I was tremendously impressed in reading the book; my immediate thought it was the best I've read on the subject of youth ministry.
But I didn't want to overreact.
So I let it simmer.
Now I'll say without hesitation: No Guts, No Glory (Matthias Media)is the finest book I've read on the realities of youth ministry.
Frankly, it's a book I could have written; some may say it's a book I should have written.
After all, I've been doing this vocationally since 1977.
But I didn't.
Sure am glad Alan Stewart did.
I always hesitate to type "required reading."
Not with this one. As Director of Staff Development (as you know, I'm really into titles); I will insist the Midland Ministries staff read this book.
I will personally recommend it to every youth pastor/worker I know; and every aspiring youth worker.
It is that good. It is that real. It is that helpful.
One caveat, the authors are Australian...so there are those weirdly spelled words, and a couple other references that would raise your eyebrows if you didn't know...like I've not yet been speaking or working at a youth camp that had "tea time"!
I can't believe I missed this one...it was first published in 1990, with the second edition coming out in 2000,
You may be thinking, "Oh, it's old." NOT!
Why NOT? Because you shouldn't buy into the next gimmick, the next program, the next strategy.
Basically ministry is ministry - love God, love people.
There is nothing "dated" in this book. Does this sound old? "Most churches have a youth group of some kind, but very few have actually worked out what they are doing and why."
How about this? "Good youth ministry will produce tension because it will produce growth."
Anyone who has been in ministry for more than two weeks will recognize the permanence of: "The tension between youth wants and youth needs lies at the heart of youth ministry."
I'm betting I'm not the only youth worker who wishes every parent of every young person would read this paragraph:
"Unfortunately, it is sometimes Christian parents
who tell their teenagers that they do not have time for proper involvement
in Christian activities, because they need to be studying, learning music,
training for sport, or whatever it is.
This reflects a problem with the Christian life of the parents
rather than the teenagers;
it is what we want for our children that really
reflects our values in life."
I just heard shouts of "Amen!" from every experienced youth worker!
The book serves as a great reminder for the most experienced youth worker. Each chapter concludes with some application questions that make this helpful for an individual, and very useful for a group of workers to go through together. With eleven chapters, an 11 week study period would be fantastic.
I simply can not overstate the case - get this book. It comes with the Hager guarantee...if you buy it and don't like it, I'll reimburse you for your money spent. It's that good. In fact, if you read it and don't nod a bunch, weep a little, and laugh once or twice...you better get out of youth work!