Review: Sustainable Young Adult Ministry

Nathan Dunman reviews "Sustainable Young Adult Ministry" by Mark DeVries and Scott Pontier.

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Sustainable Young Adult Ministry

By Mark DeVries and Scott Pontier (InterVarsity Press)

It just happened. Very quickly, in the blink of an eye, it happened. The community of church began to believe with ferocious intent that in order to reach young adults, we must start and finish with fellowship.

The end results? The community of church produced a generation that could grill habañero chicken wings and be clueless about Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road. We over-fellowshipped and under-taught, and there is a price that is being paid. Any time a person, business or organization tries too hard to be ‘cool,’ they will suffer—not immediately but certainly eventually.

In Sustainable Young Adult Ministry, DeVries and Pontier confess to being a part of the problem. But then they give solutions to their missteps—bridging the gap between intentional, sincere, heartfelt fellowship of young adults and not programming for young adults.

Sustainable Young Adult Ministry is transparent in what has not worked and what can work. We often have been fooled by numbers and what numbers mean. DeVries and Pontier are clear that numbers truly are the golden calf of young adult ministry. Numbers always must be translated as people, and the church is in the people business. Sustainable Young Adult Ministry puts the focus back on people.

It is a fantastic read and a must for church leaders. Not just young adult ministry teams but all church leaders need to sit down and digest this book. It is helpful for church ministry across the board. It’s a convicting read. The authors make it clear: Good intentions don’t matter; you can mean well and still play the fool. DeVries and Pontier take us on a journey that exposes the flaws in our own attempts at ‘program-reaching’ intent instead of ‘people-reaching’ endeavors.

Nathan Dunman, associate pastor for university life

First Baptist Church, Lubbock


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