Book Summary of Timeless Youth Ministry

Christian Ministration to the youths undergoes consistent changes due to the ever-changing demands brought about by peer differences, fashions, technological gaps, and social practices that evolve and change the youth’s view of the society and religion. Since people grow and develop in different periods of scientific, cultural and religious developments, ministering to the various ages becomes a subtle duty that must be entered upon with care and requisite education. The relationship between the youths and the elderly is associated with misunderstandings due to the age disparities and the adults have often seen the youths’ as being intemperate while the youths view the adult ministers as overbearing. Timeless Youth Ministry offers approaches and incentives that can prove highly beneficial to ministers trying to reach and involve the youths through Christian ministry. Vukich and Vandegriff have gone through an enlightening experience while handling youths from various cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the book is written from an experience perspective, which makes it more applicable in real-life situations.

The book’s title bears the burden of the message contained in the book. The timelessness is brought to view since the content covers the fundamental principles helpful to minister countering the challenges in youth ministrations. The first seven chapters lay the foundation of the entire book. The authors have taken a painstaking effort to introduce the ever-changing nature of the youths and who the youths are including their complicated disturbing developmental stages. To understand how the youths change in relation to culture and trends and how they develop physically, mentally, spiritually and socially provides a basis for understanding how to respond to their needs and this is the main aim of the authors.


Foundational chapters: Understanding the Youth in the First Seven Chapters

The first chapter addresses contemporary youth culture (Vandegriff, 2008). Understanding and appreciating the contemporary culture of the youths being ministered will make them feel involved and welcomed into the service and avoid cases of rejection or undesired reactions, which may greatly hinder the goal of ministration. The contemporary culture is significant as it shapes the controversy and debate among supporters and those opposing any likelihood of successful youth ministration (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). This chapter majorly highlights the understanding of how the youths influence culture or how culture influences the youths and why the youths do what they do. This understanding is considered as the backbone of staging a successful ministry to the youths. They stated, “Adolescents have a tendency to be different” (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). Therefore, the factor necessitates the development of a different approach for reaching the adolescents.

The second chapter addresses what the future holds for the youth after tackling the contemporary culture. The authors appreciate the changing trends often observed among the youths. They underscore that the trend today may be “archaic tomorrow.” An analogy of weather forecasting has been used to present the parallels between forecasting the youth trends tomorrow with weather forecasting to emphasize the uncertainty of such a process as well as the benefits to be obtained in case such a forecast works (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). This analogy implies that for ministers involved with youth ministries they should be innovative in order to ensure that they are moving with the youths in meeting their spiritual needs.

Vukich and Vandegriff (2008) discussed the subject of meeting the varied youth needs by providing various products in the third chapter. Herein, they discuss the various models used in meeting the youth’s needs in various churches. In fact, with the existence of numerous churches and denominations, the churches have more than one approach, which they employ to minister to the youths. An understanding of the correct model is emphasized in this chapter (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008).

The fourth chapter is devoted to discussing who a teenager is, categories of teenagers. The authors note in the opening paragraphs that the adolescents have been tagged names from being called “miracles” to “disease,” they particularly identify that the period of adolescence is a period of “of turbulence, charged with conflict and mood swings” (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). The authors advance the ideology of teenagers as being three persons wrapped in one. Understanding teenagers and their challenges become an important area to be understood by youth ministers. The fifth chapter underscores the developmental stages of a teenager and proposes that teenagers grown in several contemporary aspects which include their “physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual” faculties (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008).

The authors mentioned Erik Erikson a personality theorist who proposed a model that emphasizes the necessity of youth development into a coherent unit to avoid the risk of fragmentation and personality confusions (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). The youth developmental stages are divided into the early, middle, and late periods through which youths develop their physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual personalities (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). The sixth chapter addresses the identity crisis subject as the climax and the beginning of youthful development. In identity crisis, the youths are faced with the duty of answering the question “who am I?” Moreover, the youths tend to seek concrete answers that are satisfactorily rather than the traditional answers and predetermined duties and this stage occurs at the puberty phase of development where the youths observe unusual developments (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). In this stage, the young teenager becomes more conscious and begins to question the authority and purpose of their parents. The girls become more critical of their mothers and the boys their fathers. In this chapter, the authors define puberty as the door to manhood or womanhood characterized by the growth of hair and adolescence as growth into maturity.

