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Book Review: "Storify: Speaking to Teenagers in a Post-Christian World."

Book Review: "Storify: Speaking to Teenagers in a Post-Christian World."

I want to get this out of the way first. Rachel Blom is a friend of mine. I find the way that she thinks and does youth ministry to be refreshing. She didn’t ask me to review her new book, I offered. I think it offers a unique perspective on reaching teenagers with the message of God’s Word in a way that accounts for their cultural context.

Rachel’s book, “Storify: Speaking To Teenagers In A Post-Christian World,” is a new book published by our friends at The Youth Cartel. Storify is one in a series of books from TYC on doing and thinking about youth ministry in a Post-Christian context (the series is very good and worth checking out). It’s a valuable perspective. (We’ve also published a book on youth ministry in a post-Christian culture as well, Ben Kern’s “From The Pen To The Palace.” It’s worth your time, as well.) But what I think makes Rachel’s book unique is its emphasis on communicating the Bible in a post-Christian context.

First, Rachel does a great job of is explaining and defining post-Christian culture using anecdotes and statistics. This in itself is valuable for a youth worker doing youth ministry in today’s cultural context. But she goes much further than this.

One of my favorite chapters was on how post-modern teenagers learn. Here’s a caveat: Anytime you talk about an entire generation of people, you paint with a broad brush. Because my ministry context is in Birmingham, AL, the veritable buckle of the Bible belt, there were times reading this book where I couldn’t see my students in the students Rachel was describing. (Even though I recognize that they are living in a context that is growing increasingly post-Christian.) But, I did find myself really connecting with her description of how postmodern teenagers process information. I could see my students in Rachel’s descriptions of this, for sure.

Other chapters that jumped out at me . . .

  • Her chapter on the power of story is rich stuff. It reminded me of some of the excellent work done by Mike Novelli in his Echo the Story line of resources. Rachel really communicates the power of story effectively and practically.

  • Rachel’s chapter on the Gospel As Story caused me pause and think a little. I don’t know that Rachel and I have identical perspectives on this. And that’s fine! The parts where she and I wouldn’t agree fully were still fascinating and well-reasoned. I think it’s important to be challenged. She made me think a bit here, which is what you want from a book. Or it’s at least what I want from a book.

  • The heart of this book is the chapters that break down the concept of story and deal with applying this to how you teach the Gospel through story. This is rich stuff.

  • Chapter 10, ‘The Surprise of Min-Story” is something I found myself smiling as I read. Rachel confesses to loving words. So do I. I love the way she treats the concepts of analogies, metaphors, and similes as stories with our stories. Good stuff.

All in all, Storify is a solid resource, especially for someone who hasn’t had a ton of instruction on speaking/preaching to teenagers. You can purchase Storify through the Youth Cartel’s site.
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