Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review: Growing Young

There are a lot of books out there that tell you how to do great ministry. Many come off as 4 simple steps or if you follow our method, buy our curriculum and make sure all your congregation buys our study guide, it will transform your church. This is not one of those books. This is a book that is backed by research into churches that are reaching youth and young adults in an effective and meaningful way. So much of what the authors found resonated with me and I found myself constantly underlining and marking up the margins.

What gives this book great strength is that the authors have found common elements across the diverse range of churches they studied. What I found very helpful was that the authors early on address a number of common myths about churches that are succeeding in growing young including location, denomination, cool factor, facility, budget and church size. In their research the authors found churches all over the spectrum of all these various areas.

The authors identify six trait of growing young churches which they lay out in what they call the "Growing Young Wheel" where these traits continually grow as you go around the circle. Each factor has chapter that works through it that includes real examples of it playing out in a church, and explanation of their findings and a list of ideas of how your church might be able to grow this quality. 

As this is a research based book that has just been released, the information is current and relevant. If you are in youth or young adult ministry, or simply someone who is a millennial, you will find much of this book resonates with how you and those you minister to are wired. What this book does well is help those older than millennials understand how ministry may need to be reshaped to reach the next generation, backing it up with solid research.

Bottom line, this book needs to be at the top of your reading list for the coming year.

(I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own)