“Reaching adolescents around the world” is the tag line in the latest book I have read on youth ministry. This sounds great. Let’s have a youth group that the whole world can go to. Perhaps some wild games that every culture will want to play. If this is your hope for Livermore and Linhart’s “Global Youth Ministry”, then you will be disappointed. But this “disappointment” can change the world.
“Global Youth Ministry” is not about how to establish youth programs from a culturally intelligent or sensitive matter within your culture. It is not about how to build your system of youth culture to fit the local church in our global ministry field. But “Global Youth Ministry” is about how God is moving in an incredibly diverse way through the youth of our world. But don’t misunderstand. This book is not simply about youth programs that fit a global market.
What L&L (Livermore and Linhart) have complied in this book is a network of youth and college disciplers from around the globe that have seen success and failure working with our worlds adolescents. There are short essays or story-chapters from these various folks about how they have had to specifically design ministry opportunities to fit the globally diverse youth we care for today. This is not a book about how to produce western youth ministries around the world. Those leading these ministries have done incredibly specific work according to the cultures they live in. The ministry strategies unfolding in “Global Youth Ministry” are culture specific.
The last L&L book I read was “What Can We Do?” a book about how to get youth groups specifically involved in missional activity around the world. I have the same issue with that book as I do with this. Both of these books are being forced into a genre of ministry material that will be disregarded by the church as a whole. Both of these books should not only be used and followed within the youth ministry world of North America, but the church as a whole should devour these. Both of L&L’s books are crucial for understanding how to pursue culturally intelligent ministry for the church as a whole.
I highly suggest that this book not only be used by you readers who are strictly involved in youth ministry, but also by general church leaders within North America. We truly need the insights that are presented in both of these books for how we do global discipleship, not only youth ministry.