Recent Reads: Jesus Centered Youth Ministry by Rick Lawrence

Jen Bradbury
Jun 08 · 5 min read

Jesus Centered Youth Min

What the book's about: Jesus Centered Youth Ministry is about creating youth ministries that are, in every way, rooted in Jesus. This book is a revised edition of the book first published by the same name 8 years ago. 

Why I read this book: In the process of both conducting my research on what high school teens believe about Jesus and publishing the resulting book, The Jesus Gap, I read and still read a wide variety of books about Jesus. Reading the original Jesus Centered Youth Ministry helped shape my own research immensely. When the updated edition was published last spring, I was eager to read it as well. 

My favorite quotes from the book:

- "Most youth ministries are using a ventilator to stay alive. They don't breathe Jesus with the force of their own passionate impetus." 

- "Great strategies and tested principles for ministry are fine; they just can't replace the intoxicating presence of Jesus." 

- "When Jesus is the center of everything, and when people are drawn into closer orbit around him, fruit happens." 

- "A merely nice Jesus is no Jesus at all." 

- "For almost all teenagers, Jesus isn't the hub of their life; he's either a 'spoke' on their life's wheel (just a church thing) or not even part of the wheel. They have no firm idea of who Jesus really is, why he came, what he actually said, what he actually did, or what he's doing now." 

- "The goal of youth ministry is inviting teenagers into intimate relationship with Jesus & then mentoring them into what it means to abide in him. That goal is juxtaposed with the current heavy weight champion: 'understand and apply.'" 

- "Kids typically describe Jesus in ways that have little relationship to what he really said and did. They think he's a nice, good man - kind of a Barney for grown-ups." 

- "When we help teenagers focus on the red stuff, we anchor their faith in reality, not conjecture." 

- "Critical thinking is really the key to so many doors in life and in youth ministry, it's a primary conduit for Jesus-centered discipleship.

Who I'd recommend this book for: Any youth pastor who wants their ministry to be Jesus-centered. Fans of The Jesus Gap will also enjoy Jesus Centered Youth Ministry.