Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students

Cooper Pinson
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9781945270918
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Description

Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students gives teenagers and young adults a biblical, gospel-centered framework to understand sexual issues. In a changing culture where feelings about our identity inform our sexual choices, this ten-week small group resource from Harvest USA applies biblical truth in a compassionate way to sexual struggles.

Cooper Pinson, with years of experience working with students, aims to bring the theological truths of our union and communion with Christ into the world of sexuality. Students are met where they are and encouraged to talk about the issues that are part of their everyday world. At the same time, Pinson guides them to learn robust, deep, and strengthening theological content that will help them follow Jesus in how they express their sexuality.

Out of this framework, topics addressed include God's good design for sexuality, gender-related issues, singleness, dating, marriage, masturbation, pornography, and same-sex attraction, among others. Students are shepherded to understand their sexuality in light of who Jesus is and to approach these issues with truth, faith, and compassion.

Author

Cooper Pinson, MDiv, speaks to and helps create resources for those who work with students, including Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students and Helping Students with Same-Sex Attraction. Having volunteered, interned, and been on staff in the world of youth ministry, he has a passion for helping students follow Jesus, particularly in the area of sexuality. Cooper and his wife, Katie, have two, beautiful daughters.

Harvest USA is a non-profit that has been ministering to individuals and families affected by sexual struggles since 1983. With over 100 years of combined direct ministry experience, Harvest USA staff also seek to equip the Church with their writing and teaching on biblical sexuality and how to help those who struggle sexually.

 

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Endorsements

"With the culture screaming skewed and destructive sexual guidance into our students' ears around the clock, we must step up and speak God's life-giving message about sex and sexuality into the lives of the kids we know and love. Alive provides much-needed gospel-centered content in a ready-to-use format that enables leaders to speak God's life-giving message about sex and sexuality into students' lives."
Walt Mueller, President, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding

"This book is helpful on many levels: it's both solidly biblical and user-friendly practical; it's pastoral and encouraging without softening the truth; and the topics it covers in chapters 4 through 10 are all ones desperately needing careful reflection from Christians today. I intend to use it with my graduate students this coming fall!"
Kevin Offner, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Director of Grad-Faculty Ministries for Washington, DC area universities

"Confusion over sexual ethics is rife among Christians because of the messages sent by the wider culture—whether the politics of identity, the omnipresence of pornography, or the promotion of promiscuity via the entertainment industry. Therefore, thoughtful teaching on such matters is vital in Christian discipleship. This excellent book provides a solid curriculum, which pastors, youth workers, and small group leaders will find most helpful in guiding people to a clear understanding of biblical teaching."
Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College

"I highly recommend this new resource! Harvest USA does a great job bringing the conviction of God's Word as well as the compassion of the gospel to bear on the issues of human sexuality. Students will not only be informed, but they will also be better equipped to offer the love of Jesus to friends who may be struggling and need a safe place to ask questions."
Michael A. Hall, Director of Training, Reformed Youth Ministries

"In the shifting sexual landscape of our time where anything goes and 'love wins,' our teenagers have readily accepted this new worldview. But when we, as parents and the church, fail to enter into the conversation, why should we be surprised when their cues come from culture? To that end, Alive is the perfect and necessary resource to help teenagers, parents, and the church evaluate the issues through the framework of God's good design of marriage and sex." 
Kristen Hatton, Author of The Gospel-Centered Life for Students in ExodusFace Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World, and Get Your Story Straight

"Talking about sexuality can be a daunting task, but Alive is an amazing study for students that clearly defines gospel sexuality by providing theologically rich teaching, practical insight, and discussion-oriented lessons. We live in a world that is constantly telling students that God is keeping them from something great, and we must show them that God is actually preserving them for something greater. This is a must-use curriculum for every student ministry!"
Jay Shaw, Youth Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL

"Students today are being bombarded with messages of broken sexuality. As parents and youth workers, we know it is important to share God's perspective, but often do not know where to start. Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students presents a gospel-centered approach to this complex topic. It pushes us to look beyond the 'fruit' of sexual sin to the issues of the heart in a practical and grace-filled way."
Jon Shepherd, Student Ministry Director, Chelten, a Church of Hope, Dresher, PA

"As our culture has cut itself loose from any sense of biblical mooring when it comes to sexuality, Alive steps into the massive gap that our youth are now facing. It unashamedly addresses the relevant issues, and brings students through the Scriptures to understand God's will as well as the heart motivations behind each behavior. The rising generation will be well served by Pinson's biblical and compassionate discipleship."
Ben Falconer, Senior Pastor, Proclamation Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA

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11 Reviews

  • 5
    Empower our teens

    Posted by Melissa Finnegan on 06 10 2019

    This would be a great group study for teens. It talks about a lot of issues that we often try to sweep under the rug. I believe the way this is laid out and the questions it offers would highly engage the teen reader. There are truly tough topics in this study but we can't keep ignoring them, they are not going away. We need to empower our young people to deal with the many issues around them and this study will do this.

