Youth pastor Paul Martin has written an exceptional book on discipleship in youth ministry called Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth. It’s not your standard how to guide with a program or a ten-step outline. Instead, Paul offers the values that enable a relationship-oriented approach to discipleship.
Here are the values he discusses:
Process over outcomes
Dynamic over static
Heuristic over Algorithmic
Specific over Vague
Personal over Impersonal
Internal Value over External Value
Implicit over Explicit
When reading Masterpiece, I constantly had this ‘Aha-Erlebnis’ as the Germans call them. It’s reading something that you have felt or experienced, but never put into words. In that sense, this book was a fest of recognition because I saw Paul describing a lot of stuff that I’ve been doing over the years…though never formally linked to discipleship.
That also has to do with his definition of discipleship, which is interesting and very different from what you see in many books on this topic. This is how Paul defines discipleship:
“Making disciples is the process where one person helps to reveal God’s created purpose in another, regardless of how that other person may respond.”
There are some deep truths in this definition on which this book is based:
- It’s not about us, it’s about God. We cannot make disciples, only God can and He wants to use us.
- It’s not about a formula, it’s about relationship and process.
- It’s not about spiritual disciplines or other methods. These can help, but they’re not the goal.
My favorite chapters were the ones on being very specific when talking about spiritual things (I recognize the pitfall of using too much church language and Christian lingo!) and especially the chapter on using implicit language. This is one I’ll be rereading a few times and practicing with this as I’m often too direct (hey what can I say, I’m Dutch – we’re know for being direct!). I also love how Paul uses the image of a masterpiece throughout the book (based on the verse from Eph. 2:10), it makes the principles logical and easy to remember.
Anyway, go forth and read this book, it will truly help you view discipleship in youth ministry in a new light and give you practical steps on how to put this theory into practice. And stay tuned, because we will interview Paul on his book and ask him some tough questions in an upcoming post!