Saturday, August 29, 2009
Inside the Mind of Youth Pastors: A Church Leaders Guide to Staffing and Leading Youth Pastors by Mark Riddle
Title: Inside the Mind of Youth Pastors: A Church Leaders Guide to Staffing and Leading Youth Pastors by Mark Riddle
How it was obtained: I purchased it along with some other ministry books from Amazon.com.
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 3 months.
Days spent reading it: 2 days.
Why I read it: I am always looking for good books about ministry and youth pastoring. I thought this might be a good one to read.
Brief review: This is a book about hiring youth pastors. It also deals with developing relationships between staff members.
One thing this book does well, it breaks down good and bad reasons to hire a youth pastor. Riddle argues that a youth pastor should not be hired to take away ministry from church volunteers who are too busy to work with youth. A youth pastor should be hired for strategizing and coordinating. A youth pastor should be a support for the church ministry as a whole. I like how Mark Riddle talks about not hiring a youth pastor just because it has always been that way, or the church needs someone to take care of the kids. Youth ministry should be a church-wide ministry, not just a place for the youth pastor to minister alone.
The second half of the book deals with develoiping the relationship between a senior pastor and a youth pastor. I thought there were some good ideas in this section. Riddle talks about cooperation, having a mentoring mentality, and teamwork as keys. The very last section of the book deals with some odds and ends including sections on unwritten expectations of the congregation (fix my kid!), number comparisons, and a short chapter on part-time youth pastors (those poor souls).
This book was a quick read. I think it would be great for a search committee to go through (if they are willing to think through the process differently than it has been done before). I think it would also be a great resource for a senior pastor and youth pastor to go through together, especially if rifts have started to develop in their relationship.
The stereotypes of the youth pastor who can't be bothered with theology and the senior pastor who can't be bothered with the reality of modern culture are fading. Over the last several years, I've seen an increase in the number of youth pastors who are deeply engaged with theology through reading and dialogue. I'm not suggesting that they're parsing systematic theology, but they are reflecting on the nature of their beliefs as they relate to youth ministry and your church. More and more youth pastors are seeing the importance of letting theology inform how the local church does ministry. This is an exciting time to be working with youth pastors.
Stars: 4 out of 5.
Final Word: Mindful.