Tag Archives: Mel Walker

Book Review: Inter-Generational Youth Ministry

Book Review:  Inter-Generational Youth Ministry by Mel Walker

The Good: 

Intergenerational Cover FinalThose in youth ministry are up to our ears in statistics of high school and young adults leaving the church. True, statistics tell a story, and are valuable in evaluating cultural trends. However, statistics are like a home run hitter that only hits home runs when no one is on base. It is helpful, but it will rarely give your team the win. Statistics are helpful, but they rarely get results. That is, unless you couple those statistics with solutions. When you provide solutions, you have a book worth reading.

This book begins with a youth culture history lesson. It was fascinating, and set up the rest of the book perfectly. In fact, I found it so helpful, I used much of the material in my message at the teen/senior citizen luncheon. It was a perfect tie in of generations. Basically, I gave the history of youth ministry, the current state of youth ministry, and what you as the elder generation can do to help.

In the following chapters, each ministry of the church is dissected and examined. From children’s ministry to the senior saints, the evaluation of the current church models were scrutinized respectfully, and given helpful solutions to issues that exist in churches across the nation.

As a reader of scores of youth ministry books, what separates the good from the bad is the “how”. Sure, anyone can observe and articulate the problems that exist in youth ministry. Anyone can verbalize problems like a popular news network. But what makes this a good youth ministry book, is it provides the “how”. Each chapter includes multiple, practical steps to implement the solution to the existing issues. In addition to the how, each solution is accompanied with Biblical support. What a combo! So, when you as a youth worker, youth pastor, church staff member, parent, or church member begin to employ some of these solutions in your church and inevitably get the “why” question. You now have practical reasons and Biblical reasons for the changes and new ministry practices you are implementing in your church. That’s what I call armed and dangerous…OK, maybe I should stick with practical and Biblical.

The Bad:

Frankly, it was difficult to find the bad in this book (you will see why when I give out the grade), but there was one thing. On occasion, there is a repetition of illustrations or concepts. Some of this, I realize, was done for emphasis of certain points. However, there were other idioms or illustrations that were repeated, and could have used some more originality.

The Grade: A

This book is a MUST READ for all those involved in the church. Notice I did not just say those involved in youth ministry. This is an all-hands-on-deck experience. This is a total church makeover that is worth a look. These concepts and ideas have been part of my ministry philosophy for years, and for someone to write down specific ways to implement them, it is like long-lost friends being reunited.

Not only is this book immensely practical and useful, but as was mentioned before, it is Biblical. Without the Biblical support, you could get excited about new ministry ideals, but they would have no weight, no substance, and fade away like a passing fad. The Bible’s eternal principles are worth exploring, and are priceless when a writer can articulate those in your context, and flesh our practical ways to accomplish those principles.

Honestly, this was one of my favorite youth ministry books I have read. It deserves to be put into practice in your ministry today. It’s time we do something about the problems of our young people leaving the church, instead of just pointing out the problem. This book will give you solutions, and step-by-step instructions to putting those solutions to work.

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Book Reviews: Explicit Gospel & Mentoring The Next Generation

the-explicit-gospel-BOOKBook Review:  Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

The Good:  Maybe I should label this category, “The Great” or “The Awesome”, because that would describe this book much better.  It totally blew me out of the water for most of the reading experience.  Any book that makes you love the Gospel more is a must read, but this goes beyond that.  It helps you love, appreciate, understand, and want to share the Gospel more.  It presents a Gospel that is not watered-down, one that needs to preached from every pulpit and spoken by every Christian.  This book takes you on a Gospel journey that you never want to leave.

The Bad:  There were some subtle theological differences that I personally had in the Consummation and End Times discussion.  Not anything that would taint or misrepresent the Gospel.  But found myself raising a quarter to a half eyebrow once or twice.

The Grade:  A. you heard me right, I said an A.  This book deserves it and will be on my favorites shelf for all to see.  I read this book with one of my college students, and we both couldn’t wait to discuss it each week.  It drives a passion for the Gospel within you like no other.  It was written with high academia, yet has well placed humor to keep it light and fresh.  Absolutely loved this book.

mentoringnextgenBook Review:  Mentoring the Next Generation by Mel Walker

The Good:  You know what I love about this book; well it comes down to two things.  One, whatever principle or idea that is presented is well backed with Scripture.  Not every book on mentoring or discipleship can hold that claim, and I really appreciate the research done to make sure the thoughts presented are Biblical.  Second, it is extremely practical.  This is like a mentoring kit in a short book form.  Pick it up, read it, and begin mentoring.  The ideas are practical and logical.  Meaning, they are easy steps to follow.  On a side note, the idea presented in chapter 6, basing mentoring on time availability is pure genius.  There go all the “I don’t have time” excuses right out the window!

