You're looking for a youth pastor. Again. What goes wrong? Why do youth ministries crumble? And what is the cost to students, parents, volunteers and church staff? Is a sustainable youth ministry possible, even after a youth pastor leaves? Youth ministry expert Mark DeVries knows the answer is yes, because he helps build sustainable youth ministries through his coaching service called Youth Ministry Architects. So take heart: No matter what state the youth ministry at your church is in--in need of a leader and volunteers, full of battles and stress, large or small in number--it can be built to survive and to last for the long haul. Based on his own experience and on his many conversations and interviews with churches in crisis, DeVries pinpoints problems that cause division and burnout and dispels strongly held myths. He then provides the practical tools and structures pastors and church leaders need to lay a strong foundation for your ministry so that it isn't built on a person or the latest, greatest student ministry trend. His accessible guidance helps senior pastors and search committees create a realistic job description for a youth pastorprovides tips for making wise hiring decisionsequips youth pastors to build a strong volunteer teamoffers creative solutions to help youth pastors set and keep boundariesgives a road map for navigating church politicsand more Building a sustainable youth ministry is not easy, and it's not quick. But with commitment to the process, hard work and DeVries's guidance, you can put together a healthy youth ministry--one that fits your church and lasts for the long haul. Youth ministry can last. Here's how.
Introduction: Roll of the Dice: Exposing Today's Most Popular Youth Ministry Model 1. Cracking the Code: The Anatomy of Stuckness in Youth Ministry 2. The Easy Button: The Crisis of Chronic Underinvestment 3. Hoping, Wishing and Praying: Beyond the Frantic Search for the Youth Ministry Superstar 4. The Dance Floor: A Systems Approach to Youth Ministry 5. Building Right: The Structures of Sustainabilty 6. Climate Change: The Work of the Environmental Architect 7. Searching Right: A Primer for Youth Ministry Search Teams 8. Aligning the Heart: The Emotionally Healthy Youth Worker 9. Monkeys, Frogs and Balconies: Secrets of Third-Pig Youth Workers 10. Architecting the Constellation: From Camp Counselor to Sustainable Leader 11. The Magnet Effect: Making Friendship Contagious 12. Dancing with Alligators: Navigating the Turbulent Waters of Church Politics 13. Rabbit Trails and Brick Walls: When All Our Brilliant Plans Dont Work Epilogue: Seizing the Unfair Advantage Appendix A: Discussion Questions Appendix B: Sustainable Youth Ministry Builder's List Appendix C: The Compliance Checklist Acknowledgments Notes
"Mark Devries has given away most of his adult years to serving young people in the church. He has done this with passion, with humor, and with a heart that is open and growing toward God. Anyone with a calling to youth ministry should read this book."
"You simply must read this book--not because of DeVries's generous spirit, irresistible metaphors, and profound love for teenagers, youth leaders and churches glistening on every page; not because the book is breathtakingly comprehensive (it will easily replace thirty books on your shelf); and not because DeVries himself is a genius. You must read it because it is the most sane book on youth ministry ever written, and DeVries has a clearheaded sense of call. While adolescent faith is more than the earthen vessels that contain it, DeVries contends that we need to shore up our organization or the treasure is going to leak straight through the cracks. So he doffs the gimmicks, magic bullets, foolproof programs and lucky hires, and demonstrates how sustainable youth ministry is planned, predictable and productive. Christ already does his part in youth ministry; it's high time we rolled up our sleeves and did ours."
"Youth ministries everywhere are in crisis. Everyone is talking about it, but no significant solutions are emerging. One thing we know for sure--the ideas we have used for the last twenty years are tired. We can't fix this by simply doing a great job with a bad idea. This approach is leaving us with flat youth ministries and even more burnt-out youth ministers. Everything is up for grabs. This is where Mark DeVries comes into the picture. He is offering fresh ideas that work, that last and are sustainable--yes sustainable! Now, if you are looking for a quick fix, this isn't the book for you. If you are looking for real, long-term solutions that produce transformed students and healthy youth ministers, look no further!"
"Youth ministry is an all-church endeavor from start to finish. Sadly, most of our churches don't start with this understanding. The end result is a 'finish' that's far too often less than desirable. Mark DeVries offers a timely and practical challenge to the entire church--pastor, search committee and youth worker--that will foster an intentionality which brings great long-term dividends in a strong finish marked by spiritual maturity and kingdom growth."
"This is the youth ministry book we've all been waiting for. With wit and wisdom, Mark DeVries draws from a deep well of experience as both a youth pastor and youth ministry consultant to teach us how to build the 'dance floor' that will not only keep our youth ministries alive but help them to flourish. This is a hopeful, optimistic book that should be read by anyone who cares about youth ministry in the local church."
"How can I adequately describe the credibility, wisdom and authenticity that Mark DeVries brings to the table in his new book? Sustainable Youth Ministry is the byproduct of his decades of fruitful, Christ-honoring ministry. Like few people I know, Mark has the experience and perspective to deeply impact anyone serious about youth ministry. Even more pivotal, Mark is honestly one of the most authentic and refreshing Christians I have met in a long time. So grab a good cup of coffee and start reading!"