Monday, September 29, 2008

Book Review: Inside the Mind of Youth Pastors

Eight years ago I began working at a congregation as their youth pastor. Just a month into my ministry there I was asked a disturbing question. I was at a retreat with some of the teens in the youth group and we were in a canoe. One of the girls in the canoe asked me, "So, how long do you plan on staying here?" I responded, "I don't know. Why do you ask?" To which she replied, "Well, our last couple of youth pastors were only here for like a year and then they left. It's kind of getting old."

Sadly, this is a very common experience. Churches hire youth pastors who come and work on an average of about a year and a half. Burnout sets in, or a better offer comes along, or some other cataclysmic event and there they are again, needing to hire another youth pastor. And the teens are tired of it...tired of building relationships with people, only to have them walk out on them.

In his new book Inside the Mind of Youth Pastors which will be available in January, Mark Riddle addresses this disturbing problem often referred to as the "Revolving Door." Mark offers us, not just a book of theory regarding what youth ministry should be about, but a practical guide towards churches and youth pastors getting things right from the start, even including a refreshing tool for questioning your motives for churches preparing to hire a youth pastor. Inside the Mind is also an engaging tool because the second half of the book is actually designed for Senior Pastors to understand the wants, needs, and motivations of youth pastors and gives them tools for building more effective work and ministry relationships.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you purchase this book as soon as it is released (or pre-order it) if you are any of the following:
1..A Senior Pastor who has a youth pastor on staff
2..A Youth Pastor who wants to overcome the "Revolving Door"
3..A Church preparing to hire a youth pastor (and you don't want to be doing so again in 18 months)

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