I was referred to this book by a good friend of mine Ryan McRae. He’s in Afghanistan right now, so I figured if he had the time to read and refer a book to me, it’s probably a good one. So I gave it a look-see.
The subtitle of the book is “the art of discipling youth”. Paul Martin, the author, is a youth pastor at St. Peter’s Church in Birmingham AL. In other words, he knows what he’s talking about. I would so hate to read a book about leading youth by someone who knows nothing about them. Paul’s got the goods. I know many of you are at the age where you either still have kids in the house or your kids have kids. Either way, it’s important that you take an active role in leading, educating, and nurturing them. This book will help with that, as discipling is the word that pretty much combines all three of those actions. Even though the book is written with youth pastors in mind, it can apply to you as well. Read it from the perspective of wherever you and the kids in your life are at right now.
Paul opens with a dialogue about how Da Vinci should have been a youth pastor and quickly gets into the meat of the subject.
“This book will offer methods of discipleship, but it will only be as effective as your own ability and willingness to see. As a youth worker, you have to have the desire to look closely at young adults and see them as God’s works of art.”
I like how he did that. You see how he brings in the fact that you and your perspective are as important as the kids themselves.
Paul does an excellent work in the penmanship of the book. It’s not just a dry academic treatise like some books I’ve seen on working with young people. The book is full of stories and even a few pop culture references. Anytime someone mentions Yoda and Star Wars in a serious work of literature it draws me in immediately. Paul also draws some great metaphors between things like art, jazz, and martial arts to describe discipling youth. Even so, don’t take me the wrong way on that. There’s plenty of raw knowledge in here as well. It’s just presented in a way that keeps you alert and interested.
Discipling youth is not an easy task. Any of you that have been around kids for more than say 20 seconds or so knows that it’s not always fun either. It takes work and lots of practice. It also takes asking for help when you need it. Consider Masterpiece by Paul Martin to be a little piece of help I’m offering you. In the end I promise that leading and discipling the youth in your circle of influence will be completely worth it.