Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries When a man sticks with youth ministry for some thirty years, he’s going to get a grip on what is important. DeVries has a grip on youth ministry. He has worked in a few churches and coached many churches through youth ministry crises. He is not like many who are shifted around every three years. He has been successful because he is objective, understands the heart of a young person and knows how to work on a church staff. I was personally taken aback at how well he understood how a youth minister should relate to the senior pastor. Who in their right mind would want to work with youth anyway? A lot of us! It’s going to be someone who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and knows that young people are the key to future leadership. Young people are often easier to get to know, because they don’t have quite as much baggage as adults. Young people are just like adults in that you have to gain their trust in enter their world. Young people are just adults, except most people have lower expectations on them and assume they need to be coddled.
DeVries has many great illustrations regarding youth ministry. The Steeple Chase that says we would spend any amount of money to fix certain facility problems, but we are unwilling to spend what it takes on youth ministry. The Panama Problem that moves the youth ministry to the next level. The Triangle diagram focuses on Climate and Vision before Tasks to change the culture and build a lasting youth ministry.
DeVries has certain key pegs that drive his train in order to develop tasks that will work with the youth who are gathered. He emphasizes that vision alone is not enough; it’s the execution of vision that matters. What makes this book unique is that many of the penetrating principles apply to every ministry to people, not just youth. Because it is written for youth, it provokes grey matter to realize, this needs to be done with parents and adults! He has excellent discernment related to technology and rabbit trails.
DeVries insightfully declares that youth ministry is not about youth doing ministry for themselves, but leaders leading so youth learn how to do ministry with youth. Everyone needs to learn, especially youth. If they aren’t God-focused and other-centered, then they need to learn from those who love youth how to love God and love others. I highly recommend reading this challenging and refreshing volume!