So, the reality of youth ministry is (and you can ask anybody involved in youth ministry, and they’d tell you the same) that you are always, always on the clock. Whether or not you are physically at the church, at a students high school ball game, or you are at home reading a book on your own, you are either serving students/parents or you are processing the events of your place of ministry. You could get a call at 2:00 am, in which a student is telling you that his parents are fighting too loud for him to be able to sleep. You could get texts from parents about an upcoming trip.
That’s the life of a (youth) pastor and it is no wonder that words like “burnt out” are often associated to such a vocation. So, what do we do with handling such a job? Where do we draw the lines and, more importantly, how do we draw the lines? Lund repeatedly reminds his readers that students can sniff out a faux pastor. If you are not really interested in anything than a paycheck, or if you are trying to conceal or cover-up the way that you truly feel, kids are remarkable in that they almost have a sixth sense to detect such a stature. What I hear Lund say, in pages of well-researched text coupled with his own experience, is: Be yourself, be disciplined, or get out.
Lund’s book is more than a litmus test for how your ministry is going – it is the methodological frame to which you should establish your ministry. I mean method in that it differs from philosophy and theology, this is the praxis behind the theory. The survival guide, preparing you for when you are already out in the field.
I’d recommend it as a text for youth pastors to dig through together. Maybe you have a few youth pastors in your area, including yourself, that you could get together regularly and discuss the content of this book. Maybe you know of a Junior or Senior High Minister who is growing weary and needs some supplies to get him through the ministry that he was once passionate about. That is the audience that I think would really appreciate what Lund has stitched together.
Back cover reads:
Ever wonder why the average career in youth ministry is so short-lived? It’s not because the youth minister “grows up” into real ministry. Too often, it is because—without adequate boundaries—the youth minister is swept away, burned out, or chewed up. From someone that has been there, author Joel Lund brings the ultimate guide for a healthier ministry and a healthier you.
Joel Lund worked in full time youth ministry for eight years, before becoming a part-time assistant to his wife’s ministry, during her seven years of full-time youth work. Joel and Janet are the delighted parents of a teenager and live in Boise, Idaho.
Publisher: WestBow Press, 2011
Page Count: 215 pages
Table of Contents
Section 1: Internal Boundaries
– Chapter 1: Your Ministry, God’s Ministry
– Chapter 2: Your Expectations
– Chapter 3: Your Learning Curve
– Chapter 4: Programming and Personhood
Section 2: External Boundaries
– Chapter 5: Boundaries with Kids
– Chapter 6: Boundaries with Parents
– Chapter 7: Boundaries with Members
– Chapter 8: Boundaries with Staff
– Chapter 9: Boundaries with Peers
– Chapter 10: Boundaries with Family
** This book was provided from free with my promise to review the text unbiasedly.