All youth leaders are “interim” therefore instead of building youth ministries around themselves, good youth ministers will work with the church to develop a sustainable youth ministry that will continue on after they leave.
This sentence summarises the basic premise of "Sustainable Youth Ministry". Too often churches look for the "superstar" youth worker who will solve all their youth ministry problems. The author, Mark DeVries, sets out in this book to uncover why this is not a good idea and presents a better, more lasting approach.
He describes this approach as a "systems approach" - one in which a youth ministry examines what they are doing and why, and sets out to develop a strategy based on characteristics of a sustainable youth ministry. In this approach the aim is not a quick fix but a determination to build a youth ministry that knows where it's headed and will get there whether the current youth leader stays around or not.
The book is not only a helpful resource for churches looking to employ a youth pastor; it is also useful for any key youth leader determined to avoid short term pragmatism and the pressure for immediate numerical growth.
As such, this book is less of a "how-to" manual and more of a book that helps youth leader what leads to ultimate effectiveness and why. I've placed it on my list of 7 youth ministry books every new youth pastor or key leader should read because it helps them to start out right by covering principles that can easily be obscured through short-term demands and the unrealistic expectations of others.