Recent Reads: Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth

Jen Bradbury
Apr 22 · 5 min read

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.