for years, internet prognostocators have been predicting that the web will change the face of publishing, because anyone can publish whatever they want, without jumping through the traditional publishing hoops. of course, this is causing us at youth specialties, and publishers everywhere, to rethink some things. the wild success of blogging and youtube have proven the “throw it up there, and if it’s good, people will find it” construct. but blogs are limited in terms of developing longer cogent thinking. and, other than organizations and companies that are dipping their toes into the downloadable world (like we are at ys with our ysunderground downloadable site), i haven’t seen many truly downloadable books that are purely created outside a traditional editorial process.
but scott aughtmon has created one. scott interview — via email — 14 youth ministry leaders (myself included), using a standard template of questions (which provides interesting contrast and overlapping threads in the responses), and compiled the whole thing into a book called How To Build A Lasting Student Ministry (you can download the book at that link, for $12.97). i’m sure many will wish for a different, or more expanded list of contributors — but it’s scott’s book, and he got to choose (that’s part of the point here, really). as you’ll see from my responses in the book, some might even wish for a different set of questions. but, again, it’s scott’s book, and he gets to choose. in that sense, this book — and publishing like this — has the potential to be both more unique (publishers have a bit of a tendancy, whether they intend to or not, to “lowest common denominator-ize” books, in the hopes that they’ll connect with a wider audience), as well as narrower in its helpfulness. i’m not saying that to bag on scott’s book at all — just the opposite: i think he’s like the bow of an ice-breaking ship, plowing into into the publishing-world ice-shelf.
here’s the list of contributors:
you may not be familiar with all these people — i wasn’t. but their bios show that why scott chose them. and their responses are diverse enough to provide some good fodder for thought.
and here’s scott’s description of the book:
Based on an imaginary situation, I asked these top student leader some simple questions:
1.What are two common mistakes most pastors make when starting a student ministry that you would make sure not to make?
2.What methods/steps would you use to lay a strong foundation that would last beyond your time there?
3.What is one method/system you would use to see numerical growth as quickly as possible?
4.What is one method/system you would use to see lasting spiritual growth?
you can read more about the book on the website. but, i applaud scott for his perseverance on this project, and for “going offroad” in his desire to get youth ministry thinking into the hands of youth workers.