Small group leaders and pastors in student ministry will do well to acquaint themselves with the Gospel-Centered Life in Mark for Students, a 12-week study for teens and young adults. This study guide is ideal for individual discipleship, small group, or large settings. In Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything, from New Growth Press, John Perritt introduces students to Jesus himself, not a how-to-be-a-better-person lesson. He wants them to know Jesus as the hero he really is.
How does the format work? Really well. Each lesson opens with a clearly stated big idea (thesis) followed by a reading from a portion of Mark and a list of questions to help students unpack the scripture passage. Perritt asks things like, Why was Jesus angry in the book of Mark? How does Peter’s denial of Jesus still fit into God’s perfect plan? What does it mean that even Jesus begs his Father to allow suffering to be removed from him?Each lesson includes devotional articles by the author and a section of practical questions about applying what Mark is teaching about Jesus. These questions are great for personal reflection or group discussion. The book also includes leader’s notes to help guide the leader through further discussion of the content.
Taking his cue from the Mark himself, Perritt devotes deeper discussion—and more chapters—to the final week of Jesus’s life (just as the Gospel itself does). The best parts of the book are the application questions and the simple, effective organization of each lesson. If the rest of the series is anything like this one, get all 12! Send them to the youth and young adult pastors in your life.
Perritt hopes students come away with a better understanding of the themes in the gospel of Mark, a better understanding of the man, Jesus Christ, who is the gospel, and a bigger love and appreciation for their Savior. If students take the time to actually work through these lessons, I think Perritt’s goals are easily reachable. He’s put together a solid resource for knowing Christ better.