Contemplative Youth Ministry, Mark Yaconelli

I first came accross Mark‘s work when I found the Youth Ministry and Spirituality project that he was heading up for SF theological Seminary. I was attracted to the works that they were exploring and have lead the last two youth ministries that I have been leading into some of the practicies and rules of the old, beautiful ways of Christianity. This book is a real culmination, a sort of “Purpose Driven” except is driven by contemplative living and seeing that work its way into a youth ministry. Very educational and very practical and very easy to read, this book is a real asset to all sorts of youth pastors who are trying to be faithful to the calling God has put on their lives and to the students they love who are living in an increasingly postmodern context.

Here’s some quotes, thoughts and Q’s:

p. 21 “[Jesus’] ministry, it seems, doesn’t come from a pre-planned formula but instead arises in response to the real situations and relationships he encounters.”

p.25 “Contemplative youth ministry honors the desire to listen as well as teach in our interactions with kids. It grounds our ministries in prayer as well as evangelism – in silence as well as acts of justice.”

p.33 “Congregations and church leaders find themselves relying on the media to learn about kids.” This underscores my thinking on youth pastors taking advantage of every preaching/teaching opportunity in front of adults to teach them about teens and culture so that they can love and minister to those younger than themselves.

p.42 “When kids learn to live in theSpirit of Jesus, they may no longer fit in…They may develop a costly compassion for others. They may become more vulnerable to the pain and loneliness of the world.”

p.43 “Being a Christian isn’t safe.” It isn’t the safe alternative, no matter how many times K-Love tells you that…

p.72 “Once we admit that we are powerless to turn kids into Christians, we can recognize that ministry is a series of small acts of trust.”

p.79 This page contains an amazing chart that revelas the differences in anxiety/fear motivated youth ministry and Love/contemplation motivated ministry. Oh God, motivate us becuase of love…

p.140 quoting Michael Warren “One cannot be concerned about the spirituality of teens without being at the same time concerned about the spirituality of the entire community…the message embodied in a community’s WAY is more powerful than any message in a textbook or on a blackboard.”

Even going back through this book right now, it reminds me of some tweaking that we are going to do to make our ministry more about Jesus…more and more and more…isn’t that a good idea!

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