Book Review: Rural Youth Ministry
Rural Youth Ministry by Brent Lacy
Simply Youth Ministry's EveryDay Youth Ministry Series has churned out another complete success in Rural Youth Ministry.” Brent Lacy captures the essence of what it means to be a Rural Youth Minister. I have ministered at a small church in Gorham, ME which you may describe as Rural. If you took a right out of the church parking lot, you could get suburban and urban (Portland, ME) within a few minutes. However, if you took a left out of the parking lot you would find a rather rural landscape of rolling hills up into the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The single most common thought running through my head as I read through Brent's book was “AMEN.” There were so many great takeaways from his book, its hard for me to single out anyone in particular. One universal takeaway was his format for thinking about Rural Youth Ministry, which in a few simple words he describes as: Stop, Look, Listen, Learn. This advice is very pragmatic and extremely useful even if you are not in a Rural Youth Ministry Context. This being considered, I recommend this book to everyone. I was able to read this on my iPhone in about an hour and ate every page up.
A second chapter I thought was great was “Avoiding the Crossfire.” He talks about church politics and how it works in smaller, rural churches that have multi-generation families involved. I would speculate that this chapter would be useful in any context, however in smaller churches this can be especially fierce.
My experiences in Gorham, Maine do mirror many of Brent's in that they are local and you need to be a good student of culture to thrive in this type of environment. Buy-in comes slow in this type of ministry, work through it, when you do, you will have the most steadfast group of people serving with you that you could have ever wished for. I know this was true about my time in Gorham, ME, and I know it can be true for you also.
The photo above brings you to the site where you can download this book!