  • 5
    Must have for congregational leaders!

    Posted by Julius L McCarter on 06 10 2019

    Harvest USA's recent curriculum, Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students and its accompanying videos, God's Design for Sexuality in a Changing Culture, bring over two decades of ministry experience with sexuality issues into conversation with Scripture and spiritual growth and development. While the curriculum is especially geared for high school students, it operates from the assumption that our identity is formed in the waters of baptism, not in the modern definitions of human sexuality. As a pastor, I appreciate the approach. The open-endedness of the questions in Alive offer students opportunities to reflect on Scripture and enter into real conversations in the local church around one of the most important, yet deeply-neglected, concerns in our culture. God's Design for Sexuality in a Changing Culture helps guide those conversations in the local church -- particularly in those contexts where congregational leaders feel incompetent. Some years ago, a local congregation with which I was involved attempted to have one of those conversations around homosexuality, only to have that conversation cancelled by older members. This is a resource that would have helped them negotiate those choppy waters. Together, Alive and God's Design for Sexuality in a Changing Culture are excellent resources, though I wouldn't consider them the final authority. For that, we turn to the Spirit. And these resources will help the Church discern where the Spirit is leading us into the future as followers of Jesus Christ.

  • 5
    of 5 starsThe Most Relevant Book Youth Needs to Have Right Now

    Posted by Julie Arduini on 06 10 2019

    Harvest USA, applies biblical truth in a compassionate way to sexual struggles. Cooper Pinson, with years of experience working with students, aims to bring the theological truths of our union and communion with Christ into the world of sexuality. Students are met where they are and encouraged to talk about the issues that are part of their everyday world. At the same time, they are guided to learn robust, deep, and strengthening theological content that will help them follow Jesus in how they express their sexuality. Out of this framework, topics addressed include God's good design for sexuality, gender-related issues, singleness, dating, marriage, masturbation, pornography, and same-sex attraction, among others. Students are shepherded to understand their sexuality in the light of who Jesus is and to approach these issues with truth, faith, and compassion. I love to be around young people. When I taught Sunday School I let them know it was because I walked away from church and missed hearing important, life-changing messages in my formative years. They might reject any message I share, but at least they will have heard it. That's the same mentality I have for teens and God's design for sexuality. Teens need to hear Biblical truth, especially when it comes to sex. There is so much pressure, starting at younger and younger ages over all the topics that Alive covers. I appreciate that Alive tackles every possible subject I could imagine when it comes to sexuality, down to transgender and dating abuse. This 10-week study starts with a weekly scenario, then moves on to reflective questions regarding the scenario. There is Biblical search and discussion on the topic, as well as questions to thoroughly engage in the topic. I thought the author did a fantastic job tackling the sensitive subjects with such comprehension and Biblical wisdom. The Leader's Guide is probably the best resource I've ever come across in a study. I know most youth groups might be nervous to talk about the very specific issues included in this study, but if we don't, the world will. I can't think of a book more relevant book that doesn't compromise truth, yet also is not a harsh political agenda, than Alive. I truly hope youth pastors and leaders embrace everything Alive offers teens, and that teens move past the awkward silence and giggles to tackle everything Alive has. I truly believe the teen years will be better handled with this information. Alive is intended for 8th grade through high school and suggested to use in a small group, gender specific format. They believe by doing so, a small group featuring leaders of the same sex as teens will help make the study more comfortable and the atmosphere one to build trust and conversation.

  • 5
    A great resource!

    Posted by Rayleigh Gray on 06 10 2019

    Sexuality is a hot topic anywhere except in the church. Christians don't like to talk about this "taboo subject", and because of that, many people, young adults and teens especially, don't know how handle compromising situations regarding their sexuality or the sexuality of others. Because, to Christians, "sex is bad and gays are wrong". No explanations given. So the goal of Alive is to inspire conversation within a small group regarding this topic and to give a Biblical foundation to why Christians believe what they believe. New Adult fiction is a rapidly growing genre. More and more teens and young adults are presented with movies and books that grapple with questions and situations faced by these new adults, and as I'm sure you could guess, sexual orientation is at the top of the list. I am a very strong Christian, and sometimes the messages in these books (which are not Christian) can cause even me to take a step back and think, "Well they do have a point..." Young adults definitely NEED to be able to talk about their concerns, ask their questions, and even confess confusing feelings, and because most churches don't allow that "type of talk", they go to their friends, who may or may not steer them back to The Word.

