Well, I finished it finally. I don't know why it took me so long to read this book, but I'm so glad I did. It definitely inspired me. The main idea behind it is using contemplative practices to introduce students to Christian spirituality.
One of the big reasons this book resonated with me is because I'm going through a dry time in my ministry. We've had horrible turnouts for events, little response during programs, and no momentum on anything. The author is Mark Yaconelli. His father was Mike Yaconelli, one of the founders of Youth Specialties. Mark relates how frustrated he was during his first years of ministry. Nothing he did worked and he became incredibly frustrated and depressed until he learned about how to use contemplative practices in student ministry.
I've run my ministry on the premise of getting the students to think I was cool, to think the programs were cool, and then they would listen to what I have to teach them about God. It's a great idea with two problems. 1. Students won't always think I'm cool and 2. It didn't work.
Mark encourages us to help students as they struggle to discover their own spirituality. To remain open and available to them, and to truly listen to them. Rather than formal instruction, students learn about God through group discovery.
This book was inspirational for me, now I just have to figure out how to implement what it is suggesting within a ministry and a church that function differently. JM