Read an Excerpt
I've been researching and writing about teenagers, their culture, and youth ministry strategies for twelve years as editor of GROUP Magazine. In every issue for more than a decade, I've cranked out GROUP's four-page TrendWatch section-tidbits of insight, foundational facts, surprising connections, and a little pulpit-pounding opinion. This book is the result of more than 1,000 hours of my research and writing for this column. From this experience, two things are clear to me.
1. Kids are camped out in the no man's land between the spiritual forces of good and evil. Adolescence is really just another name for the front lines of the spiritual battle we wage here on earth. Two-thirds of all Christians make their commitment to follow Christ prior to age eighteen. That means youth leaders are in the thick of it, day in and day out. It's alternately exhausting and exhilarating-but how many professions have a job description that reads, simply: "Make an eternal difference"?
2. Most of those who are attracted to youth ministry are basically "underdog" people. I mean, they have a Christlike passion for the so-called lost cause. They understand the forces working against the "little ones" Christ so loved, and they can't help but join the "resistance" to fight for them.
If I've just described you, then we're kindred spirits. My prayer is that the trends you read in this book-and the "links" in the margin that will help you turn reflection into action-will offer the weapons you need to fight on kids' behalf. The trend pieces are sampled from the pages of GROUP over the last five years, and the links are simply idea grenades lobbed at you. Catch afew-you never know what kind of ministry explosion they'll set off.