Book Review: Story Signs and Sacred Rhythms: A Narrative Approach to Youth Ministry

Book Review: Story Signs and Sacred Rhythms: A Narrative Approach to Youth Ministry

Chris Folmsbee’s book Story, Signs and Sacred Rhythms is one of the most theologically based books on youth ministry that I’ve read in recent history.  Chris attempts to build a case that youth ministry should focus on the narrative on God as it intersects our lives.   The section on the story of God from creation to present time.  Chris brings a major premise of the book in that the Kingdom of God relates to three essential elements

  1. The Mission of God
  2. The Image of God
  3. The Work of God

I’ve made many notes in this book and have placed sticky notes all over the book to follow up on things that I really think should be incorporated into my philosophy of ministry in the near future.  (Some of it is now, but not stated as well as Chris has in this book.)

One small part that I thought could be expanded on was a chapter on foundation and context (Chapter 5).  In this section Chris uses an ecological framework (Very social work-which i like) to explain that the two areas of Ecosystem are environment and the Living organism.  He defines each of these as programs and the students.  While I get where he is going (and he does a good job getting there), I would like to see this expanded further.  Ecosystem is more than just your program.  Environment also should include (perhaps in another chapter) the schools, community, etc that you minister in.  In this day and age, even facebook might fight into your ecosystem.  Living organisms are not just those students in your system, but those you minister to, reach out to, evangelize, and so on.  Over all its a small, yet significant point.

Quick note, Chris’ three categories of Identity in Christ (Chosen, Valued and Protected) as listed, then enumerated following page 100 are brilliant.

I’m not sure if I followed all the postmodern talk and how it related to where he was going.  I didn’t follow the origination of the Imagination and Organ of Ministry fit reason and organ of truth arguemnts. in the epilogue.  Not sure how reason and the other aspects are being introduced in the last section is difficult.

Overall this book is really good and worth the 6$ on amazon.  Chris has a realistic way of having is theory in an open handed attitude that says take what works for you and look at other theories and use them too.


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