This summer schedule has killed my reading. Once camp season hit, I basically only read a chapter here and there. I did, however, manage to finish a literary youth ministry trifecta:

Youth Ministry 3.0 from Mark Oestreicher, Sustainable Youth Ministry from Mark Devries, and Simple Student Ministry from Eric Geiger and Jeff Borton. Each of the three had their merits, but the one I’d most recommend is Sustainable Youth Ministry. It addresses the church as much as the youth leader – every church looking to hire a new youth minister should require the search team to read this book before even taking resumes.

DeVries tackles a lot of the church systems issues that can cripple youth ministry. He doesn’t just bash the adult oriented church, however, these are issues that can be resolved to enhance the ministry of the whole church.
SYM also addresses the long-term nature of youth ministry. Many churches focus on the short-term when thinking about youth ministry. We only have them for a few years, right? But healthy youth ministry doesn’t really stop when a student graduates, and the things we do that may bring short-term “success” may do little to develop long term disciples. Devries offers helpful wisdom to churches who want to do more than graduate a bunch of shiny, happy faces into a life they are not equipped to handle. He offers help to those churches and youth workers that want to build environments in which young disciples can thrive. This is one that I will definitely return to.
*DeVries also has an organization called Youth Ministry Architects that does consulting to help churches build youth ministries that are sustainable.

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