Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Losers Club: Lessons from the Least Likely Heroes of the Bible

Jeff Kinley's book Losers Club: Lessons From the Least Likely Heroes of the Bible invites teens to take a personal look at twelve characters from Scripture, recognizing how much we may have in common and what we can learn from their lives. The tone eliminates pretense and seems to set everyone on the same level. It asserts that God can (and wants to!) use everyone, even those who, from human perspective, appear to be losers.

The text is divided into three sections of four chapters, each detailing the life (or a few aspects of that person's life) and a specific question drawn from it.

Famous Doubters:
  • Moses: Can God really use me?
  • David: Is God really there?
  • John the Baptist: Is Jesus really the Messiah?
  • Thomas: Is Jesus really alive?
Faithful Failures:
  • Solomon: Why do I feel so empty?
  • Mary Magdalene: Can God use me after all I've been through?
  • Samson: How can I stop messing up my life?
  • John Mark: Will I always be a "Newb"?
Forgotten Heroes:
  • Rahab: Does my life matter?
  • Bartimaeus: Am I desperate for God?
  • Aristarchus: What kind of friend am I?
  • Stephen: Will God ever cheer for me?

The book tackles topics relevant to most teens (and most adults), issues such as insecurity, loneliness, forgiveness, redemption, sanctification and purpose.

What I Like: Nearly everything! This would be a great choice for a teen book club or youth group study. I especially like the inclusion of female and lesser-known characters. By the time kids reach high school, most can quote backwards the stories of Noah, Joseph, Daniel and and the other big Bible players. This book introduces them to some people they may not have met yet and offers a fresh perspective on some characters we thought we knew, like David, John the baptist and Moses.The tone is unpretentious and conversational, something definitely attractive to teens. Scripture references permeate the text grounding it fully in truth.

What I Dislike: The illustrations appear crude and juvenile. Teen boys probably think they're great, but I found them irritating, distracting even. Also, this isn't a complaint, but an observation that might deter some readers: the book targets both guys and gals, but the tone and language clearly lean toward a masculine style of communication. It includes lots of sports references, direct and pragmatic arguments whereas a female author would likely offer a gentler approach with longer descriptions and more emotion. I like the bold approach! I just think it appeals more to guys than girls.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: Teens

Publisher Info: Zondervan, 2006; ISBN: 0310262623; Paperback; 208 pages; $9.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $8.99!
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $9.99.

This title is also available as an ebook for $6.99 from Christianbook.com or $6.64 from Amazon.com. You can also get it as an audiobook for $9.99.

Special Info: Visit the author's website (www.jeffkinley.com) for more information about him, his ministry and his other books.

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Kathy Cassel said...

The cover does not grab me at all. I'd rather see several kids of different races, boys and girls.

The title doesn't work for me either. I understand what they are doing, but it implies there are losers doing God's work. I think it should be called, "Winners Circle" because when God calls and equips someone to do his work, they are truly winners no matter how they come across to others.

Tanya said...

I agree with you that the cover is a bit off-putting. It does, however, fit with the tone and target audience of the book.

One of the first lines (from the introduction) states that the book is "about losers for losers." The author then goes on to explain that by "loser" he simply means anyone who has gone through a "losing season" in life. That basically means everyone. We've all had times when we feel fully inferior to the football quarterback or the head cheerleader. The lessons in this book are intended for those seasons.

THANKS for reading CCBR and for leaving your thoughts! I really appreciate it.