Mel Walker was a youth ministry legend, having served actively for over 45 years in youth ministry. He was the author of many excellent youth ministry books, and he was also a curriculum writer. He was a regular trainer and speaker all over the world. He was a youth ministry leader and teacher to so many.
To me, Mel was my friend, adopted uncle, personal mentor, and so much more. I had known Mel for as long as I have been alive, as he was already actively doing youth ministry at a church not far from where I was born. He was both physically and spiritually a towering figure in my life. He personifies what I aspire to be as a youth pastor, but also as a husband, father, and man of God. Without apology, I would not be continuing to do ministry for as long as I have been without Mel’s words of wisdom, prayers, and willingness to listen to my heart.
I am sure my experience is not only my own but I was absolutely humbled to be asked to review his final book, “Youth Ministry Questions.” Reading and now reviewing this book was hard for me because it was like having one last conversation and coffee with a friend. I can hear his deep voice echoing in every word of insight. This all being said, here it goes, my thoughts and review for this fantastic book.
The late Mel Walker’s final book of youth ministry wisdom, Youth Ministry Questions: Lessons from a Life-Long Youth Worker, has just been released and is outstanding. I will honestly tell you up-front this is a must-read for anyone working with students in any setting but especially in the church context.
This book is like the greatest hits album of Mel Walker’s writing, speaking, and life in youth ministry. The book is the best of what Mel had written and taught about for decades. If you do not have the time to read his extensive collection of books he has written, this book brings the core of them all together in one place.
This comprehensive book takes on the essential current questions facing youth ministry and the church today. Gleaning from over 45 years of experience working with students, Mel writes a simple guide for what is next in American youth ministry in a Post-Covid, Post-Family, Post-Church world. He leaps forward with a futurist understanding of Generation Alpha, “Household” ministry, and the continued need for Inter-Generational Ministry.
Returning to the heart of his life-long ministry and his past writings, Mel challenges the reader to re-think much of what youth ministry has done and where it is going while resetting the Biblical foundation of youth ministry. He gently but astutely takes on the recent critics of youth ministry, shifting the focus to families and the church as a whole.
Broken into six main sections, this book covers thirty-four critical questions most of us in youth ministry are seeking to answer. Starting off with the “Youth Ministry Basics” and ending the book with a few final “Other Important Youth Ministry Topics,” this book is a complete and comprehensive guidebook in just under 200 pages. Each thirty-four question is answered with thorough research and supporting data but in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Many answers include bullet point steps that easily translate into leadership training, staff meetings, or other settings that allow for easy sharing.
Suppose you have not figured it out at this point. I would highly recommend this book and suggest you pick up a copy for yourself and a copy for each team member. I look forward to going back through this book with my team very soon,
CHECK OUT THE “YOUTH MINISTRY QUESTIONS WEBSITE ”
Check out Mel’s Organization: “Vision for Youth”