As you may already know I am a huge fan of anything from the One Big Story range, and you’ll find many of those items in our recommended resources, well after having read EPIC (review here) I was hugely excited when author, Aaron Armstrong (Twitter) announced that a devotion book was on the way.
When the book was released, I immediately ordered a copy. Several days later, having received my personal copy, I saw that the title was available for review through the blogging group I am a part of. I decided to go on ahead and request a copy to review, that way I could give away one of them afterwards. The next day, to my confusion, the book arrives. There is no way it came THAT fast. When I opened the envelope (that was this incredible shiny blue) I realized that Aaron had sent me one. So now I have three, which is great news for the families in my ministry because I have added one of those to my giveaway pile (currently standing at 5 books). The other is going to my brother-in-law, who is 10.
The devotion book shares a near identical style with the preteen storybook, and so I’m not going to dig too much into that, because you can read about that in the original review. What I’m interested in here, as a Children’s Pastor (I got ordained in October, so my title changed, yay), is to see how this resource goes about trying to engage kids. Helpfully, pages 4 and 5 contain a sort of sample key as to what to expect, ahead of the 52 devotions. These devotions carry the narrative of Scripture from beginning to end. Can you even imagine the impact this could have if a committed preteen child sat down and used this to spend time with God, one section per week, for a year?
Each devotion is spread over four pages and follows a standard pattern:
- Scripture reference, encouraging kids to read it.
- One key verse from the reading
- An overview of the narrative of reading accompanied by pictures.
- A paragraph changing the direction of thought, from isolated story to part of the one big story – Jesus.
- Key learning/point from the story
- Thoughts/questions to consider, or an action to follow through with
- A memory verse, relative to the learning
There is a lot contained within each section, and honestly I am excited to see how my brother-in-law, Kaleb, likes the book. He loved EPIC and said he couldn’t stop reading it, so I am hopeful he likes this too. Preteens are in an awkward stage of not wanting anything “childish”, and want to use resources aimed at the “big kid” that they are, Aaron identified this as his focus, and from my perspective nailed it again. I am sure Kaleb will agree.
– Jared Simpson