Book review: “Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry” by Jeremy Steele

Lost_Soul_YM_grandeIt’s been a while since I’ve seen a specifically Wesleyan youth ministry guide. I like the “A Wesleyan Field Guide” subtitle of Jeremy’s book. There’s naturally a lot of “how to do” in any field guide, but more importantly there is tons of “how to recognize” content, teaching the reader new ways to be alert and intentional in that subject’s surroundings.

“Reclaiming…” accomplishes the field guide task with excellence. Part history, part experience, part reason, rooted in scripture… oooooohhhh, right. The book takes on big chunks of Wesleyan thinking–grace, salvation, and mission–and shakes them out through a filter of personal run-ins with less thoughtful practices of ministry. Each chapter offers perspective in scripture for its topic before unpacking application both in ministry settings as well as in the minister, an often overlooked part of leading transforming ministry. Concluding each chapter are questions for personal reflection and a separate set for leadership process.

I think what I like best about the book is its straightforward usefulness for practitioners at all levels of Wesleyan familiarity. It’s exploration of Wesleyan history and living isn’t intimidating to a newcomer nor is it too understated for one well-versed in Wesleyan thought and practice. “Reclaimed…” presents a well-thought order of practice and understanding of Wesleyan tradition, encouraging the reader to reshape both ministry and personal growth around the spiritual roots that began in the life of John Wesley.

United Methodism still struggles to express a denominational standard of youth ministry. It’s children and youth ministry workforce is largely non-ordained. Those two truths, paired, result in our elders tending flocks with an impossible palette of theological centers, groomed from birth by good intentions. Call it a Christmas present for you, your youthworker, your pastor, your leaders, your volunteers… call “Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry” a chance for a new beginning in how your church approaches youth ministry and personal discipleship.

Or an old beginning, depending upon how you look at it.

Kevin Alton

Kevin Alton is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter, Senior Writer & Editor for the Youthworker Movement, and co-founder of the Wesleyan youth resource Youthworker Circuit. He lives in the Georgia woods just outside of Chattanooga, TN, with his wife Britta and their two boys, Grey & Penner.

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About Kevin Alton

Kevin Alton is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter, Senior Writer & Editor for the Youthworker Movement, and co-founder of the Wesleyan youth resource Youthworker Circuit. He lives in the Georgia woods just outside of Chattanooga, TN, with his wife Britta and their two boys, Grey & Penner.

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jd walt
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Kevin,

Thanks for this thoughtful review of Jeremy’s book. We were really pleased with how it turned out and at how it’s being received. Thank you for helping us get the word out.

For anyone interested– you can get the book here: http://store.seedbed.com/products/reclaiming-the-lost-soul-of-youth-ministry

j.d. walt
sower in chief
seedbed.com

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