Meg Prowting, Penny Fuller and Mike Seaton / brf / 2012

£11.99 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

Participate! Is an exciting seven-week programme designed to enable 9-14s to gain the understanding and skills needed to live out their Christian lives within the local church and wider community. The material takes the approach that young people often find it difficult to establish their identity and role within the local church in the transition between being part of the children’s group and settling in to a youth group.

What do you get and how?

A5 glossy leader’s guide. A5 glossy participant’s journal: ‘A reflective journal for the young people to use as a personal record of their experience accompanies the Participate! programme. The journal is designed to help build skills of reflective practice as well as encouraging the exploration of faith as part of home life’. Designed as six 90-120 minute sessions (or 12 x 45 minute sessions):

  • Who am I?
  • Valued for who I am.
  • Understanding community.
  • Church as a community of believers.
  • Hearing God’s call.
  • Serving God and others.

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Who is it for?

Youth 9-14s. Group of any size. Material says it could be used with one young person, but group work would be far better


  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Nicely produced glossy format, very clear layouts.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Clear and very thorough.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Thorough thought-through guidance on motivation and preparation. Good planning and evaluation sheets included. Clear layout throughout. Few icons but clear headings, though a highlighter pen would help.

    Who could lead it?

    Someone with experience of working with youth, and groups, as main leader, plus at least one other.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Attractive layout with opportunity for thorough and honest responses to the issues.

    How good is any digital material?


    How much prep will I have to do?

    Considerable. Designed to have full support from rest of leadership and church, plus direct involvement for the placement idea at end of course, so significant lead-in time required. Material supplied for thinking through both practical and theological background/motivation. For sessions, great sheets for planning and evaluation are provided. Choices need to be made for each section and consequent materials prepared, which may include film clips, activities etc.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Downloadable copies of material on website.

    Is it dated?


  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very good. Sessions are all group-engagement based, though with personal response time when appropriate.

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

    Unusually, a helpful page is devoted to an explanation and implications of learning styles. Choices provided within each section of each session, including a range of approaches – hands-on, activity, discussion, film clips etc. Strong and helpful recognition that differences extend to gifts, abilities and potential, with all acknowledged and embraced.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Should suit a wide range of youth, especially as choices are given. Not tied to a particular expectation of church, although some may want to add to the list of possible serving roles that could be shadowed (see below).

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

    Sessions end with a challenge for the week which is mainly individual. Course finishes with setting up of shadowing ‘placements' with current church volunteers in different roles. Participant's journal is essentially personal, and applies the session material. Last session includes recap of all. In addition, there is the placement idea, where each participant has a chance to shadow a more experienced Christian in their role. Careful preparation given.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Depending on options chosen, around a quarter.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Encourages engagement with biblical view of God and self in imaginative ways. Passages chosen relevant to theme.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Biblical examples paralleled with contemporary ones in relevant ways.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Foreword by General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Britain, and should be widely applicable.

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

    Course focuses on the value of every individual, the meaning of community, and serving God in community. Encourages engagement with these issues. Very positive outlook generally.

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

    Lots of opportunities to discuss and explore the chosen issues, and work out how to apply them. Journal makes it all very practical.

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

    This will depend on the starting place of each participant, but the chosen issues are explored in imaginative ways. Explored most under vocation, with real-life examples.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Stories and situations are relevant to school and youth experience, though do not delve into more challenging and tricky areas. For example, some of the ‘Valued for who I am' material may be deeply difficult for some youth. Sensitivity needed.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Some gentle, practical beginning steps.

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

    Some encouragement given to engage with community outside of church.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Included in possible scenarios under the ‘vocation' section.

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