You’re Next is the title of the book that Focus on the Family, Tyndale and I finally agreed on! We had brainstormed book titles like Call me Crazy (but it’s already Anne Heche’s autobiography title and I didn’t want to be confused with Hollywood’s second most famous lesbian), Heaven, Hell and Butterscotch Candy (not in a million years) and Confessions of a Spaz (but “spaz” seemed dated and confused… yet suprisingly accurate.)
I guess I like the entire title complete with subtitle even better. It’s You’re Next…Outrageous stories of my early years that will change the way you think about life, God and everything in between! I like it because “you’re next” focuses more on the reader than on me. You see, although this book tells true life (crazy, dangeous, funny) stories of my life as a child and a teenager, the focus truly is to get the reader to know, live and share the message of Christianity.
This book is systematic theology (the organized study of God) in story form (the unorganized and reckless early years of the “Spaz”). Why did I write a theology book in autobiographical form? I wanted to write a theology book that the average teen would want to read.
My deep longing is beyond mere evangelism training. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Down deep in my heart I want teens to know God, his Word, the basics of their faith and live it all with passion and compassion. The overflow of this thrist for God is wanting to tell everyone else about him (AKA evangelism!)
You’re Next! doesn’t come out until next summer. In the meantime I have two books coming out in a month or so. The first one, Dare 2 Share…A Field Guide To Sharing Your Faith is a practical, how to book of sharing Jesus with anyone. It teaches you how to open the conversation, identify your style of evangelism, defend your faith, explain the gospel, communicate in love, etc. It’s pretty much everything I’ve learned about sharing my faith over the last thirty years of actually doing it. A handy aspect of this book is that I have listed out fourteen different belief systems in the back and how to share with them. You’ll learn how to bring the gospel up with Marty the Mormon, Jenna the Jew, Mo the Muslim, etc. And you will be able to log on to www.dare2share.org and learn even more about reaching out to each of these kinds of people. You’ll be able to join a message board dialogue and learn even more about how to witness to anyone, anytime, anywhere!
Another book that’s coming out in the next month or so is Ministry Mutiny…A Youth Leader Fable. This book could get me into hot water with those churches who are either spiritually legalistic or theologically liberal. But if you mistake rules for being godly or don’t take Scripture seriously and literally then, in the words of Sigourney Weaver in the movie Aliens, “I’m happy to disappoint you.”
Ministry Mutiny is a story of a youth leader named Ty who is about to quit because he has “become the babysitter that he has loathed.” That’s when he meets Tony, a 26 year youth ministry veteran, who teaches him how to commit “ministry mutiny” over the course of six days. The six principles that Tony teaches are the principles that offer, not just a rebellion against “the system” of youth ministry, but a practical pathway to rebuilding it. My goal is that, as a result of reading Ministry Mutiny, youth leaders will rebel, rebuild and revive.
I can’t wait for these books to come out and kick up the dust a bit.
Why? Because it’s time for a revolution in youth ministry. It’s time for a transformation of the way its being done. That won’t happen without healthy debate and dialogue that leads to systemic change on the grass roots level. Not that I think these books will be THE catalyst for all this transformation. But my prayer is that God uses them as a small part of what he is doing to transform youth ministry in America and across the world!