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Giving Up Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture Paperback – February 24, 2012


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Giving Up Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture + Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn't Last and What Your Church Can Do About It + Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A personal and practical guide to starting right
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: P&R Publishing (February 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596383941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596383944
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"For more than a generation now we have sought to attract and entertain our precious youth rather than nurture them by grace. The majority have responded by turning their backs on the church. Brian Cosby has listened to their heart and is offering us the best biblical guidance we could ever hope to receive."
—Michael Card, Award-winning Singer, Songwriter, and Author


"For decades the church has allowed the tail to wag the dog in regards to youth ministry. We have attempted to find the answer to every problem facing teenagers by flooding money into bigger and flashier programs. The results of our efforts speak for themselves. I am thankful that Brian Cosby steps forward in Giving Up Gimmicks and does something that has been unheard of: marrying solid biblical theology to youth ministry methodology. If you are concerned on any level about seeing young people in your church build a faith that will last, then I highly recommend this book to you."
—Danny Mitchell, Youth and Family Ministries Consultant and Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Youth, New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, Tennessee


"John Williamson Nevin once critiqued Charles Grandison Finney's revivalism by distinguishing Finney's system of the [anxious] bench with historical Protestantism's system of the catechism. One philosophy of ministry looks for quick results while the other looks for gradual, sustained growth. One is based on ingenious methods while the other is based on God's methods. As a former youth pastor, I know that most models of American youth ministry are systems of the bench and are not saturated with the Word, sacraments, and prayer. Yet these are precisely the anchors that the souls of our youth need. These are precisely what Brian Cosby calls us back to. I thank God for this book."
—Daniel R. Hyde, Pastor, Oceanside United Reformed Church --.

"The percentage of students walking away from the church after high school is staggering. This book not only identifies the whys but gives applicable, biblical ways for the church and youth leaders to address this challenge head-on. I would recommend this as a must read for anyone concerned about the next generation."
—Jay Shaw, Youth Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama


"Structuring a modern youth ministry by following the contours of Scripture and keeping the body of Christ at the epicenter? What a novel idea! Yet this is just what Brian Cosby has done. And the result is radical and refreshing because the Bible remains cutting-edge in every culture. If you want true success in your ministry, here is the thought-through operational blueprint."
—R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois


"If you are serious about making a lasting impact in the lives of your youth and preparing them for the long haul of life, Giving up Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture is a must read. Brian Cosby understands how the ordinary means of grace change young people, draw them closer to Christ, and build a foundation that will last."
—Rod Culbertson, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina


"Brian Cosby believes that youth ministry should be based on the same means of grace that nurture the whole church. This book contains good theology that reflects his conviction that strong biblical doctrine will grip and transform the lives of youth (and others). So don't read this volume just as a handbook on how to minister to others you will find yourself challenged and strengthened by reading it! I commend him for writing it, and recommend it to youth workers and others for their personal growth as well as effective ministry."
—Joseph Martin, Professor of Biblical Studies and Ministries, Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi
--.

From the Back Cover

If you want true success in your ministry, here is the thought-through operational blueprint.
--R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois
 
Brian Cosby demonstrates a ministry approach that nurtures teens and brings them back for more--one solidly grounded in Christ and patterned after the means of grace: the Word, sacraments, prayer, service, and community. Learn how much teenagers not only need a deeper ministry, but want one too.
--Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama

Many youth ministry books are outdated almost as soon as they are published. . . . This book is different, grounding a vision of gospel-focused youth ministry in the permanent things of apostolic Christianity.
--Russell D. Moore, Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
 
For more than a generation now we have sought to attract and entertain our precious youth rather than nurture them by grace. The majority have responded by turning their backs on the church. Brian Cosby has listened to their heart and is offering us the best biblical guidance we could ever hope to receive.
--Michael Card, award-winning singer, songwriter, and author

