Recent Reads: Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth

This week's review is of Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth by Paul Martin

What the book's about: As it's name suggests, this is a book about the faith formation of youth. Specifically, it's about discipling teens. What makes this book unique is it's definition of discipleship. Paul says, "making disciples refers to the process where one person helps to reveal God's created purpose in another, regardless of how a person may respond." Accordingly, discipleship becomes an art, with youth workers serving as "curators or restorers who see the individual brush strokes making up the whole of a painting."

Why I read this book: I've come to greatly respect Paul's philosophy of youth ministry through his blog, Being Ministry. Having frequented his blog for quite a while now, I was excited to see him unpack his approach to ministry in a longer, book format.

My favorite quotes from the book:

- "The church floundered when it drifted into dispassionate pleas for knowledge and lost the voice of an artist."

- "When we push young people to make decisions, when we use behavior modification techniques to pressure youth to think certain thoughts and behave in 'Christian' ways, we assume the role of the Holy Spirit. The problem is these practices don't lead to genuine transformation and ultimately, they do more harm than good." 

- "Anytime an agenda rules a relationship, I can't expect a change to be anything but fake."

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Thumbs up

Who I'd recommend this book for: Youth workers frustrated with the many "practical" discipleship books that try to prescribe a discipleship formula that "guarantees" success. To this group of youth workers, this book will feel like a breath of fresh air that both encourages and challenges them.  

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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