A Manifesto of Integration
Foreword by Dr. Kara Powell
This book is a refreshing invitation to re-imagine both the depth and praxis of youth ministry and the Church. It’s filled with many compelling reasons and inspiring stories of why one church chose to live differently for the sake of young people. Truly admirable and worth reading.
-Charles Lee, CEO of Ideation & Author of Good Idea. Now What?
This is not a book about youth ministry. Well, it’s not entirely about youth ministry. This is a book about the church and her relationship with teenagers. And it’s a book about leadership. These pages offer an invitation for anyone who loves teenagers. This is a story, a calling, a vision for the church to be more whole, more cohesive, and longer lasting than the six or seven years that make up most youth ministries. In part, this book is a case study about one church who became captivated by a bigger vision for their teenagers and decided things needed to be different. Quite different. And it’s a stake in the ground that things must be different in our churches and cities for the sake of this generation and the ones to come.
Birthed in the cauldron of frustration and possibility, youth worker and author April Diaz took a big risk when a staff position opened in youth ministry at her church. She led her church by asking some tough questions:
- What if we changed this position from a Youth Pastor to Student Integration Pastor?
- And what if this was more than a job title, but a change in the way our church views its relationship with teenagers?
- What if we don’t just hire a youth ministry Pied Piper to isolate our teenagers, but hire a youth ministry champion who won’t let the congregation forget about her responsibility for the spiritual formation of the teenagers in our midst?
Equal parts intervention, idealism, memoir and guide, this tiny book packs a punch you’ll be thinking about and wrestling with well beyond the final page.
April has pastored in the local church for over 15 years, predominantly at Willow Creek Community Church and Newsong Church (Irvine, CA). She’s on Fuller Youth Institute’s advisory council. She speaks and writes frequently on youth ministry, soul care, leadership, and team building. Secretly, she’s a total girly girl, reads more than she can put into practice, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent the most beautiful Ethiopians, Judah and Addise, and bio son, Asher.