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The 9: Best Practices for Youth Ministry by Kurt Johnston

We've never met a youth worker who wanted to be ineffective. Why would anybody enter the turbulent world of youth ministry unless they wanted to make a difference! But where to start, what to do, and how do you know if your efforts really are effective?

In The 9: Best Practices for Youth Ministry, Kurt Johnston and Tim Levert unwrap nine characteristics of effective youth ministry. They specifically tackle this vital question: "What can churches and youth groups do to keep students from walking away from church after high school?"

This book takes an up-close look at some "best practices" discovered in an extensive study led by leaders from seven different denominations. Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 lead pastors, youth pastors, paid and volunteer youth workers, parents, and teenagers who have found success in creating ministry settings that foster long-term Christ-followers, not just youth group attendees-and they found some solid, real-world answers.

So, what are these nine practices? We're glad you asked!
1. Nurture Your Own Soul
2. Build an Awareness of God's Active Presence
3. Encourage Personal Spiritual Growth
4. Foster a Sense of Evangelistic Urgency
5. Increase the Congregation's Appreciation of Students
6. Provide Opportunities for Relationships
7. Develop Confident, Competent, and Committed Adult Leaders
8. Consistently Value Families
9. Create Contextualized Programs and Events

This isn't a textbook-it's a practical guide for anyone who works with teenagers in a local church setting. If you're committed to effective, real-world youth ministry, this book will help you build, lead, and support the cause of helping teenagers own their faith and maintain that faith once they graduate from high school.

Kurt Johnston has been in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. Kurt is also an author of youth resources, the founder of, and a contributing editor for GROUP magazine.

Tim Levert has been working with students since 1992. He earned a PhD in youth ministry and pastored a missional church in the Baltimore- Washington corridor. Tim is currently the youth pastor at Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church in metro Columbus, OH.