Mixing it up with the simpsons

Mixing it up with … The Simpsons
Owen Smith, Church House Publishing, 2007

£8.99 (Approx)
3.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Fact 1. 11 out of 17 young people said that their most watched TV programme was The Simpsons.

Fact 2. Young people aged 9-13 are a massively under-resourced age group in churches.

In 12 sessions, this book engages with everyday issues, from gossip to sibling rivalry, and looks at how the Christian message addresses these themes. Mixing it up with … The Simpsons uses extracts from episodes to help your youth group connect with key Christian beliefs – from Lisa the Beauty Queen (issues of self-image) to Homer and Barney (the importance of friendship).

Mixing it up with The Simpsons is split into two parts each with six sessions:

  • Part One is for those who are newer to church.
  • Part Two is for young people who have been coming to church for a little longer.

With its memorable characters and hilarious storylines it is a rich resources for exploring Christian themes and concepts.

What do you get?

Glossy leaders guide outlining 12 sessions on faith for 9-13 year olds. Purchasable from Amazon, EBAY and Church House Publishing.

Who is it for?

9 year olds to 13 year olds. Can be used as a full series or stand-a-lone sessions in Sunday school or midweek. Part One is for those who may be slightly newer to the concept of Christianity, whereas Part Two encourages young people to go deeper.

Cost?

£8.99

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Very good. Glossy paperback cover with illustrations relevant to The Simpsons theme. Each session is extremely clearly laid out with helpful subheadings.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Aims are explicitly stated at the beginning of each session, along with key quotes from The Simpsons and the relevant Bible passage.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Extremely accessible for all keen leaders. Clear instructions on all areas such as health and safety, child protection, and how to handle the aspects of The Simpsons that are not always very godly. The leader's notes enable the leader to feel confident and well informed for each session.

    Who could lead it?

    Any adult passionate about helping young people understand themes in the Bible through current culture.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Participant resources are all external and rely on the leader acquiring the necessary items for sessions. This includes getting access to The Simpsons film clips.

    How good is any digital material?

    Digital material is owned by TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX so requires access to The Simpsons either by DVD or internet.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Preparation for these sessions is quick and easy. Helpful subtitles allow leaders to immediately identify what they need for each session while ‘Beforehand' instructions outline prior prep clearly. Answers for the questions asked to young people are given to help quickly equip leaders.

    Is there website support? Links?

    No, although internet access may be needed if finding clips online.

    Is it dated?

    A little. The Simpsons is currently an extremely popular series with young people aged 9-13years, though this may change in time. Having said this, these activities and passages can easily be applied to other programmes if necessary.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Opening activities initiate positive interaction. This is consistent through the sessions through extra games and discussion around questions. The extensive group work also provides a platform where young people can be vulnerable and trusting of one another.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Activities are relevant to passages discussed. This accommodates for those who may find it more difficult to sit still as the same message is portrayed through games, discussion and prayer.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    1 hour sessions intended for church groups and week day groups so easily adaptable. Includes 'extras and inserts' option to extend session length. Clear notes on what the session is about and what needs to be prepped mean that planning time is kept minimal. Can be used with both new church goers and longer term members. Easy to substitute games where necessary.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Biblical themes are consistently compared with current culture. This is an accessible way for young people to apply what they learn by discussion on how it is relevant to them. They are then given the opportunity to pray for God's guidance in how to act on what they've learnt.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    A third is directly Bible related. Other focus lies in prayer and application of passages.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Clearly and with relevance to The Simpsons clips. Material is presented by asking groups to read passages together and then answer questions to interpret what it means and why it is relevant to them.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Gently introduces to young people how messages in the Bible mean we should consistently live our lives in a certain way. This is particularly prevalent in section 2.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No, widely usable. There is a large focus on prayer and it's importance.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    After section 1 introduces core Christian principles, section 2 then introduces whole-life discipleship by allowing young people to explore how they can apply the Bible in all aspects of life, for example, from how they treat their neighbours to the importance of avoiding gossip.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Very well. Young people are given the opportunity to look at the Bible in relation to things they may have not even considered, e.g. considering how our words affect others.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    This is introduced and built upon from one session to the next. The final session introduces God's ultimate plan of Christ's return.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Explicitly in every session. This is the purpose of the whole resource; to engage young people in Christianity via contemporary culture so the Bible becomes applicable to their lives.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This is focused on in the 'God uses young people' session. Huge focus on how relevant faith of young people is and how God can grow them.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Indirectly by getting young people to consider how they act in the community.

    How well does it connect with global issues? Not a focus

    How well does it encourage global mission? Not a focus.

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