Every youth worker, senior pastor, youth pastor, or family pastor with an interest in where youth ministry has been over the last half-century and where youth ministry is headed, should read this book. Written by Wayne Rice, Reinventing Youth Ministry (Again): From Bells and Whistles to Flesh and Blood, is Rice’s memoir of his almost five decades in youth ministry as the co-founder of Youth Specialties and founder of the Understanding Your Teenager seminars (now part of HomeWord).
Arguably, no youth worker on the planet has had more of an influence on youth ministry over my lifetime than Wayne Rice. I was an infant when he began his career in youth ministry 47 years ago this month as a part-time staffer at Youth for Christ. Depending on when you entered youth ministry, you may remember Wayne better as Mike Yaconelli’s straight man for the first 25 years of Youth Specialties, an expert on middle school ministry, or as one of the first to articulate the importance of involving parents in youth ministry. In Reinventing Youth Ministry (Again), Rice draws on all those experiences to share his thoughts on parents, adolescence, the gospel, programs, youth workers, and the church. Rice also charts a course for the future of youth ministry that includes the expansion of youth ministry, engaging parents, and re-integrating youth ministry with the church as a whole. These are thoughts that all of us who love teenagers and the gospel need to hear.