Which “New Believer” Workbook is Best?

When I first began leading in children’s ministry, I remember how difficult it was to decide which “new believer” workbook to give out to our new Christians. I recently compared two leading workbooks, side-by-side, to see which one was the overall best. Here are my findings:

My Good News Journal
Author: Rob Sanders
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
Date Published: 2000
Target Age Group: 8-12 year olds
Link to Book: My Good News Journal

 

I’m a Christian Now: Older Kids
Author: Todd Capps and Sherry Shaw
Publisher: LifeWay
Date Published: 2009
Target Age Group: 8-12 year olds
Link to Book: I’m a Christian Now: Older Kids

 

If you want an overview of my conclusions, without reading all the details, just read the “Winner” category under each section.

 

Appearance

My Good News Journal: Cover has a drawing that looks like it was done by a young child, possibly younger than the targeted audience. The inside has a lot of clip art. All inside photos and text are black and white print. Fonts and clip art images are age appropriate, but look dated. Pages are neatly arranged and are pleasing to the eye.

I’m a Christian Now: Cover has a photo of 3 older children, all of which look to be the age of the targeted audience for this book. The inside has cartoon drawings that look very modern. All pages are printed in full color. Pages are neatly arranged and are pleasing to the eye. Everything looks on par to be appealing to the target audience.

Winner: I’m a Christian Now
With full color pages and appealing fonts and images, I’m a Christian Now wins this category by a land-slide.

Appropriateness

My Good News Journal: This book has a lot of reading involved, considering the target age group. At times it seems as if there is too much to do in this workbook. Children may feel like they have added an extra class to their school homework assignments. The puzzles and activities are very appropriate for the targeted age (not too difficult or too easy).

I’m a Christian Now: The amount of reading involved seems very appropriate, with the activities and reading probably taking around 10-15 minutes each day. The puzzles and activities are very appropriate for the targeted age (not too difficult or too easy).

Winner: I’m a Christian Now
Because “My Good News Journal” has so many puzzles and activities, children may feel burdened by the book. “I’m a Christian Now” keeps them involved, but does it without causing the children to have too much of a workload on them.

Content

My Good News Journal: The large categories that this workbook covers are: Follow up on salvation decision, attending church, baptism, communion, next steps (going to worship, praying, reading the Bible, ministering to others, evangelism), physical growth chart, and it has a 12 month Christian-walk journal. This book is developed for children to use over the course of a year, but a large majority is to be used right away. With puzzles, games, and writing activities, the book is designed to be very interactive. When reading the book, there appears to be no timeline about when or how much of the lessons a child should do.

I’m a Christian Now: The large categories that this workbook covers are: How to use this book, what it means to be a Christian, follow-up on salvation decision, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the church, church leadership, ministering to others, evangelism, reading the Bible, prayer, and writing a testimony. This book is divided up into four 1-week sessions, with activities that are clearly labeled Day 1, Day 2…up to Day 7 on each week. This book has many puzzles, activities, and games and also includes a “decoder” which allows children to see hidden messages on different pages throughout the book.

Winner: Tie
Both books include everything a new Christian needs to know. The winner in this category would probably depend upon if you prefer the information to be broken down into a daily amount of work or not.

Leader Resources

My Good News Journal: There are no designated leader resources for this book. To teach this in a class setting, a leader would have to follow along with a child in the same book.

I’m a Christian Now: Leader resources come with four weeks of materials to teach a class on this workbook. The resources include tips on teaching the class, tips for counseling children about salvation, a certificate for the children who complete the course, take-home papers for parents, posters, and games. The workbook would serve as the take-home, daily assignments for the children in the class.

Winner: I’m a Christian Now
Besides the fact that there are no leader resources for “My Good News Journal,” the resources for “I’m a Christian Now” are great for anyone to be able to lead children in their next steps as Christians.

My Take

I have been using “I’m a Christian Now” for years and love it. In addition to the information that has been presented above, “I’m a Christian Now” also comes in a version for younger children, whereas “My Good News Journal” is the only one of its kind. I highly recommend “I’m a Christian Now” to anyone in need of a children’s resource for new Christians. Its diversity as a workbook for parents and children to do together at home or as homework for a classroom setting makes it a perfect solution for any church.

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