  • 5
    This book is a great resource for youth groups and church libraries to have on hand,

    Posted by Amanda Holmes on 10 20 2018

    Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students gives teenagers and young adults a biblical, gospel-centered framework to understand sexual issues. In a changing culture where feelings about our identity inform our sexual choices, this ten-week small group resource by Cooper Pinson of Harvest USA, applies biblical truth in a compassionate way to sexual struggles. Cooper Pinson, with years of experience working with students, aims to bring the theological truths of our union and communion with Christ into the world of sexuality. Students are met where they are and encouraged to talk about the issues that are part of their everyday world. At the same time, they are guided to learn robust, deep, and strengthening theological content that will help them follow Jesus in how they express their sexuality. Out of this framework, topics addressed include God's good design for sexuality, gender-related issues, singleness, dating, marriage, masturbation, pornography, and same-sex attraction, among others. Students are shepherded to understand their sexuality in the light of who Jesus is and to approach these issues with truth, faith, and compassion. My thoughts: This book is a great resource for youth groups and church libraries to have on hand, since it is a great guide to get students thinking about what the Bible says about sexuality. I like that the scenarios are short and to the point, backed up with thought provoking questions and scripture verses to get kids thinking about where they stand on important issues. This book has a section for everyone to go through, along with another section for the guide.

  • 5
    Great group study

    Posted by Amanda Holmes on 10 12 2018

    This book is a great resource for youth groups and church libraries to have on hand, since it is a great guide to get students thinking about what the Bible says about sexuality. I like that the scenarios are short and to the point, backed up with thought provoking questions and scripture verses to get kids thinking about where they stand on important issues. This book has a section for everyone to go through, along with another section for the guide. I received this book from the publisher. This is my honest review.

  • 4
    A resource to guide youth to the Biblical truth about sex & sexuality.

    Posted by ALP on 09 24 2018

    Sex and sexuality is probably one of the most thought about and talked about subjects in the world of a teenager. Society hits teens from all sides - be it gender, relationships, media, etc., our children are getting told lots of things through every aspect of their life. What they learn from their friends, schools, movies, books, special interest groups and other worldly influences is certainly not what we, as Godly parents, want our children to hear or worse - believe. Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students is a wonderful resource to help guide our youth to the Biblical truth about sex and sexuality. This leaders guide/student workbook looks at God's design for us and tackles many very sensitive issues. The leader's guide is laid out in a very user friendly manner for the youth leader (or even the parent who wants to use this as a guide to talk to their teens). There are questions to discuss, scenarios for the students to read, issues to cover and even touches on abuse and rape. This is designed for a group setting and would definitely be best in a gender specific group. I know, as a female, I certainly wouldn't want to talk about these things in front of a male! I'm not sure how I feel about this book having both the leader's guide as well as the student workbook in one volume. It is nice for the leader, but the students have all the answers and information at their fingertips, taking the thinking and spontaneity away from the discussion. These kids really need to sit and think and consider how serious sex is and how God's design works for us!

  • 4
    A must for every teen!

    Posted by Theresa on 09 19 2018

    Sex and sexuality is probably one of the most thought about and talked about subjects in the world of a teenager. Society hits teens from all sides - be it gender, relationships, media, etc., our children are getting told lots of things through every aspect of their life. What they learn from their friends, schools, movies, books, special interest groups and other worldly influences is certainly not what we, as Godly parents, want our children to hear or worse - believe. Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students is a wonderful resource to help guide our youth to the Biblical truth about sex and sexuality. This leaders guide/student workbook looks at God's design for us and tackles many very sensitive issues. The leader's guide is laid out in a very user friendly manner for the youth leader (or even the parent who wants to use this as a guide to talk to their teens). There are questions to discuss, scenarios for the students to read, issues to cover and even touches on abuse and rape. This is designed for a group setting and would definitely be best in a gender specific group. I know, as a female, I certainly wouldn't want to talk about these things in front of a male! I'm not sure how I feel about this book having both the leader's guide as well as the student workbook in one volume. It is nice for the leader, but the students have all the answers and information at their fingertips, taking the thinking and spontaneity away from the discussion. These kids really need to sit and think and consider how serious sex is and how God's design works for us! I received a copy of these books from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

