Book Review: A New Kind of Youth Ministry

Although I’m not all that interested in being a youth pastor, I still find myself enjoying books about youth ministry. I read A New Kind of Youth Ministry by Chris Folmsbee for a class this fall. The book is very practical in nature – as far as substance or depth goes, I thought it was a little lacking. I think Folmsbee does a very good job though at looking at just how to go about bringing change into a youth ministry. A term that he uses throughout the book is ‘reculturing’ which he defines as ‘a strategic and intentional process of change that involves concentrated critical assessment, passionate idea generation, implementation of new ideas and practices, and the ongoing evaluation of effectiveness of the changes implemented.’ I very much appreciated Folmsbee’s desire to get youth pastors and youth workers to think critically about the practices of youth ministry. He proposes a more holistic approach to youth ministry, one that will prepare adolescents to carry their faith with them through college, rather than leaving it on the steps of the church following the last youth group gathering. He addresses eight topics that need to be recultured: evangelism, discipleship, service and outreach, student leadership, mission, leadership, education, and youth workers themselves. He spends a chapter diving into each of these topics, exploring both the old ways of doing it, and then proposing some new ways of looking at it. The last chapter of the book then looks at how to actually implement these changes and not get fired. It was a pretty quick read, but it will cause you to stop and examine your ministry’s practices every now and again.

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