JDFM Forum: An Interview With Mark DeVries About “Family-Based Youth Ministry, Twenty Years Later.” -- By: Mark DeVries

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 04:2 (Fall 2014)
Article: JDFM Forum: An Interview With Mark DeVries About “Family-Based Youth Ministry, Twenty Years Later.”
Author: Mark DeVries

JDFM Forum: An Interview With Mark DeVries About “Family-Based Youth Ministry, Twenty Years Later.”

Mark DeVries

Mark is a 36-year veteran of youth ministry, having served for the last 28 years as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author or co-author of a number books, including Family-Based Youth Ministry and Sustainable Youth Ministry. Mark is the founder or co-founder of a number of ministry enterprises, including Ministry Architects, the Center for Youth Ministry Training, Justice Industries, and Ministry Incubators. Mark has three grown children and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

1. Why Did You Write Family-Based Youth Ministry? Tell Us About The Process By Which This Book Came Into Existence.

So many youth workers, including myself, were heartbroken over the disconnect between kids who participated in youth group and those who continued to live out their faith for a lifetime. It set me on a search to discover the key factors that lead to lifelong discipleship. I met for a few days with my dear friend and seminary classmate, Larry Coulter, one of the most creative pastors I know, to sketch out the outline of a book. During that week, we met with a young man named Walt Mueller who was in the early stages of a ministry he was calling “Headfirst,” which after being confused for a birthing center, changed its name to the Center for Youth Ministry Training. What was clear in many, many conversations and studies is that parents played an unparalleled role in the faith formation of

teenagers. Like most first time authors, I got my fair share of rejection letters, until a friend who had published with InterVarsity Press made an introduction for me.

2. What Have Been The Primary Changes You’ve Observed In Youth Ministry Since The Publication Of Family-Based Youth Ministry?

I am delighted to see the ways that youth ministry has grown up. Though still true in some places, fewer and fewer churches are looking for the relational savant to lead their ministries. Popularity with kids is important, but I’m grateful that more and more churches are realizing that they can’t build a ministry on “hip.” I’ve been delighted to see the growing anchoredness of youth pastors who seek out deliberate spiritual direction, who read more than the latest Christian fad book, who are actually integrating research, theology, and discernment.

At the same time, as the noise of marketing has become louder and louder and the options for teachers have multiplied dramatically, it has been easy for families to jettison regular involvement in the life...

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