 Understanding the puberty stage is important to a minister since is the dividing line and the most crucial stage in youth development. In this stage, the adolescent gains self-sufficiency becomes sexually reproductive, self-awareness, form peer groups and become physically mature (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). The authors rely on Spranger’s theory of development at the adolescent stage to explain the cause of identity crisis. A discovery of the internal ego is presented as the main cause of identity crisis which results in questing of previously believed cultural opinions, experimentation of new ideas and attachment with a class of peers who share same positions (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). The chapter addresses the significance of establishing a personal identity. This helps the youth to develop principles to control the two people having internal conflicts to pursue a meaningful vocational path towards being responsible, and the eternal consequences associated by a failure to find self-identity manifested in undesirable lives among some elders (Vukich & Vandegriff, 2008). Chapter seven of the book deals with the formation of self-identity, which is very important in dealing with self-esteem among the youths.

Subsequent Chapters: Practical Experience

The subsequent chapters deal with the actual youth ministry. They chronologically address the purpose of having youth ministries, the involvement of the youth in the ministry as pastors, the Sunday schools, and the philosophies of how the youths can be effectively taught and the methodologies of teaching. Also connected with these subjects are significant themes like music, worship, and youth counseling. As seen, these chapters are more practical in nature as opposed to chapter one to six which covers the basic understanding of who a youth is and their dilemmas.

Personal Response

A comprehensive reading and consideration of the subjects presented by Vukich and Vandegriff (2008) equip one with relevant insights on organizing and conducting an effective youth ministry. The lessons from the book are relevant to people of all age: the youths in their varied experiences and tendencies, the elderly and ministers. The subjects are so deep that they can be applied in other fields like general education. For the elderly, who want to minister to the youths and the youths who are engaged in ministries trying to win fellow youths, these book is a perfect guide to the long path. The book unites the efforts of both the youths and elderly and goes on to minimize the marginal gap that exists between the elderly ministers and the youths in Christian ministries. From this masterpiece, the authors successfully convince the elderly and the youths alike that the strange behaviors witnessed among the youths is a developmental stage. Moreover, the normal process can be managed by embracing the youths and nurturing them through involvement, helping them to establish individual identity, educating the youths through proper channels and methodology and counseling them accordingly.

The Book and Its Objective

The authors met their objective of offering insightful thoughts on youth ministry. The subjects addressed are holistic in nature meeting both the needs for physical, mental, and spiritual understandings. They have shed quality light from their experiences in handling youths and the skills that have helped them handle their audiences successfully in delivering the never-changing gospel of love in the midst of an ever-changing culture and technology.


Timeless Youth Ministry by Vukich & Vandegriff is an important handbook for ministers in the present age swept by changes in fashions, cultures, and technology, which affects the youths greatly. An in-depth understanding of the youths today and tomorrow is an important subject that should grasp the attention of the ministers who desire to reach their audience using effective strategies. The book meets most of the needs if not all that is required to understand the youth as complicated and simple personalities. It carefully and methodologically addresses the youth question by addressing the youth personality, development stages, education of the youth both spiritual and other faculties, the involvement of the youth in Christian ministry, and participation in music which is an important marker for changing trends. It goes further to suggest philosophies that can be applied in youth education and finally the counseling of the youth. The book offers plenty of arguments that serves to clear the prejudice developed by the elderly ministers who are largely restrained in dealing with the youths fearing the rugged unpolished behavior manifested among the youths. Overall, Vukich and Vandegriff presented the roadmap towards achieving an effective youth evangelization and ministration through the eyes of experienced ministerial personnel.


Vukich, L., & Vandegriff, S. (2008). Timeless Youth Ministry: A handbook for successfully reaching today’s youth. Moody Publishers.

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