Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake-Up Call
By Brock Morgan, San Diego: The Youth Cartel, 2013
I recently read a very valuable book on youth ministry by veteran youth worker Brock Morgan entitled Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake-up Call (The Youth Cartel, 2013). What Brock does in this book is help youth pastors focus on the transforming work of God in the lives of teenagers. Brock tells one story after another to point to the significance of youth ministry and youth ministers in local churches.
One of my favorite stories was heartbreaking to read but glorious in its outcome. A 13-year old girl was brought to Brock’s youth ministry by her grandmother. She was energetic and involved but eventually she said to Brock, “Why didn’t she pick me?” Inquiries led to the girl explaining that what she wanted to know is why her mom didn’t pick her instead of her mom’s live-in boyfriend. After watching the boyfriend beat her mom, the girl was stunned when her mom chose to keep her boyfriend and reject her own daughter. How sweet it was to hear the words God gave to Brock to help this young girl understand that God did really care about her and had answered her prayer to deliver her from this awful situation.
This is what youth ministry is about! We build relationships with youth in order to be present in their journey to capture those moments where we get the privilege of speaking God’s truth and ministering God’s love to them. It happens in the youth room, at school, on retreats, after a church worship service, and on mission trips.
Those who know me know that my heart still beats for youth after beginning my youth ministry career in 1973, and what Brock’s book did was kindle anew the fire in me to communicate the Good News of the gospel to teens and emerging adults. I’m glad to be on this journey with youth workers in the Pacific Northwest and I hope that God will give me more days to encourage and equip them.
About Ron Marrs
Ron Marrs is presently a Professor of Youth and Pastoral Ministry and Chairman of the Center for Ministry and Leadership at Western Seminary, Portland, OR. Ron is the leader of the Portland Youth Workers Network. He served at Westwood Baptist Church, a Converge church, for 24.5 years primarily as the youth pastor and then as executive/worship pastor. He has been married to Becky for 35 years, has three children and three grandsons. He is an elder at Hinson Baptist Church. He recently completed doctoral research in which he interviewed 26 people about their rookie youth pastor experiences along with 24 of their supervisors.