The Bad:  Chapter 3 presents some contradictions when presenting the weaknesses and strengths of choosing mentoring partners.  Also, this is at no fault of the author, but there are some areas that can use some updating.  For example, instead of “instant messenger” it would read “Facebook”.

The Grade:  A-.    Put this in the hands of every church leader in America.  I am such a proponent of mentoring/discipleship, and this book allows you to put mentoring in motion.  It gives you practical ways to make discipleship happen, and Scriptural basis for doing so.  What a combination!

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Top 10 Youth or Student Ministry Books

Here are a few that I would recommend (put in order of my favorites):

  1. Family Based Youth Ministryby Mark DeVries (My youth pastor growing up had me read this.  It redefined for me the role of the youth pastor, and my philosophy was forever changed.)
  2. The Greenhouse Projectby Mel Walker & Mike Calhoun (A collection of writings from some of my favorite people in youth ministry)
  3. Youth Ministry Management Tools (This book is awesome as a resource.  Not for simple reading, but will help you with administration – planning events, budget, team-building, etc.)
  4. Purpose Driven Youth Ministryby Doug Fields (Classic that reshaped youth ministry to what it is today, in a good way)
  5. Shaping the Spiritual Life of Studentsby Richard Dunn (One of the first youth ministry books I read, and loved the insight of walking along students in their lives)
  6. Pushing the Limitsby Mel Walker
  7. Sustainable Youth Ministryby Mark DeVries (One of my prayers is longevity in ministry, this book will help)
  8. ReThinkby Steve Wright
  9. Controlled Chaosby Kurt Johnston (Jr. High ministry, could you tell by the title?)
  10. 4 Hour Youth Ministryby Timothy Eldred (Want to get more efficient, or your teens more involved, here ya go)

Honorary Mention:  You Lost Me by David Kinnaman; Already Gone by Ken Ham

  1. top-10
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Double Book Review: Visit the Sick & Impacting the Next Generation

Book:  Visit the Sick, by Brian Croft.Visit_the_sick

The Good.  I may surprise you with this statement, but I have never underlined more in a book than this little book.  I’m serious.  I learned so much about the ministry of visiting the sick.  Maybe it is because this does not come naturally to me.  Maybe you go to a hospital, and it is your element.  It doesn’t matter if it is a heart attack or a broken leg, you know what to do, what Scripture to read, and what to say in your prayer.  Or maybe you are more like me, and you could use some help in these areas.  Well, this book goes above and beyond the call of duty to help you visit the sick.

The Bad.  The only thing this book is missing is a CD where you can print off the appendix materials.  Or maybe a small printable bookmark/pamphlet you could put inside your Bible to help with visiting the sick.

The Grade:  A+.  That’s right, a perfect grade.  Maybe because it was just what the doctor ordered (get it?).  But mostly because it provides a perfect balance of practical and Biblical advice on how to visit the sick.  Every pastor should read this book.  As a youth pastor, I don’t have as many hospital visits as other pastors, but when I do, I want to have an impact on a hurting individual, I want to bring the gospel to room 221, I want to lift up someone’s broken spirit…well, I learned “I” can’t do those things.  But God can through me, and this book will help you accomplish those things.

 

Book:  Impacting the Next Generation, by Mel Walker.impactingthenextgeneration

The Good.  Where was this book 6 years ago when I started in youth ministry?  Seriously.  These are lessons I had to learn the hard way.  I found myself saying “Now you tell me” many times as I read.  Not your fault Mel!  But realy, this book provides practical ways to truly impacting young people in the short time you have them in your ministry.  Another good is each point is taken directly from Scripture.  I’m a big proponent of the line of thinking – if you are going to convince me to implement something in the ministry I serve, it better be supported in God’s Word.  And each point had that backing.  Well done.

The Bad.  I’m the kind of guy that enjoys personal stories.  There was some ministry stories within the book, but would have enjoyed more.  The 2 Timothy 2:22 principles were repeated several times, and could  have been consolidated in one section…but maybe that was the author’s point – that this verse is pretty important.

The Grade:  A.  Like Staples has an easy button, I needed an “Amen” button for this book.  This is how I do or want to do youth ministry.  I loved the points and was totally on board with the practical applications of Scripture.  In my opinion, this must be in the hands of every youth pastor, especially those beginning their first ministry.

**Special Note from the Author Mel Walker:  If any of your readers would like a copy of “Impacting the Next Generation” – they can get copies from me for only $5. Take a look at: http://www.intergenerationalyouthministry.com.

 

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