Monday, March 05, 2007

Book Review - Deep Ministry in a Shallow World by Chap Clark and Kara Powell

Deep Ministry in a Shallow World is useful on two levels. The first level is the actual content of the book. Chap Clark and Kara Powell do an excellent job bringing new light to topics like discipleship, mentoring, missions, and teaching (to name a few). These insights are worth the price alone. But there is a second level of usefulness, the Deep Design. This Deep Design process, they outline and use throughout the book, is a tool that needs to be applied to all aspects of youth ministry.

Deep Ministry is a textbook for youth ministers. It is packed full with insight after new idea after practical application after insight. It is easy to follow and understand, but more importantly easy to implement. No matter what the topic, you can answer the four questions raised (now?, new?, who?, and how?) and help take your ministry to a new level.

The chapter on Deep Mentors challenged me to rethink our small group mentality. Its one thing to get a small group leader to commit to leading the group for x number of weeks, sometimes even this can be difficult. It is another thing to get that same small group leader to commit to mentoring those students even when there is no small group meeting. The first looks good on the outside, and to the elders or church leadership, not to mention how it looks to the congregation. The second has more of a long-term impact on the students, but may not be as noticed.

Another thought I took away from the level one of usefulness was in the chapter on Deep Communication. I have been having some struggle getting discussion started with the high schoolers. This chapter helped me realize my communication is not just about the lesson I prepare. It’s also about the students who are listening (the ones I am trying to teach). On page 158 is a list of 6 behaviors that promote defensiveness. As I read the 6 behaviors, I found myself accepting that I have been guilty of each one at various times in my ministry. Knowing this, I have begun to actively and purposefully avoid these behaviors while I am teaching.

The Deep Design will be an asset to your ministry long after you put this book on your shelf. This process of continually examining your ministry and its various aspects is the real key of Deep Ministry. This important application is evident in the fact that each time we “fix” a part of our ministry, we realize we need to tweak it just a little. “The reality is that the problems we face Now are largely the result of yesterday’s solutions.” (238) There is never, or should never be, a time where youth ministers can sit back and just watch ministry happen. We must always be striving for excellence and adjusting our methods to fit our current culture. This book gives you the tools to navigate the waters of a constantly changing ministry.

My advice (rating) – buy more than one and give out copies (5 out of 5)

Let me end with this, I think you should do what you can to get this book into the hands of all your youth coaches.

No comments:

Post a Comment