As someone who works with Christian teenagers, I can tell you finding theologically rich and sound resources that appeal to this particular age group can be prove to be quite challenging. However, I have recently been introduced to resource that I have found to be useful in my own ministry – Little Black Books
Matthias Media has published this series of small books written by Scott Petty, a youth minister in Sydney, Australia. Petty tackles a number of difficult topics teens often ask about: predestination, the relationship between science and God, the meaning of life, the Bible itself, the Holy Spirit, suffering and of course sex. Of course, I think believers of all ages wonder about these topics!
What sets this set apart from other materials I’m familiar with is Petty’s ability to communicate deep truths in a manner which is both meaningful and easy to understand without being condescending. I read the book on predestination shortly before covering the same topic in my 11-12 grade theology class. Petty begins with laying down some firm foundational truths about God’s involvement both in our lives and in our world (basic, sovereignty) before ever getting to the big controversial idea of election. His illustrations from nature proved especially helpful. Without using the term Calvinism he lays down a basic reformed view that leaves you thinking this at least sounds reasonable.
Don’t worry, the book on sex is not graphic in any way. The book gives a Biblical concept of sex within a marriage relationship and cautions teens about engaging in physical relationships prior to marriage. The book deals with dating, pornography, homosexuality and follows it all up nicely with a good dosage of grace for those who have already done things they now regret.
The only criticisms I would have of this series are minor at best. First, you have to remember the author is Australian and writes like it. It’s not American English. This would not be a problem for most people. The only other minor criticism I would add is that Petty seems to suffer from the same curse many in youth ministry suffer from – trying to sound too cool to young people. We’re old and our youth know it. But, again, these are minor issues that will not affect the impact these books area capable of having.
This is a series that is worth your time and financial investment if you have teens or work with them. The books are incredibly easy to read and can be read in one or two sittings. I now keep them in my classroom for students to thumb through during study hall or down times.
Note – these books were sent to me by the publisher as part of a giveaway contest. There was no expectation of a positive review or any review!
Read more about the series here or by clicking on the books below: