jeff smyth reviews youth ministry 3.0, and starts with a rip, then gets super positive, but then ends by saying he’s still not sure if it’s a must read. love it.
oh! and he calls me an old sea captian! arrr (i suppose that’s pirate-y, but it’s what came to mind. now where’s my pipe?)
As I read ym3.0 I was not that impressed with the chapters on ym1.0(post-world war 2-1960’s) and ym2.0(1970-end of the century) to be completely honest. I felt like I was reading an updated, trimmed down version of what Mark Senter has done in many of of his books (Complete Book of Youth Ministry-1987 , Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church-2001, & The Coming Revolution of Youth Ministry-1992 ). I then realized that I’m glad Mark went through ym1.0 & ym2.0 because he gives us a great picture/chart that allows us to see where we came from and where we are now.
The chapter introducing ym3.0(naming our preferred future) was a breath of fresh air for me. It said a great deal of things that I have been thinking and pondering about for the last number of years.
Get this: There’s no one-size-fit-all youth culture anymore. p.69
Chapter 6: So…How Do We Get There? was the best chapter of the book for me. I pulled out my journal and it was like I was reading my own contemplations, but of course written much better. One thing I greatly appreciated in this chapter is that Mark does not give us five things we can do to become ym3.0 in our context. What Mark does do is he point us in a direction that so many youth workers today neglect. He points us to seek God and what His desires are for our lives and the community that He has called us to be a part of. In my minds eye I see an old sea captain (sorry Mark), who is navigating a ship to head in a specific. Uncertain of what lays beyond the horizon, only knowing that this is the right direction and we will experience things as they happen. He’s signaling for us to join him in this direction and more than likely to lead at times as well.
Here’s my favourite portion from the book:
The road forward must first go through the valley of doing less. Admittedly, this is counterintuitive. Doing less feels like shying away from needs, turning away from change. Society has enculturated us to believe that change comes from doing more, more, more. But even Jesus, the Christ-who certainly, as God incarnate, should have been able to do more stuff than you and I do-stepped aside for prayer and rest and intimate dialogue. And He often did so when the to-do list was at its most substantial and critical.
Strip down your programming so you have space to spend time with teenagers, spend time with God, and consider rebuilding something new and fresh. – p.98
Overall: this certainly is a good read, short, simple and jammed packed with tons of insights, butt kicks and hope for the future. I loved the various side notes from people that followed Marks blog (ysmarko) included in the sidebar of each page (my comment-page 72). You can even follow the discussion on Facebook. I did enjoy reading the book but I’m on the fence as to whether this is a must read for youth workers or is it just a good discussion for youth workers to have!?!
What are your thoughts?