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Recently, I read through a simply phenomenal book, a “must read” for every Youth Worker who has any interaction with Middle Schoolers.
I can’t speak highly enough about this book as the information covered is absolutely top notch and presented in such an amazingly educational way. I have always been a huge proponent of being a Life Long Learner and would argue that it is incredibly easy to get into a rut where we mistakenly replace learning with improving.
I loved this book because of two main reasons that give it a huge educational value for Youth Workers; The Data and the Implications.
I have heard it compared slightly to Hurt by Chap Clark, which also presents a lot of data about teens. I haven’t read through all of Hurt or Hurt 2.0, but from I have seen, they are slightly different, particularly in how they discuss the data.
Middle School Ministry isn’t presenting statistics about where students are, but much more so, understanding the Psychology of Early Adolescents and all the changes pre-teens and early teens are going through. MarkO does an amazing job if mixing in some hilarious personal stories from his small group to help illustrate the point that is coming across in the book, and I honestly don’t feel like I have ever learned as much from a single Youth Ministry book as I did this one, and I honestly wish I could go back to my Professors in College and tell them to make this mandatory reading.
It then continues to take the process a step further and discuss the implications that the data has on how we lead our Youth Ministries and interact with teens. I’ve loved seeing changes in my own behavior as I read through the book, most noticeably was a few days after I read the chapter discussing the ability of middle schoolers to think in abstract or concrete ways. I overheard one of our sunday school teachers shooting down a students exaggeration, and though normally I would have never thought like this, it sparked in me that this student was really working out the muscle in his brain that allows him to think appropriately yet abstractly, and our youth worker shot him down for it.
The Implications discussed in this book will change the way you operate in Middle School Ministry. I loved it so much that I am getting a copy of it for every one of our Middle School Volunteers as mandatory reading, and I can’t wait to go through it with them in a few weeks.