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Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn't Last and What Your Church Can Do About It Paperback – October 10, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn't Last and What Your Church Can Do About It + Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A personal and practical guide to starting right + Purpose Driven Youth Ministry: 9 Essential Foundations for Healthy Growth (Youth Specialties)
Price for all three: $39.01

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (October 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830833617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830833610
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Readers will find much practical information in this book." (Rae McCartney, Congregations, Summer 2009)

"Not just for youth workers. An essential read for senior pastors, elders, deacons and search committees. Unless church leaders take seriously the wisdom and experience unleashed in this book they will continue to roll the dice in hope of landing on a sustainable youth ministry--this time around." (Mark Cannister, YouthWorker Journal, May/June 2009)

"Sustainable Youth Ministry may be the closest thing to a gold mine for the encouragement that your youth leader needs. This is one resource that you should not go without, for you and your youth pastor." (Worship Leader, May 2009)

"In Sustainable Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries presents a systems approach to youth ministry. Too many churches focus on short-term numbers, which pushes them toward superstar youth pastors and amped-up programs. Sustainable youth ministry focuses on a leadership team that builds relationships among youth and between youth and the entire congregation. Before hiring a new youth minister, the pastor and board members should read this book." (George P. Wood, AGThinkTank (agthinktank.com), March 2009)

"Mark DeVries's Sustainable Youth Ministry may well be one of the most important books written on youth ministry in years. As the founder of Youth Ministry Architects, a coaching service for church leaders and youth ministers, DeVries has been allowed to develop and test the ideas he sets forth for the reader. 'Building Right' (Chapter 5) and 'Searching Right' (Chapter 7) are worth the price of the book alone." (C. E. Moore, The Christian Manifesto (thechristianmanifesto.wordpress.com), December 31, 2009)

"Mark Devries has given away most of his adult years to serving young people in the church. He has done this with passion, with humor, and with a heart that is open and growing toward God. Anyone with a calling to youth ministry should read this book." (Mark Yaconelli, author of Wonder, Fear, and Longing)

"You simply must read this book--not because of DeVries's generous spirit, irresistible metaphors, and profound love for teenagers, youth leaders and churches glistening on every page; not because the book is breathtakingly comprehensive (it will easily replace thirty books on your shelf); and not because DeVries himself is a genius. You must read it because it is the most sane book on youth ministry ever written, and DeVries has a clearheaded sense of call. While adolescent faith is more than the earthen vessels that contain it, DeVries contends that we need to shore up our organization or the treasure is going to leak straight through the cracks. So he doffs the gimmicks, magic bullets, foolproof programs and lucky hires, and demonstrates how sustainable youth ministry is planned, predictable and productive. Christ already does his part in youth ministry; it's high time we rolled up our sleeves and did ours." (Kenda Creasy Dean, associate professor, Princeton Theological Seminary and author of Worshipping at the Church of "Benign Whatever-ism")

"Youth ministries everywhere are in crisis. Everyone is talking about it, but no significant solutions are emerging. One thing we know for sure--the ideas we have used for the last twenty years are tired. We can't fix this by simply doing a great job with a bad idea. This approach is leaving us with flat youth ministries and even more burnt-out youth ministers. Everything is up for grabs. This is where Mark DeVries comes into the picture. He is offering fresh ideas that work, that last and are sustainable--yes sustainable! Now, if you are looking for a quick fix, this isn't the book for you. If you are looking for real, long-term solutions that produce transformed students and healthy youth ministers, look no further!" (Randy Frazee, author of The Connecting Church and David Frazee, student at Baylor University)

"Youth ministry is an all-church endeavor from start to finish. Sadly, most of our churches don't start with this understanding. The end result is a 'finish' that's far too often less than desirable. Mark DeVries offers a timely and practical challenge to the entire church--pastor, search committee and youth worker--that will foster an intentionality which brings great long-term dividends in a strong finish marked by spiritual maturity and kingdom growth." (Walt Mueller, president, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, and author of Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture)

