Monday, June 13, 2011

The Whole Youth Worker: Advice on Professional, Personal, and Physical Wellness from the Trenches, 2nd Ed.

Jay Tucker
Loving Healing Press (2011)
ISBN 9781615990788
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views


"The Whole Youth Worker" is filled with practical pointers for the potential or practicing youth worker: professional or lay, paid or volunteer. Jay Tucker covers the entire spectrum of advice from personal and physical wellness and professional conduct, to dealing with difficulty, balancing family while creating a clear vision of ministry.

In his holistic approach, Tucker considers not only the ministry aspect of worship, teaching, and fellowship but includes the importance of personally living a Christ-honoring life. Jay notes that the job description of the youth worker includes being spiritual advisor, parent, friend, and therapist, a 24/7 type job.

The chapter titled "Lock-in 101" presents the pros and cons of sponsoring a lock-in event. The chapter includes unique ideas for games, activities and programming with a sample 12-hour lock-in plan. Another important chapter deals with "Senioritus" and the symptoms that accompany this transitional year prior to high school graduation.

Tucker maintains that success and cutting edge ministry differs among churches and generations. He discusses looking at traditional programming in light of changes in contemporary, culture, time constraints on students, and family lifestyles. He also encourages taking a realistic look at teen relationships within the youth group, the problems that arise when good kids make bad choices, and the importance of creating a parent-friendly ministry. He includes some keys for dealing with criticism, making the most of board meetings, the importance of creating friendships, and communicating with the congregation.

The author counsels the reader on the importance of staying healthy through diet and exercise as an important element to effective worship and ministry. He talks about health and diet. I found his menus and nutritional comparisons of fast foods informational, interesting, and helpful.

Jay looks at questions about ethics for the Youth Worker in light of both personal and professional standards. He talks about the "call to youth ministry," the reality of the possibility of unexpected job change, and the interview process.

I enjoyed the format of the book, the organization of the material as well as Jay's practical approach and realistic analysis of youth ministry today. This second edition of "The Whole Youth Worker" has been updated and includes an additional five chapters offering up to date "advice on professional, personal, and physical wellness from the trenches."

This book contains highly practical advice. "The Whole Youth Worker, 2nd Edition" should be read and on the resource shelf of every youth worker, professional or lay, new or seasoned. This is a resource that should be on the reading list of every college, seminary, or Bible school for every student considering a Christian Education major, or considering a career in youth ministry.

Listen to Live interview on Inside Scoop Live