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Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation Paperback – September 28, 2006
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Whether a person has been working with youth for years or is trying to decide whether to lead a group for the first time, he or she will discover in this book an approach to helping young people mature spiritually. (Mary Lou Henneman, Congregational Libraries Today, March/April 2007)
Mike King is old enough to have washed ashore with all the trends in the last 40 years or so in evangelicalism. He's tired of the programs and the catchy theories. He calls us back to the center, to knowing God, to being known by God, and living - and ministering to youth - out of that knowing and being known. With pastors like Mike King we've got glimpses of changes that will speak the gospel into the next generation. (Scot McKnight, Jesus Creed (blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed), November 26, 2008)
Presence-Centered Youth Ministry is an excellent supplemental text useful for challenging some long-standing youth ministry thinking and practice. . . . his larger contribution may be in naming the specific task of youth ministers as bringing youth into the presence of God. (D. Andrew Zirschky for The Journal of Youth Ministry, Fall 2007)
This book has great value. Highly recommended! (The Lamplighter, August 2007)
Though the job of youth ministers is challenging, this books easy-to-read format offers suggestions and solutions for them that are both theoretical and pragmatic. (Catholic News Service, August 3, 2007)
"Wow. Talk about stirring the pot! Mike King gets way out on some beautiful and truthful thin ice, naming many of the closely held wrong assumptions and faulty practices of modern youth ministry. Then he crosses to the other side of this thin ice, and suggests a path forward. Congrats to Mike, and to anyone willing to thoughtfully consider the ideas in this book!" (Mark Oestreicher, president, Youth Specialties)
"Mike King has started a conversation that's long overdue and frequently ignored in youth ministry circles. In this thoughtful book he tells his own story with humble vulnerability, exposes the sacred cows we've let graze for far too long on the youth ministry landscape, and helps us see that ministry isn't about facilitating and teaching outward behavorial conformity. I'm sure this book will make many uncomfortable because of its subject and recommendations. Pick it up. Don't put it down. Prayerfully wrestle with Mike and his message. Keep reading. This book just might take you out of your comfort zone, but that's right where many of us need to be led in order to be able to carefully and faithfully lead young people into the life-changing presence of God." (Walt Mueller, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and author of Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture)
"Make no mistake: Presence-Centered Youth Ministry is about God's presence, not ours--which right away puts Mike King's approach to youth ministry in a class of its own. King transcends 'liberal/conservative' stereotypes by putting ancient spiritual practices at the heart of our ministry with young people--practices that center us in the presence of God. If you're not won by the teenagers you meet in these pages, you'll be won by the glimpses of how King's own ministry helps youth 'practice the presence of God.' If Brother Lawrence had been a youth pastor, this book would have been his favorite resource." (Kenda Creasy Dean, parent, pastor, associate professor of youth, church and culture, Princeton Theological Seminary, and author of Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church)
"With Presence-Centered Youth Ministry, Mike King has given us a road map to the tectonic shift underway in student ministry. At turns personal, challenging, testimonial and prophetic, this book will surely capture the hearts of many youth workers. Mike speaks from experience, yet with humility, and he is truly setting the course for a new day in youth ministry." (Tony Jones, National Coordinator of Emergent-U.S. (www.emergentvillage.com), and editor of You Converted Me: The Confessions of St. Augustine)
From the Publisher
* Full of great ideas for large group and individual disciplines
* Written by a thirty-year veteran of youth ministry who's "been there" and "done all that"
* Creative, honest and pragmatic
* Encourages spiritual growth of both students and ministers
Top Customer Reviews
This book does a great job of getting the focus back on Jesus and making sure that first and foremost the youth leader is connected to Jesus heart. The students will follow as we become more and more in love with Jesus. King proposes many practices that would be viewed as controversial in many protestant communities but in truth many of these practices are timeless and can really strengthen your faith.
I think this book is valuable for youth leaders because King challenges us to tend to our hearts first. Also, King reminds us that the true success of any youth ministry is not how many students show up to your wednesday night program. Rather, the true measuring stick is how many of those students are connected to Jesus and the church 30 years down the road. To do this youth leaders need to think long term and we need to equip and encourage students to seek Jesus on their own. You can have the flash and bells and whistles in your program but you just better be sure that that's not all you have.
Great read I highly recommend it to any youth leader and to pastors in general.
I gave this book to each of my committed volunteer youth workers and continually refer back to it for assistance in real youth ministry. King is a brilliant story teller and a great guide for youth workers.
The message of this book is fresh and inspiring in the midst of shallow theology and churches content with the gospel of "moralistic therapeutic deism". We like our Christianity easy and safe, but the call of Christ is anything but that; he bids us come and die and find new life. Where it feels most of the evangelical churches fear the coming of post-modernity, Mike King sees this as an opportunity to embrace questions, doubts, traditions and family heirlooms we sometimes leave behind. Coming from a background similar to King's and having my college love be Young Life, I've yearned for a more holistic approach to the gospel and ministry. Presence-Centered youth ministry is a call to look back and look forward dreaming of God's coming reign, and delighting in God's very presence as our first priority.
Take-aways and challenges this read offer me are as follows:
Sacred Space- So much of what I do as a minister is programming and planning events that will draw kids in, or at least keep their attention. Then if I'm lucky I find a few minutes to spice up the event with a small gospel presentation. But what if we started with the gospel and the presence of God as the first priority. What if even the space we shared was set aside as holy and a conduit for worship, not entertainment. They don't need more stuff, they need God?! How can I let this challenge shape the very physical environment we set up in ministry? What if we set up prayer stations or a prayer corner/room that was a permanent or ever evolving place instead of offering the prayer stations event once a semester?
Family Heirlooms- The great challenge for me is to embrace the lessons of time in the church. I want to look back through the immense diversity of traditions and practices of the church over the years, sharing and reclaiming the heirlooms of faith; like prayer, liturgy, silence, and fasting. I especially felt a desire welling in me to cultivate my own prayer life through many of the practices outlined, from respiratory prayer to the hours. I've done the daily office for a year or two in some different ways, but this book has made me want to concretely explore new (old) prayer practices like the examine, lectio divina, and others.
It's a life long journey of being a disciple, and that's what we get to do as ministers. Center our lives around the very presence of God and invite others to "come and see" as we journey together. The pressure to perform and entertain is off and so are the gloves as we enter into living life with radical commitment to the Holy Spirit and it's calling on our Life.