Ministry Journey Blog

Thoughts on Ministry

12 Jan

Product Review: Grapple

Posted in Uncategorized on 12.01.12 by Merlyn

Published in Youth Worker Journal- Date: TBD

Grapple Jr. High: Three Big Questions

Simply Youth Ministry

Group Publishing, 2011, 123 pp., $29.99,

A challenging aspect of youth ministry programming is finding the right curriculum to use with your group, particularly junior high youth.  It can be frustrating to find easy to use, relevant and Biblically sound curriculum that does not require a significant amount of editing. Junior high is a critical time in the faith formation of these energetic youth.

Grapple Jr. High: Three Big Questions is a twelve lesson curriculum for junior high youth. The lessons address a variety of relevant questions organized around three topics: God, others, and self. This product includes the book with the twelve detailed lessons and resources, a CD containing a team guide, leader guides, and student guides for each of the lessons that can be easily distributed to leaders and students. Also included is a DVD, which contains 2-3 minute video clips used in the lessons.

This curriculum would be very useful for junior high programs in most ministry settings. The topics organized around the great commission are relevant and diverse. This comprehensive tool provides a hard copy of the lessons as well as electronic versions, tools and resources that can be easily used and reproduced for leaders and youth. The well-organized lessons provide a variety of activities and approaches to the lesson that engage the various learning styles of youth. Each part of the lesson varies in length to help break up the lesson while providing focus for the topic and question addressed. The video clips are short but may seem too infantile to some junior high youth. This curriculum provides more lesson material and ideas than will be needed for most youth programs, which means youth leaders will need to select which parts of the lesson are most helpful and relevant. This product would be a great choice for youth ministries of all types and sizes looking for quality, relevant, theologically and Biblically sound lessons for junior high youth providing all of the tools that paid or volunteer youth workers would need to lead the lesson. This product would be helpful for youth ministries who are seeking to address relational questions junior high youth face. I would not recommend this product for youth ministries in need of a curriculum that can be implemented without any preparation or planning. I would recommend this product for use with junior high youth and plan on using it in my own youth ministry.

Rev. Marcus J Carlson has worked with children and youth for over 13 years and is a spiritual director. He current serves as Associate Pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, CO. (

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