Book Review: reThink

I recently read reThink by Steve Wright and Chris Graves.  It is a book that has been recommended to me more than once by friends.  In fact, I even attended the reThink conference in Raleigh last year and was very familiar with the concept of the book even though I had never read it.  After having read it, I would say that it is one of the best books I have ever read on the topic of youth ministry. The author, Steve Wright is the founder of InQuest Ministries and the pastor of student ministries at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh NC.

The thesis of reThink is that student ministry, as it is currently done, is broken.  This is not an attack on youth ministry, but an honest evaluation.  And, by the way, the statistics on 20somethings in church alone are enough to convince me this is the case.  The book then examines the biblical model for youth ministry and suggests ways to implement this model in your church

The authors argue, quite successfully, that the biblical model of ministry puts the job of discipleship on the family.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9 probably illustrates this model best.  The family is to make the law of God so central to the life of the family that the children cannot help but absorb it.

The balance of the book is about how student ministries can partner with parents and transition into a biblical model and away from a "separate and entertain" model of ministry.

The only weak point of the book is that it only addresses methods of ministry to students whose parents are either non-believers, or who are unwilling to step up and take their role as primary disciplers in a fleeting way.  This is a substantial problem in modern youth ministry.  Even though it is largely the fault of a couple of generations of broken ministry, it should have been dealt with more fully.

I am fully in agreement with reThink, I would recommend it to anyone interested in youth ministry.  I hope it becomes part of the curriculum in youth ministry classes in Bible colleges everywhere.  I look forward to reading the follow up book, ApParent Privilege, soon.