"This is the youth ministry book we've all been waiting for. With wit and wisdom, Mark DeVries draws from a deep well of experience as both a youth pastor and youth ministry consultant to teach us how to build the 'dance floor' that will not only keep our youth ministries alive but help them to flourish. This is a hopeful, optimistic book that should be read by anyone who cares about youth ministry in the local church." (Wayne Rice, cofounder, Youth Specialties and author of Understanding Your Teenager)

"How can I adequately describe the credibility, wisdom and authenticity that Mark DeVries brings to the table in his new book? Sustainable Youth Ministry is the byproduct of his decades of fruitful, Christ-honoring ministry. Like few people I know, Mark has the experience and perspective to deeply impact anyone serious about youth ministry. Even more pivotal, Mark is honestly one of the most authentic and refreshing Christians I have met in a long time. So grab a good cup of coffee and start reading!" (Jeanne Mayo, president, Youth Leader's Coach, speaker and author)

Review

"This is the youth ministry book we've all been waiting for. With wit and wisdom, Mark DeVries draws from a deep well of experience as both a youth pastor and youth ministry consultant to teach us how to build the 'dance floor' that will not only keep our youth ministries alive but help them to flourish. This is a hopeful, optimistic book that should be read by anyone who cares about youth ministry in the local church."

More About the Author

Mark founded YOUTH MINISTRY ARCHITECTS in 2002. And since 1986, he has served as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, where he continues to oversee the youth ministry on a part-time basis.

Mark has trained youth workers across the United States and Canada, as well as in Russia, Uganda, South Africa, Ecuador, Trinidad, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, working with a wide variety of denominations. He has taught courses or been a guest lecturer at a number of colleges and seminaries, including Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, NJ), Vanderbilt Divinity School (Nashville, TN), David Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN), Travecca Nazarene College (Nashville, TN), King College (Bristol, TN), Montreat College (Montreat, NC), William Tyndale College (Detroit, MI), Presbyterian College (Montreal, Quebec), Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte, NC), Tyndale Theological Seminary (Toronto, Canada) and Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI).

Mark is the author of a number of books, including Sustainable Youth Ministry (IVP), Family-Based Youth Ministry (IVP, Revised and Expanded, 2004), and his articles and reviews have been published in a variety of magazines and journals, including The Christian Century, Theology Today, Group, and Youthworker Journal. Mark's writings have now been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Afrikaans.

Mark served as the general editor for The True Love Waits Bible. In recent years, he and his wife Susan co-authored (with their good friends Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth) a flip-book on marriage entitled, The Most Important Year in a Woman's Life/ The Most Important Year in a Man's Life, which was nominated for the Gold Medallion Award. Mark has also contributed to a number of training manuals and textbooks, including Youth Ministry Handbook (Word, 2000), Starting Right (Zondervan, 2001), and Reaching A Generation For Christ (Moody, 1997), The New Interpreter's Bible Handbook for Preaching (Abingdon, 2007) and Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry (Group, 2007).

Mark graduated Summa Cum Laude from Baylor University in Waco, Texas with a B.A. in English and Greek in 1980, and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1986 with a senior concentration in Youth Evangelism. Throughout these years spent in Waco and Princeton, Mark was involved in youth ministry--working with Young Life in both Waco and Montgomery, New Jersey and serving on the youth staff at the First United Methodist Church in Waco. Upon graduation from Princeton, he was awarded the first Robert Boyd Munger Youth Ministry prize.

For the past several years, Mark has been a presenter both for Homeword's "Understanding Your Teenager" seminar, as well as other Homeword parenting seminars. In addition to partnering occasionally with popular Christian musician, Mark Schultz, Mark is a frequent seminar speaker, training youth leaders at both the Youth Specialties' National Youth Workers Convention and the Simply Youth Ministry Youth Ministry Conference.

Mark lives in Nashville with Susan, his wife of 30 years, and grown children (when they choose to be in town): Adam, Adam's wife, Sara, Debbie, and Leigh. Mark and Susan have one grandchild with another on the way in fall 2010.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The following is a copy of a message I sent out to our friends after reading DeVries' book.
Daniel P. Strandlund
It is an excellent book for Youth Ministry search committees, youth ministers building a program, pastors, and parents.
Chris St.Clair
I highly recommend this book to all leaders in the church, from youth workers, to pastors, to volunteers in ministry.
pastor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Daniel P. Strandlund on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm a paid youth minister in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, and I've been doing youth ministry of one kind or another for a couple years (including the infamous "camp counsellor" position). Lots of my friends are youth ministers, or are involved in ministry in one way or another, and our Diocesan coordinator gave us all a copy of this book. The following is a copy of a message I sent out to our friends after reading DeVries' book.

