YouthWorker Journal about Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth by Paul Martin (The Youth Cartel):
Every once in a while a book comes along that says the things you've unconsciously been thinking but afraid to consciously consider. Paul Martin has created such a "Masterpiece" that is nothing short of penetrating wisdom on alternatives to traditional discipleship. Your church may not like this book, especially if it's asking you to gauge your success in ministry through tangible benchmarks. While fruit should be evaluated, Martin paints a revitalizing picture of what it practically means for you to be faithful in ministry, yet let the true results be beyond your skills and abilities.
The problem is if you buy into this it will cause you to kick at the tires of your job security, abandon some favorite ministry tricks and potentially revamp the front page of your youth group web pages to show what's really going on in the lives of teenagers. Ironically, this is all scandalously refreshing: Jesus informs my presence; my presence informs my relationships; my relationships inform my process, and my process informs my programs... which aren't always as necessary as I think they are. What if we left behind the era of manipulating students to pray a salvation prayer or ask WWJD and instead redeemed our calling to help them discover their created identity in Christ?
Sign me up.
As Martin accurately argues his own counter-point, we can't abandon the concept of external results since students need to see the fruit of change in their own lives. The difference is instead of aiming for it with a cookie-cutter they have to stand in, we embrace the hard and difficult task of loving them along the journey. Perhaps as we do we'll rediscover the kind of conversation, change and freedom that discipleship not only messily births but absolutely requires.