Dec 19

New year, new book for youth workers to read together

We had the final monthly book group meeting this week and we finished reading “Family-Based Youth Ministry” by Mark DeVries. This has been an excellent book, challenging us on how churches do youth ministry. From the outset the book looks to challenge churches because “during the last century, churches have increasingly held to a single strategy that has become the defining characteristic (of traditional youth ministry): the isolation of teenagers from the adult world and particularly from their own parents.”

The book then explores how this reality has outworked in our churches, with parents looking to churches to provide complete spiritual development of their children and how churches have separated young people from the wider church, thinking that they wouldn’t want to be around adults. The reality is that is has caused a generation to not know how to interact with people of faith of all ages, and young people have left the church once they grew too old for the youth group.

it was a challenging read as we explored how youth leaders can work more in partnership with parents, realising that there is a co-responsibility for the spiritual development of young people, although the primary responsibility must lie with the parents. it was great to see how youth leaders could support parents more (see my recent blog post on 5 ways to partner with parents) but also seeing there is a massive need for parents to get alongside youth leaders, to encourage them, show them gratitude and to pray together.

As you can see, it has been well worth the time studying together.

Next year, we are going to read a book which follows on naturally from this one: ‘Mend the Gap – Can the Church Reconnect the Generations?’ by Jason Gardner. This is written from an English perspective (as opposed to the U.S. perspective of DeVries) and is a superb book not just for youth leaders but for church leaders. I wrote a review of this book when I worked at CPAS, which you can read to find out more.

If you would like to be a part of this book group, we meet monthly on Monday mornings. Get in touch for more details. Or you can read it remotely and discuss its implications, perhaps leaving comments to this blog post.

Whatever your situation, get reading!