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Learn Before You Leap

December 16, 2012

It is a bit odd to be posting a review on my own book but on the other hand it does give me an oppertunity to explain the ideological foundations upon which it is based. LEARN BEFORE YOU LEAP 101 Case Studies For Youth Pastors (Kevin Turner, Zondervan, 2012, #978-0-310-89029-4) is designed to provide youth workers with actual case study situations from real life ministry in advance of flesh and blood student pain. This allows the growing youth worker the time and opportunity to personally reflect, seek outside advise from mentors, perform research and have a mental script/outline ready for when the time comes to deal with a situation in earnest. In my work as a professor I am becoming increasingly convinced that youth ministry students don’t want answers as much as access to the questions so that they can wrestle and own their personally discoved answers. I have been using case studies in my youth ministry classes for years and this book is now a required text for them as they prepare for a bachelor of Arts in Youth Ministry but the book is not limited to a classroom setting. Over the years of being involved in The National Network of Youth Ministry (NNYM) and having interns I have become convinced of the need for informal resources to promote discussions in these contexts. It is my hope that these 101 case studies will be a tool for that to happen. The book also has an introduction arguing for why case studies are the logical next step in youth ministry education as they have been in many of the social sciences, medicine, law and business. The closing chapter is focused on tips to help youth workers with the ongoing process of writing their own case studies in the future. I am completely biased by I think the concept of case studies in youth ministry training is an idea whose time has come.

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