By John Berard, James Penner, Rick Bartlett
Imagine you are thirteen years old. You’re unsure of yourself and you’re living in the midst of a daily blitz of ads and brands that are making a living on getting your attention. You’re now just scratching the surface of what teens and pre-teens are experiencing in their world today.As a youth worker, I was thrilled when the Visionary Leader of our church encouraged me to read this book. One of the most valuable aspects of the book is the discussion questions that are written at the end of each chapter. These are not softball questions by any means and I get the feeling that they could be great discussion starters at gathering of youth workers.For the chapter-to-chapter content, if you’re ‘up to date’ on the history of adolescence, the book starts slow. On the other hand, if you don’t know about the history of adolescence then what great info! The first section of the book is dedicated to adolescence, its development, and how it is affecting the current generation.
In the midst of the first section, I almost set the book down. It was stuff I’ve read before and had thought about from reading books like Hurt and Middle School Ministry. Still, I’m glad I didn’t put this book down because, in the second section, I was reminded of three important parts of youth ministry:
1. One-size-fits-all thinking has been problematic as far back as the initial days of the early youth movements.
2. If teenagers cannot find their passion in the church, they will find it elsewhere.
3. It’s not about the youth worker doing more, it’s about the youth being more connected to adults.
Overall, it was good to read this book but I think that there are better resources out there for youth workers and volunteers.