another very nice ym3.0 review

this one from andy at unpack this:

I’m a regular reader of Mark Oestreicher’s blog ( and I have been reading about Youth Ministry 3.0 for at least a year. Marko posted a rough draft of every chapter on the blog and asked for feedback and for youthworkers to add comments and stories that he included in the sidebars of the book. I must admit that my blog reading habits don’t allow for much more than a few paragraphs of content, so I didn’t read any of the chapters in advance. I’ve also seen more than a few reviews of the book come across his blog but I’ve intentionally avoided reading them so as not to color my reading of the book.

I like Marko a lot and the way he thinks, so I knew I would like this book. He lays out, in a very readable fashion, evolution of youth ministry; both 1.0 and 2.0. You can tell you are reading the book of a communicator, as he uses numerous stories and great metaphors to lay out his arguments.

The basic thesis of the book is that while youth ministry is more prevalent than ever there are many signs that youth ministry is not working. In my conversations with other youth directors I find many peers who would agree that we don’t feel like we’re being as effective as we would like. Sure, we can all point to successes, but in the big picture we wonder about the effectiveness of our ministries.

Marko describes Youth Ministry 3.0 as being focused on being Communional, (yes, he made that word up) that is community with Christ infused, being focused or driven by being present rather than being driven by programs, being highly contextualized, and focusing on smaller affinity groups.

We’ve heard many of these themes (and many of his more minor points) presented in various contexts. I can see how this is threatening to many of us, while others see much hope in Marko’s words. Oestricher challenges youth ministers to do less, create smaller communities, and help young people pay attention to the work of God in the world.

Perhaps what I appreciate most is not so much the words or the message of this book (though I think both are well done) but who this message is coming from. Mark Oestreicher is the president of Youth Specialties, one of the most influential youth ministry organizations in the country. He is leading the way, which is remarkable for the leader of a large organization of the Youth Ministry 2.0.

This is the most well educated, well equipped, professional generation of youth workers and I think the challenge of Youth Ministry 3.0 will be taken up with gusto.

Personally we are working hard to develop a high school small group ministry at our church. It’s remarkable how the unique cultures of each group have developed and numerous kids are very well connected in a way that never would have happened in a large group context.

I appreciate that Marko didn’t give a seven step approach with a ready produced curriculum to make Youth ministry 3.0 happen. It would be antithetical to what he is saying about contextualization. I think many youth workers might want more clear steps, but I personally don’t want this. I want to build a team and invent what we’re going to do.

2 thoughts on “another very nice ym3.0 review”

  1. Ironically, I agreed with his not being able to read more than a few paragraphs… and then didn’t finish reading, because I couldn’t focus my attention span long enough.

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