Book Look: Rebuilding Youth Ministry

By Stephanie Davis Smith, March 13, 2015

If you’re struggling to engage Millennials and reinvigorate older members who work alongside both generations, you’ll find usable advice in “Rebuilding Youth Ministry: Ten Practical Strategies for Catholic Parishes,” by Christopher Wesley, released last week (March 9th). The author is the director of student ministry at Church of the Nativity—the Catholic parish at the center of the best-selling book “Rebuilt” and the popular podcast of the same name—in Timonium, Maryland. Wesley has doubled teen participation in his programs and tripled the number of adult volunteers who work with youth. The page-turner has 10 key strategies (hold small groups with mentors, question often, etc.) for getting and keeping young people involved in organizations.

Favorite line: “Youth ministry is far too often reduced to a caricature of babysitting, a simple matter of offering pizza and pingpong so teens hang out at a church rather than somewhere else—but it can and should be so much more.”

Solid advice: “When I first started… I was so desperate for volunteers that I looked for warm bodies who were in any way willing to help. Don’t do that.”

Memorable chapter title: “Accept That It’s Messy”

Best book jacket quote: “Refreshing clarity in the midst of youth ministry craziness.” —Chris Stefanick, founder and president, Real Life Catholic

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