I just finished a book entitled How to Stay Christian in High School by Steven P Gerali a book written to encourage teens that they do not have to give into the pressures from the world. I kind of had mixed emotions about the book. But here is the good and bad of the book:
The book was a fresh look at teenagers in the Bible and their ability to overcome great obstacles. I never really thought about how many people in the Bible that we call “Men of God” were really teenagers when their testimony of trust in God was tested. This book really got me to think about other characters outside of the book that faced great testing as a young adult.
As a youth pastor I will adapt some things from this book to encourage my youth group. Two specific teens that the author looks at, Daniel and Joseph, were thrust into pagan societies as teenagers but by the grace of God were able to resist the temptations of the world around them. While they were able to be raised in the early part of their lives in “Christian” homes, as teenagers they were completely separated from the godly influences of their family, but were able to find the strength through God to face their difficult situations. These two were a specific encouragement to me because I know that teens so many times feel like it is impossible to live godly with the seemingly overwhelming ungodly influence around them. This isn’t just how a teen going to public school feels, it is the way teenagers in any type of schooling feels. Even though as I spent my entire teenage years either in a Christian school or homeschooled, I still felt overwhelmed at times with the amount of effort it took to keep a right relationship with God. So there are going to be some good lessons I can adapt from this book.
There is a reason that I am going to adapt lessons from this book, rather than use this book as written to use as a Sunday School curriculum. I feel like while trying to make the book feel relevant today, that they over killed it, and at times seemed irreverent to the Scriptures. This isn’t to say that they did it on purpose, but it still struck me in a negative way at times.
I also feel like the author had to assume a lot with some of the points he made, or ways he brought a story together. If I did not already have a keen knowledge of the Bible and the characters that the author presented in the book, it could have possibly come across as more than just creative liberties, but could have made me think that it must really be what the Bible says.
Overall if I were to give this book a rating it would be a 2.5 out of 5 stars. Not a book that I would scream from the rooftops for people to read, but a good one to read like you eat a fish, eating the good parts and spitting out the bones. Looking forward to using some of the thoughts from this book, to teach and preach to my teens.