I’ve been a big fan of Andrew Root since reading Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry, so it’s no surprise that I loved his latest book Taking Theology to Youth Ministry. In his latest book, the first in a three part series, Root relays the Chronicles of Nadia. Nadia in this case is a young person newly hired as a youth minister. The book, in part, tells her story as she confronts the problems of working in a church.
Underneath the story, real issues of youth ministry get the theological treatment. What is unique about this book is it’s connection of real life situations to the rationale behind it. Where most ministry books claim this accomplishment, Taking Theology to Youth Ministry delivers. This book makes distinctions between intentions (what we do) and motives (why we do it). In tackling both worlds of ministry, it is able to guide practitioners of youth ministry through the minefield of church dynamics.
This may be one of the most important books in youth ministry for quite a number of reasons. First, it is an easy read that young, non-reading youth workers can absorb. Secondly, It takes on the challenges of three basic practices of youth ministry (entertainment, service and tradition) and provides realistic ways to articulate their pitfalls. Lastly, it gives leaders a sense of hope in confronting these very real challenges.
My only gripe, and it’s a small one, is that the story ends too soon. Nadia takes some great chances and evangelizes her church leaders, teenagers and parents to a reasonable foundation for youth ministry. But just as she realigns those expectations and begins shaping her practices, the book ends. Unfortunately, that’s where many youth ministry careers end. This kind of story is laudable, but it often ends in looking for a new job (or career). I want to hear how Nadia continues to serve the church and how she survives the new approach to youth ministry.
So should you read it? I would say, “Yes!” Could it be dangerous to your job? You’ll have to decide that for yourself.