J.S. Park's Reviews > Re Think

Re Think by Steve  Wright
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's review
Feb 21, 2012

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bookshelves: christian
Read from February 21 to 22, 2012

Steve Wright is onto something here, but beats a dead horse so badly that it looks alive from the twitching of his unrelenting beatdown.

The ratio is about Ten to One: Ten complaints for every One solution. He never stops saying there's a problem with youth ministry. We get it. By chapter four when he offers a way forward, he still keeps hammering that there must be change. This doesn't let up to the final page.

His solution (when he's not whining) is a family-oriented youth ministry that involves parents as the main disciplers of the students. It's a sensible approach -- that is, for an American white suburban church in an upper-class neighborhood. Wright's idealistic tone with endless resources and eager parents feels like most Christian books: written to a hip, young, fresh-faced, white audience. So he ignores bills, the economy, sickness, disorders, crime, and a plethora of childhood issues.

He only acknowledges that youth games and secular media have overtaken young people, or rather rich, white young people. This insensitivity makes Wright's methods a near-fantasy. In the final chapter, when he shares testimonies of parents discipling their kids, I kept thinking that most of these "outings" and "gifts" cost money. More money than the neighborhood I work in.

He has tons of methods. At least four dozen steps. In chapter seven he confesses that all these tips might be overwhelming, so his remedy? More methods.

There's also nothing about multi-ethnic churches where language barriers hinder family involvement. Or high crime areas. Or low income families. Or multi-generational homes. Just a lot of complaining.

Wright obviously cares about student ministry. His heart is in the right place. His idea of a family-oriented youth is both biblical and practical. I was excited to start this book and took away at least several wise nuggets: prayer, communication, planning. I'm sure if I sat down with Wright, he would be able to answer many of my concerns (without complaining).

Yet I can't help feel this is a one-size-fits-none sort of book. A missed opportunity. There is such a thing as constructive criticism, but that poor dead horse eventually needs a burial.

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Reading Progress

02/21/2012 page 160
02/21/2012 page 197
83.0% "Major problem: this book is obviously for a suburban white American church. While the author has good ideas, the cultural/generational gap in an ethnic church makes this book look outdated and silly. So hard to find Christian books that aren't aimed at white-only, upper-class churchgoers."
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