"Dear Yute Minister Types,

...I'm just writing to STRONGLY encourage you all to read _Sustainable Youth Ministry_ by Mark Devries...if you haven't already. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it, and other than the knowledge that Jesus loves me even when I screw up, this might be the single most important thing I've ever read/heard in furthering my ability to minister to people. It's honest, to the point, empowering in a very practical way, and creates a vision of what a healthy youth program is/can be that is bigger than the one I've always had, I think. It's also called me out on one of my bigger shortcomings as a youth minister, which is my tendency to create myself as a "victim" of church politics, poor volunteer turnouts, etc., and using that as an excuse whenever I need to. Anyway, I can't recommend this book enough, and we should probably all buy copies for all of our clergy AND another one to make available to parents. AND I think it's a good thing for the Episcopal Diocese in AL to read anyway since generally our view of youth ministry is to vamp young, able-bodied and enthusiastic people of their energy for 18 months or so until they're all used up and quit, and then hire somebody else.

Plus, the book has this really fun analogy about having to 'eat that frog' that is both entertaining and to the point.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Fr. Charles Erlandson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
There's a reason why Mark DeVries's Sustainable Youth Ministry is one of those rare books that has an average ranking of 5-stars: this is the best book on youth ministry as far as explaining the "architecture" or structure of how to set up youth ministry. I met Mark DeVries at a youth leaders' conference in 2009: his session was by far and away the most relevant to the kind of church I was the youth pastor of at the time, a more traditional, Episcopalian parish.

For any of you who have been involved in youth ministry, as students, parents, or youth leaders, then you know that perhaps the #1 problem with youth ministry is a lack of longevity. Youth ministers and their programs come and go. When I was active as a youth minister, I read that the average length a youth minister stayed at a church was 27 months!

This book shows churches and youth leaders how to structure your ministry so that it will last and have a lasting impact.

Here's a great side by side comparison of Sustainable Youth Ministry vs traditional youth ministry:

Sustainable
Long-term focus on a single issue
Responsibility shared by the team
Regular Meetings
Regular time for strategic thinking
Expectations of a multiyear building process

Traditional
Episodic focus with key issues buried
Responsibility carried by the youth worker
Concerns raised reactively at random meetings
Issue addressed between urgent demands of ministry
Expectation of the quick fix

DeVries confronts head on the false "gambling" view of finding a hot shot superstar who is going to fix the youth program. He then builds, brick by brick, a systems approach to youth ministry.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. DeJong on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mark DeVries uses real experiences and stories to explain what it takes to have a successful and sustainable youth ministry. This is an essential book for any youth minister, not just for the bookshelf but to be worn out, read through, and implemented. No matter what kind of church you are in, your youth ministry could benefit from the wisdom found in Sustainable Youth Ministry.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Dieringer on November 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm glad to give a very positive review of this resource. I've been impressed by the depth of Mark Devries experience at auditing and advising youth ministries ever since I attended his workshop at the 2008 National Youth Ministry Conference where he whetted my appetite with memorable material from this book such as 'Eat that Frog' and 'Juggling Monkeys.'
Devries has written this book not only to full-time youth ministers (like me) but to lay-leaders, senior pastors, search committee members, and parents of youth. He outlines the nitty-gritty work of 'building the dance floor' that must happen for a youth ministry to grow, remain healthy, and out-last its current leaders. Devries includes valuable statistical information related to budgeting, salaries, and polls. In a nutshell, every chapter contains trial-proven strategies that benefits the building of a healthy youth ministry. There are no trends or easy formulas here, only practical guidelines for implementation. This resource will guide my volunteer training meetings from now through the foreseeable future. I have already recommended that my local association purchase and gift this book to all of the local churches to read, keep, and follow, and I recommend this recommendation to you, too!
Aaron D. Honolulu, HI
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