Category Archives: Book Review
I suggest reading this book. If you are a youth worker your first reaction might be exactly like mine–”I don’t need to read this book, I am already doing this.” If that is your attitude, then you, like me would be wrong. Yes, passing the baton of faith to the next generation is likely part of (or is) your job description, but it is not as simple and easily done as we all wish it was.
In this book, Andy does a great job of showing how intentional and personal this process must be for it to be successful. There is plenty of evidence within the current youth ministry landscape and the Church as a whole to show we are not doing as good of a job as we could be. Andy does not present a new program to fix this problem which I really appreciate. This is not a program problem and therefore cannot be fixed with a program.
I loved the Biblical examples Andy used to show a successful baton pass and a definite baton drop. He then goes into a practical 3 part strategy toward spiritual formation using the acronym GETS IT. Godly Example, Training in Scripture, and Intentional Time.
This strategy is one the body of Christ needs to embrace no matter what your role of leadership is, from youth worker to parent to mature Christian. This is not something that can be left to the hired hand, but one that every Christian needs to participate in.
Whether you are a youth worker or not, I recommend you pick up this book. Click here to read more reviews and/or to purchase your copy.
I will start off by saying I really enjoyed reading this book. I am not a big “reader” so I usually only read to develop and learn for my faith and my job, this book being related to my personal life was a breath of fresh air for me.
As I read Ben’s observations and personal experiences surrounding his own kids, his victories and his frustrations, I felt like I was reading my own inner thoughts. It brought great comfort to me realizing that I am not alone in my feelings as I raise young kids. From mourning my pre-kid life, to the packed schedules, the family meals, and the funny conversations I felt like Ben was inviting me onto a team with him as we both strive for a win as parents.
A highlight for me in the book was the questions for reflection at the end of each chapter. They are great questions and really help to move my mind from Ben’s stories to my own experiences.
I did feel like the book was a bit of a slow starter, but stick with it through the last few chapters of section one. Once you make it to section two and through the end it moves quicker and is very practical.
Overall this book is definitely worth your time, if you have young kids join the team!
If you want to check out more of Ben’s writing click here to read his blog “Average Youth Ministry”.
I have mentioned this book several times on my blog in the past, but I thought it was time to do an actual book review on it.
There have been many books that have influenced my life and ministry, this one is in the top five for sure.
I am not usually a fan of wide scale survey results, lots of statistics, and charts. I will admit I have not read much of Barna’s stuff, but the reputation that precedes him is wide scale survey results, lots of statistics, and charts which made me almost not read this book at all. But it was recommended by one of the other Pastors at my church so I decided to give it a chance. I am very glad I did.
The book is split into 3 sections. The first lays out the transformation journey and how George discovered it. The second section is a personal story of a girl named Jennifer as she goes through the stops of the transformation journey. And section 3 gives some practical ideas on how to travel the journey yourself as well as how churches can help people navigate down the road of transformation.
The book is pretty long, over 200 pages, so it definitely is one you will have to commit to reading. However, the meat of the book is in sections one and three, if you skipped section two all together it cuts out half of the length. You might enjoy the mix of journal excerpts, life stories, and personal conversations but I didn’t.
The last negative thing I have to say is there are several typos and obvious grammar mistakes in the book, which was disappointing.
This book really hit me on a personal level as well as a professional/ministry level. I think the lack of spiritual transformation is at the core of many issues and problems in our churches today, mine included. This book speaks to the problem and gives some good tips and ideas on how to better minister people toward true transformation.
He makes the point in the book, and I agree strongly, that most churches are pretty good at ministering to stops two through five. But as soon as people hit stop six the modern church basically programs them back into stop five, which is where most of our Christian population is stuck. In my current youth ministry context, I have realized I have a lot more student in stop six than I ever realized. And as a student ministry we were not doing a lot to help them continue to grow. Many of the changes we have made to our programs and structure are aimed directly at this issue. I want to be about spiritual transformation, not behavior modification. This book has helped me make some big strides toward that end.
I gave all ten stops of the transformation journey in a past post, click here if you want to read them. But don’t let that deter you from buying this book and reading it for yourself. Like I said, this is in my top five. I think it will help you too.
I recently finished reading Sifted by Rick Lawrence. This book is definitely one you will need to commit to reading, it took me several days to read it, but it is well worth the time. Granted, I am a slow reader and it made me think a lot, which made me even slower.
Rick examines two very interesting verses from Luke 22 where Jesus says ”Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (verses 31-32, NIV)
Each chapter breaks down these two verses phrase by phrase, and Rick explores and releases the wisdom and meaning of each one. No matter what your learning style you will understand his point of view as he uses a nice mix of personal stories, movie scenes, historical fact, and other various illustrations to bring to life the meaning of the text.
The thing I liked the most about this book is Rick lets the scripture dictate the meaning, even when it is something that does not easily fit in the “God shaped box” I have put Jesus in. It definitely challenged my thinking, opened my eyes to new truths about God, and shed light on some current issues and questions within my life.
As I said, not a quick read, but I do highly suggest reading this book.