gavin offers up an exceedingly mixed review of youth ministry 3.0 on hit the back button to more fwd:
i was given youth ministry 3.0 by the folks at youthworker movement and asked to give a recommendation on whether it is a must read, okay read, and on down the line.
knowing mark oestriecher through some mild interactions and consistent reader of the marko blog, even read the precursor postings that lead up to the writing of this book i was very excited to get a hold of a copy and start reading.
some of my thinking points
* i read this book in one sitting.. not sure, but i think that is a first.. it isn’t a long overly drawn out book, which i can appreciate. the basic framework of the book goes through a basic understanding of adolescent development then history of youth ministry leading into the futurist thoughts on where this new phase we will be finding ourselves in regards to youth ministry. i call it futurist in that some of the basic methods for analyzing the future trends is looking at the historic path and the consistent behaviors of the target group.
* some of the voices that marko uses for giving language to this future are the like of kenda creasy dean and many from the emergent/emerging/missional church generative friendship. so if you are familiar with what they are saying then you will probably find threads you already resonate with in y3.0.
* the adolescent section dragged for me. being an early childhood and human development person in college all the adolscent stuff was basic.. but, for those who have no training or education in human development and/or life stages then its a good primer to get you started in the know. i’ve leaned on my adolescent development knowledge for years and still have my text books (which might be in need of some updating).
* the history of youth ministry is brief and very general. it basically covers the evangelical spectrum and grazes a few thoughts on mainline christian practice. now, this could be attributed in part to that evangelical contexts were the first to be doing a ‘youth’ ministry. if that be the case it should be explored what spiritual formation when a youth was immersed into a full life of the church instead of being separated out. some of this could be hashed out reading four views of youth ministry
* i cannot express how much i support some of the ideas that marko shares in being ready to deconstruct the old forms of youth ministry. he doesn’t put out what youth specialties will be doing next as the next form or youth ministry, as he confesses he doesn’t even know, but that a change is happening and to ignore it will only lead you aimlessly into the wendy’s black hole (you’ll have to read the significance on that one). marko’s greatest gift to the youth ministry world is giving some language to those are feeling frustrated that what you have been doing does not work to bring about some change. change is not hard within a church context, but you need to be able to speak to it.
* i was super pleased to see the word ‘discernment’ in the book. as i was reading and hearing marko say ‘i don’t know how this will turn out’ or ‘can’t tell you what it will look like for you’ i was sitting saying, you need discernment.. a few pages later, that is what marko suggested (and i was well pleased). the practice of discernment with your adults and youth alike is a powerful time of reshaping and anticipating the needs of your youth community. the youth minister will/should become more of a spiritual director in this regard cultivate a community that is intune with their cultural context. i would suggest additional reading of practicing discernment and the art of spiritual direction
* i like the idea of encouraging folks to become a youth culture anthropologist. its not hard to start into things like that. getting on the ypulse email list, cpyu email list, using google reader to subscribe to some blogs (like mine, haha) and news outlets, then using google news to send you news articles on keywords (ie. youth culture) is an easy way to observe some of the trends. beyond what i have mentioned personally subscribe to wired magazine, which throws out gems like snack culture. i also pick up a futurist magazine every now and then. a cheaper thing i do is watch my youth cruise through youtube and their behaviors.
* the “communional” idea is worth more discernment. the best part is that marko gives his own language spin to it. language will take you far in moving forward in shifting sands of youth ministry.
so as the folks who gave me the book asked. would i say this is a must have? no.. conditional that you are reading a whole lot from other places. is this a good read? certainly.
is it worth your time? if you are feeling that you are not making a dent and wondering if there is a different way? for sure. if you are looking for some language to help reshape some change this is a good starting point.