Book Reviews: Building Your Volunteer Team

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Building Your Volunteer Team by Mark DeVries and Nate Stratman (InterVarsity Press)

book devries stratman200Mark DeVries, founding president of Ministry Architects, and consultant Nate Stratman fill the pages of Building Your Volunteer Team with helpful recruiting tips and share practical and doable steps. The authors announce within the first pages their method isn’t a quick read—it’s a 30-day project. The cover reinforces this message. Lined paper shows there’s work involved, and nametags yell, “It’s personal!”

The authors masterfully mix instruction and encouragement as they outline the recruitment process. Readers never are left uninformed, because the book includes concrete examples such as recruiting messages, event calendars, surveys and a review task list. A Bible verse or a quotation introduces each chapter. 

DeVries and Stratman remind readers they never are alone—God is busy at work behind the scenes. They emphasize the importance of prayer and encourage prayer partners.

Ministry Architects is so confident in their process, the book comes with a money-back guarantee and a $20 credit toward any down-loadable resource in their online store. 

The 148-page book targets youth ministry. Even so, Building Your Volunteer Team can be used by any organization that desires to strengthen its volunteer data base. DeVries and Stratman write: “Faithful ministry is almost never meant to be a do-it-yourself project. It’s a do-it-together project.” How true. This is a book worth adding to your collection.

Bobbie Bomar-Brown

Estes Park, Colo.

Beat God to the Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life by Eric Mason (Broadman/Holman)

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book mason200The introduction to Beat God to the Punch tells us the title is “meant to raise eyebrows.” However, there is a great deal of meat in this book by the pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia. 

Mason explores grace and its ramifications. In the chapter “Experiencing Grace,” he writes, “Jesus welcomes us to investigate who he is.” He goes on to say, “Grace in many respects is the incarnation of hope.”

Mason also addresses discipleship. He explains a talmid wasa learner who would follow a rabbi on his own initiative. In contrast, a disciple of Jesus responded to the Lord’s invitation to follow him, and Jesus expected the disciple to devote all of life to him. Mason makes the same point in his concluding chapter, when he writes in order to beat God to the punch, one needs to trust in Jesus Christ.

Enjoy this succinct book—powerful but easy to read.

Skip Holman, minister of discipleship

Northeast Baptist Church

San Antonio

Jesus, Jihad and Peace by Michael Youssef (Worthy Publishing) 

book youssef200Is Islam really so different from Christianity? Born-again Christian and Middle Eastern authority Michael Youssef answers in his latest book, Jesus, Jihad and Peace.

Youssef explains extremist Islamic views, particularly applied to the United States, through discussion of the Muslim Brotherhood in America and the warnings of Osama bin Laden. He explains why extremists bear such hatred toward the West, writing, “In the militant Muslim mindset, the very freedoms we prize most are despised.” He progresses to a short biography of Muhammad the Prophet, what the Quran teaches and how it differs from the Bible. Included is a side-by-side chart of comparison between Islam and Christianity for quick reference.

Youssef concludes with clarification of three kinds of peace—the deceptive peace the world gives, the dark peace of Islam and the divine peace that comes from knowing Christ as Savior. 

If you truly want to understand the Islamic role in Middle Eastern affairs, the United States and End Times, this book is a necessary read.

Mary Pat Johns


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