Monday, November 02, 2009

Resource Review - getting students to show up

(This is part of a year long series of resource reviews I've been doing. 52 resources in 52 weeks. You can see all the reviews in one place here)

OVERALL - "getting students to show up - Practical Ideas for Any Outreach event - from 10 to 10,000" by Jonathan McKee, 190 pages, 2007 Zondervan

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Looking for a direct education on creating outreach events for young people? Jonathan McKee gives a no BS look at what to do and what NOT to do. This book is aimed specifically at outreach events for non-church kids. And I love that it makes very clear - putting on a great "Christian" event is a TERRIBLE way to try and reach unchurched kids. If this is the field you're looking to dive into this book should be in your backpack.

RESERVATIONS - There are some assumptions here that pulled me up short at first till I realized they're not really important. For example all his "model" events inevitably include an altar call. In most Episcopal events the likelihood of including an altar call is close to zero. It's just not part of our tradition or approach to faith. Consequently I don't know that I'd use his outline necessarily for an Episcopal based outreach event. Which is fine, you'll still learn plenty about what to do right for any such event from this book.

RECOMMENDATION I'll be honest and say these kinds of events do NOT fall into my general practice. So like a lot of people I feel a little intimidated. After reading the book I'm feeling somewhat more at home if I ever end up doing one. I like it when youth ministry authors take the gloves off and get honest about what really does and doesn't work. Even when it may gore some one's prize ox (metaphorically). I found myself shaking my head in amusement when I realized that I probably would have fallen into several of the traps he mentions. Nicely written, quite comprehensive and definitely a vital resource if your outreach events are flopping or you want to do one and have no prior experience.

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