Book coverYou(th) Ministry, written by Brandon Miraflor and Adam Shaw, is not your typical how-to guide. It’s much more of a personal approach that focuses on (as the authors put it( the driving force of youth ministry: you. Its aim is not to teach you how to’s on ministry, but to help you develop healthy habits that will change you, and through you your ministry.

The book consists of 29 challenges, dealing with various issues like vision, prayer, living with less, influencing others, music, trust, delegating, etc. If this feels like a broad range of topics, you’re right. They are a bit random and all over the place and aren’t really logically structured in any way.

Every chapter deals with an issue by describing it succinctly, followed by a challenge aimed at getting to the core of this particular issue. I love this concept and the thought behind it, that is that most of our actions are rooted in habits. When we change our habits. We change ourselves.

That being said, one challenge one day on an issue does not form a new habit. The last chapter of the book says to repeat all challenges (which makes sense for some, but not for all) but even then. Habits take many days to form. In my opinion,. The authors would have been wiser to focus on less issues and create more challenges to really for habits.

Some of the challenges are great, like writing a snail mail card to students, or looking for people to counsel you (‘rabbi’s, peers, and disciples’). Others are too broad or vague (‘listen to your students’) or too specific (‘book a date for your senior pastor to speak at your youth service’ – that’s assuming 1. you have a senior pastor, 2. who is willing to speak, and 3. you have youth services)

You(th) Ministry is a short book, an easy read, though carrying out the challenges will obviously take more time. Yet while many books are too long, here there were chapters where I wished for more info, more description.

All in all this book is a great starting point for any youth pastor willing and wanting to work on himself or herself.