The Gospel in Hard Times for Students, by Joni and Friends, is a faith-bolstering small group resource that illustrates how suffering is a catalyst that can deepen our understanding of God’s plan.
Through eight in-depth sessions, This resource points to Jesus, our Good Shepherd, for answers to today’s hard questions.
This study guide includes leader’s notes, real-life stories for discussion, biblical application, suggested video clips, and action plans to demonstrate how Jesus identifies with our sorrow. This study guide invites readers to see that how we choose to react and manage hardship has life-altering potential.
In this small group resource, young men and women can learn how the church carries the burden of suffering, seeking gospel answers to questions such as, “Why am I going through this?” and “Where is God when I need him?”
The Gospel in Hard Times for Students explores how a loving faith community—one body with many parts—can not only meet our needs but also help us walk alongside others who are afflicted, disabled, and marginalized.
Joni and Friends is an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community. Founded in 1979, their mission is to communicate the gospel and equip Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability. The organization authors numerous books including titles such as the Beyond Suffering Bible, Real Families, Real Needs, and a series of church resources entitled The Irresistible Church.
Chonda Ralston, MA, has served as a contributor and editor for numerous Joni and Friends resources over the past decade, including Life in the Balance, Beyond Suffering: A Christian View on Disability Ministry, the Beyond Suffering Bible, and Real Families, Real Needs.
Christen Morrow-Ara has led ministry with youth with varying abilities for over twenty years. She serves with Young Life, overseeing the Capernaum ministry in the Southwest. Christen and her husband Christian live in Central California with their three children.
Pat Verbal, MA, former senior manager of publishing and resources at Joni and Friends, draws from her many years of experience as a director of Christian education and school administrator. She served as managing editor/contributor for the Beyond Suffering Bible, and her other writings include Life in the Balance, Special Needs Ministry for Children, and Beyond Suffering: A Christian View on Disability Ministry.
“The Gospel in Hard Times for Students will absolutely give faith, courage, and endurance through any thorns we may face. You do not have to be in a wheelchair to have a disabled heart. Joni Eareckson Tada is the epitome of living! When one soul, who may have a ‘disabled’ body, puts GO in front of the word disable, it spells GOD IS ABLE. Hard times will always be there, but so will God!”
Nick Vujicic, Evangelist; founder of Life Without Limbs
“It’s easy to scroll through everyone else’s highlight reels on social media and feel alone in our suffering. The Gospel in Hard Times for Students offers an invitation to admit our brokenness and gives us a roadmap toward healing. Whether you are experiencing physical, spiritual, emotional, or social suffering, this small group study will facilitate deep conversations and point you to the only One who can truly heal.”
Drew Hill, Pastor; award-winning author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel
“Do you ever feel alone in your struggles? Research shows that young people today are facing feelings of isolation as never before. The Gospel in Hard Times for Students is an excellent resource for small groups in which the author reminds us that we are not alone even when walking through suffering. Each lesson provides Scripture and relevant, current stories for discussion as demonstrations of the truth that God is always faithfully with us.”
Pamela A. Harmon, Vice President of Young Life Capernaum
“We will all suffer in this broken world. We don’t get to opt out of that. But we do get to choose whether we suffer in a redemptive way or a destructive way. I love this study guide because it shows us how to suffer in a redemptive way, just like Joni does. The Gospel in Hard Times for Students takes us into studying the Scriptures directly, where our roots most need to grow deeper in hard times.”
David Lyons, International Vice President of The Navigators; author of Don’t Waste the Pain: Learning to Grow Through Suffering
“People who are suffering and those who want to help them will find The Gospel in Hard Times for Students to be a timely resource! This inspiring study illustrates how the power of God’s Word leads to hope. The sweetness of Christ’s presence as a fellow sufferer and the comfort of his people are wonderfully illustrated. People are encouraged to raise hard questions in safe communities that provide purpose, care, and dignity.”
Dr. A. Charles Ware, President Emeritus, Crossroads Bible College; founder/CEO, The Grace Relations Network
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