Today we hear far too many stories of tragedies that have occurred in churches as a result of poorly planned and even more poorly operated youth ministries. Sometimes we treat our youth as guinea pigs by trying anything and everything in an attempt to stimulate interest or to keep them coming. Generally speaking, we have no boundaries, no idea of what success is sup- posed to be, and no real idea of what it is that we are trying to achieve. This approach has led to an entertainment mentality, and not to ministering.
While I am sure that no one interested in this book would desire to misguide anyone of whom he has been given the honor of being in charge, nevertheless the pressure to create success often leads to being entrapped by these “modern methods.” So often we forget not only the honor and privilege of being allowed to pastor, teach, or preach to others, but we also forget the grave responsibility that comes with it.
One of the areas in our churches and ministries at which we rarely take a hard look is the youth ministry. This ministry is often left to the whimsical ideas of a misguided but well-meaning, perhaps just graduated from Bible school young man, who is without any guidance until things get out of hand. Youth ministry can be a tremendous blessing or a terrible curse that can and has often led to church splits, anger, frustration, and disillusionment.
There has yet to be a definitive work written about youth ministry done the correct way. There are plenty of books written that include modern fads, marketing schemes, and “new” ideas, but there has been no foundational book that gives the reader an idea of what the purpose of youth ministry is. If applied, the principles in this book will save the reader countless hours of remorse and frustration. The reader may be surprised to find that it is not another how-to book — rather, it is one that defines what youth ministry should be and more clearly defines the biblical objectives of youth ministry.
Brother Sam Magdalein has written this book not from just research but also from actual hands-on experience. He has been our youth pastor at Bible Believers Baptist Church for sixteen years, and now, as the associate pastor, he continues those responsibilities. He has dealt with youth in many areas, from teaching Sunday school classes to youth outings to youth camps. His conclusions about youth ministry may be shocking to some, but that makes them none the less true. Any youth pastor — or any pastor of any age or experience — will benefit from reading this book. It is very well-written and comes to alarming conclusions. Bro. Magdalein is one of the few men I know who dares lift his voice to stem the tide and go against mainstream youth ministries, while at the same time providing solid, biblical answers for youth ministry.
Dr. David Peacock
Pastor, Bible Believers Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida
Excerpt from Playing Games with God: How to Avoid Shallow Youth Ministries and Find a Biblical Group for Your Kids. Print version is available here.
Copyright © Sam Magdalein 2016.