Brian Cosby steps forward . . . and does something that has been unheard of: marrying solid biblical theology to youth ministry methodology. If you are concerned on any level about seeing young people in your church build a faith that will last, then I highly recommend this book to you.
--Danny Mitchell, Coordinator of Youth and Family Ministries, Presbyterian Church in America

As a former youth pastor, I know that most models of American youth ministry are systems of the bench and are not saturated with the Word, sacraments, and prayer. Yet these are precisely the anchors the souls of our youth need. These are precisely what Brian Cosby calls us back to. I thank God for this book.
--Daniel R. Hyde, Pastor, Oceanside United Reformed Church, Oceanside, California

If you are serious about making a lasting impact in the lives of your youth and preparing them for the long haul of life, Means of Grace Youth Ministry is a must read. Brian Cosby understands how the ordinary means of grace changes young people, draws them closer to Christ and builds a foundation that will last.
--Rod Culbertson, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

Brian Cosby believes that youth ministry should be based on the same means of grace that nurture the whole church. This book contains good theology that reflects his conviction that strong biblical doctrine will grip and transform the lives of youth (and others). So don't read this volume just as a handbook on how to minister to others--you will find yourself challenged and strengthened by reading it!  I commend him for writing it, and recommend it to youth workers and others for their personal growth as well as effective ministry.
--Joseph Martin, Professor of Biblical Studies and Ministries, Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi

In these pages, Cosby provides us with something exceedingly rare; namely, a clear, cogent and compelling articulation of biblical youth ministry!  I warmly commend this book.
--Jon Payne, Senior Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Douglasville, Georgia
 
In our entertainment culture in which the church often looks like the world in order to draw the world into the church, Brian Cosby offers us a much-needed word about the identity, purpose, and strategy of effective, God-centered youth ministry. A pleasure to read, this book brims over with winsome anecdotes, gospel-driven applications, and passionate pleas to recover biblical understandings on Holy Scripture, sacraments, spiritual discipline, and Christ-like community. For those who desire the gospel of Jesus Christ to permeate the lives of a new generation, this book is a must-read.
--Christian George, Jewell and Joe L. Huitt Assistant Professor of Religious Education, Oklahoma Baptist University

The percentage of students walking away from the church after High School is staggering.  This book not only identifies the "why's" but gives applicable, biblical, ways for the church and youth leaders to address this challenge head-on.  I would recommend this as a must read for anyone concerned about the next generation.
--Jay Shaw, Youth Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama






More About the Author

Brian H. Cosby is pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA) on Signal Mountain, Tennessee, and Visiting Professor of Church History at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta. He holds degrees from Samford University (B.A.), Beeson Divinity School (M.Div.), The North American Reformed Seminary (D.Min.), and Australian College of Theology (Ph.D.).

Customer Reviews

Some will read this book and immediately shun it because of it's doctrine.
N. K. Dunkin
Our church at the time was revamping and re-thinking our Youth Ministry program so this book came at the right time.
Gregory T Smith
There is something I just couldn't figure out: I couldn't tell who the intended audience was.
M. Kozma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By N. K. Dunkin on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been working with youth for over 17 years. During those years I have worked along side other youth pastors and youth leaders. What I have seen is what most are seeing in the church and youth ministry these days, that many churches in America have lost their roots, the means of Grace given to us by God. In his book, Cosby takes us back to what is missing in so many churches today. We tend to think that the means that God has given us to grow is not enough and we need to add our own thoughts, methods, and ideas into our ministry. Cosby takes us back to the basics of Scripture, Sacraments, and Prayer and then adds in Service and Community.

Cosby talks about holding our youth to high standards in teaching and expectations from youth. Don't we all want this for our children. We do this at home as we raise them. We don't try to entertain our kids, well at least I hope we don't, but we try to raise them to be responsible, learned Christians in the world who know Christ intimately and seek to deny themselves and follow Him. Shouldn't we expect the same from our youth ministry and church ministry?