  • 5
    A Must Have for All Youth Groups

    Posted by Lauren DuPrez on 09 10 2018

    When New Growth Press reached out to me with the opportunity to read and review Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students, I was ecstatic! This may seem a strange admission considering the book deals with a touchy topic but with over five years of experience serving in youth ministry, I knew this book would be timely and much needed. Part of the Vision of the book states, "We want to talk about the issues that are part of our everyday world. But we also want to lead you toward robust, deep, and strengthening theological content that will help you follow Jesus in the area of sexuality. As you hopefully identify with the content, our prayer is that the content will in turn challenge you to grow further in your Christian walk," (pg. 1). Alive isn't necessarily a chapter book but rather a 10 week study for groups of students to go through together. Each week provides a different topic for discussion and each topic relates in some way to sexuality. The book is divided into two sections. The first section is for students and the second section is a leaders guide. I appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into this aspect of the book because youth ministries don't often have large budgets in which money can be spent on books for students and separate guides for leaders. This book is a great resource for youth ministry leaders because many of the questions require students to critically think about the scenarios and thoughtfully respond. As a former youth ministry leader, I really appreciate that the questions are set up in such a way to allow for discussion rather than just a fill in the blank option with only one "right" answer. The questions are also faithful to point students to what Scripture says about each of the ten topics. There are sections of the book that create opportunities for larger group discussions and sections also designed for guys and girls to separate and talk. I feel that having the questions crafted in this manner will really aid youth leaders in fostering discussions about sensitive subjects. I really appreciated that the questions for the separate group discussions did not change based on gender. I believe this is so important because it is generally assumed that sexual sins are primarily a struggle only with men. Having experience serving in youth ministry, I know that this is not the case. While the outward action may be the same, the heart intention behind it can often be different and Alive does a great job of allowing students opportunities to discuss that and look to Christ as their only hope for conquering sin, sexual or otherwise. Alive also encourages students to use their sexuality to bring Christ glory - a rare, yet much needed point that is imperative for students to consider. I really enjoyed reading Alive and highly recommend it. I have never seen quite a resource before and am thankful to have received this book prior to parenting teens as I feel it will greatly aid in that too. I received Alive compliments of New Growth Press in exchange for my honest review.

  • 4
    A Small Group Study for Teens on Sexuality

    Posted by Theron St. John on 09 07 2018

    Silence is not an option. In a culture freely expressing and speaking on sexuality, the church cannot be quiet. While the need to speak up is important to the church in general, it is absolutely crucial to teach the youth of the church how to stand firm as Christians with conviction and compassion in a culture of confusion and compromise. As an associate pastor of youth and families, my passion is for these young people to see how to steward their sexuality faithfully in an entitled culture. That is why I am grateful for Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students, a youth ministry resource edited by Harvest USA staff member and speaker Cooper Pinson. Questions to Guide In this 10-week small group study, students will interact with God’s design for our sexuality, what went wrong with sexuality, how to get to the heart of the problem, while addressing sensitive topics like pornography, masturbation, homosexuality, and transgender and giving guidance on subjects like dating, singleness, and marriage. Each lesson follows the structure of sharing a scenario, posing reflecting questions, considering the issue, looking at the issue in life, and summarizing the point of the lesson. The resource itself is divided into two sections: a student’s guide and a leader’s guide. The student’s guide makes it apparent the study is not intended to be lecture-based as it is filled with questions for students to work and struggle their way through. The leader’s guide provides possible answers and pointers to the questions of discussion in the student’s guide. The last section of this guide features an appendix to think through issues of abuse and rape and contains a glossary for terms that may be unfamiliar to those participating in the study. Essential Guide for Every Youth Leader This small group resource is an essential guide for every youth pastor and leader to use in teaching their high school students in church how their relationship with Jesus Christ empowers and equips them to stand firm in the faith and find hope in the truth. The 10-week study shows students how a biblical worldview tackles these tough topics on sexuality. The resource takes the group to Scripture in every lesson to see what the Bible says. For students, their guide provides no answers for their questions but encourages them to understand and handle their battles and struggles as they are in union with Christ as believers. For leaders, they are given possible answers to the questions in the student’s guide and are given pointers as they lead the study in a conversational and interactive manner focused on discussion and application. A Package Deal? Because of the distinction between the student’s guide and leader’s guide, I do wonder if this small group resource would be better as two separate books. I see the value of formatting the two guides into one book but due to the list of questions in the student’s guide and the possible answers and pointers in the leader’s guide, having them both in one place is not exactly a package deal. Splitting up the two guides into two books would make more sense in a study on such sensitive subjects. Of course, this minor critique does not take away from the content of this study. For Churches and High Schoolers In conclusion, this 10-week study for youth is ideal for high school students due to the nature of the addressed topics and, as the study says, “best used in gender-specific smaller group settings” (Pinson 66). This Harvest USA resource addresses a broad range of categories on sexuality that few studies have. Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students is the resource churches need in order to challenge their youth to grow further in their Christian walk as they learn what it means to live sexually faithful and holy lives in a sexualized culture. I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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