongly agree it is a book every youth worker should read and use in their ministry. The book begins setting the stage about the Kids On The Fringe using both researched statistics, personal ministry stories and profiles of individual and composite students. The focus transitions seamlessly between “bullying” and its antidotes and leading students into a counter-cultural intentional outreach to “at risk teenagers on the fringe of youth culture. Instructions for youth workers and specific instructions for structuring a youth ministry that is “unlovable friendly” are clearly presented. A section beginning on page 58 titled Frames and Phrases brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how I could have used that instruction in my years of active ministry to make a difference to more “unlovable students” in my ministry context. By the time I came to page 64 I was committed to making sure every youth ministry student at CCU is exposed to those practical and yet profound insights in to youth group culture. As if that were not enough Dr. Larson concludes the book by providing 6 complete sets of lesson plans to explain these ideas to a youth group and skits to drive home the points. This book is the complete package that accomplishes its intention and more. It may be a bit difficult to secure a copy but once you do you won’t be sorry and you will use it often.

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