There are some who will read this book and be encouraged because are already implementing this philosophy of ministry. May this spur you on to continue in faithfulness. Some will read this book and immediately shun it because of it's doctrine. The main takeaway from this book is that if we want to capture the hearts and minds hearts of our youth to grow up knowing Christ, serving him, and seeking him in the Word, then we need to take a close look at what Cosby has written.

Cosby's use of Scripture shows that he believes that Scripture is fundamental means that God has given us to know Him, know what He has done for us, and know what He expects of us as his children.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By M. Kozma on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like this book. I pre-ordered it after i read an excerpt online and thought, 'finally, a book that says what I am feeling!' Unfortunately, it doesn't quite deliver on what I expected. It is perhaps for this reason that I gave it 3 stars (though 3.5 is what i would prefer). In full disclosure, I am a youth pastor at a Baptist church in Virginia. Though I do not consider myself a hardcore Baptist (I am not a dispensationalist, a tee-totaler, or into outdated traditions), I do agree with much of baptist theology. In youth ministry i've tried it all, bands, games, gross-out contests, big events, ministry teams, etc. The whole thing is getting tired, expensive and unfruitful. 'Giving up the Gimmicks' agrees. Youth ministry is far too influenced by the entertainment culture. Churches struggle just to keep the attention of adolescents and when we flash enough bright lights, loud music and funny speakers at them to finally grab them, there is the briefest of windows to shove the Jesus pill down their throats and hope it works. But when 88% of youth leave the church after graduating high school, it is clear that our methodology isn't working.

Brian Cosby's answer: A means of grace ministry. I was interested in this phrase and ignorant of its meaning when I first approached the book. Thankfully, an entire chapter is dedicated to answering this question (chapter 2). Means of grace is a phrase common in Reformed churches referring to the outward means by which Christ communicates the blessing of his mediation on his people. Basically, it is the common avenues through which God establishes and grows our faith and blesses us.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you read one book about youth ministry, read this one.

I've worked in youth ministry for the past 7 years and was thankful to be taught early on that I was stepping into youth ministry, not youth entertainment. This distinction has been liberating for me, as it causes me to constantly evaluate what I'm doing. Am I simply pacifying kids, making sure they stay out of trouble and hopefully think about Jesus once in a while?

Cosby's book goes so much further than the advice I got. More than saying what not to do, he gives a helpful, biblical roadmap for what to do; the result is both convicting and freeing.

Read it for yourself, to find refreshment. Read it for those who lead with you, to do war against unhealthy expectations. Read it for those you lead, to help you remove the clutter so you can give them what they need: Jesus.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
We have a whole generation of kids who have grown up in a culture which disdains involvement, serious thought, deep commitment, real contentment, dedication, and solid content. Instead, image, instant gratification, pleasure, focus on self, distractions, selfishness, and entertainment are everything.

We seem to have an entire generation which is afflicted with ADD. This is not just affecting a few, but the whole lot - and the ability to sit still, to concentrate, to focus, to not have to be entertained, to not have to change topics every few minutes, is simply disappearing.

Kids raised on Sesame Street, video games, pop culture, mp3 players, and MTV have a hard time even just sitting still, let alone being committed to one thing, dedicated to a task, or involved in altruistic and selfless service for others. Our modern culture, in other words, is all about self.

And with the worship of self we have non-stop entertainment, obsessive self-gratification, and constant amusement. No wonder it is so hard for youth leaders to be able to reach and disciple the young in that sort of environment. It is a whole different world out there, and what Jesus demands of us is nothing at all like the surrounding culture.

Yet instead of being radically cross-cultural, so much of the church - and so much of youth ministry - is simply involved in trying to be just like the world. Thus youth ministry is all about entertainment, videos, and parties. The trouble is, the world usually doe a far better job of these sorts of activities, so bored Christian youth eventually just give up their faith.

That is the thesis, and the challenge, of this book.
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