For most pastors, youth ministry occupies only a very small fraction of their ministry time each week, so why would they want to spend their time and money on a book about youth ministry? While youth ministry might not be an area of ministry emphasis for many pastors, there should be a desire to have youth regularly involved in worship and ministry. Mark DeVries’s Sustainable Youth Ministry is a careful, thorough study of youth ministry and how the local church can systematically develop long-term approach to ministering to and with the youth of that congregation and community.
The author challenges the myth that all a church needs do in order to have a strong youth ministry is to recruit a young, charismatic youth pastor and give them a meeting place and a budget. While DeVries admits that, on occasion, this approach may work for a while, all too often it ends with the youth pastor and/or the church frustrated and discouraged. Sustainable youth ministry becomes a much different approach to youth ministry.
DeVries writes from his personal experience as a youth pastor of the same congregation for over 20 years. His honesty, especially about his failures in ministry and the areas in which he has had to personally grow, is particularly helpful. Packed with illustrations, quotes, and stories that help explain sustainable youth ministry, this book took longer to read than I expected because the concepts presented often caused me to pause, reflect, pray, and look at ways to implement them in ministry.
The principles of this book can also be applied to other areas of ministry because establishing a sustainable ministry of sharing the gospel of Jesus should be the goal of every pastor and church.
So, if you want to read a book that will challenge you to develop the gifts God has entrusted to you, whether you will be personally involved in youth ministry or not, you will find practical advice in it to help you and your church build a strong, sustainable youth ministry.