Chris Trent is the author of our newest book, Consider This: A Youth Minister's Guide To Longevity. In Consider This, Chris passes along decades of hard-earned advice and wisdom. Chris is a firm believer in the value of ministry mentors. And in Consider This, he mentors you, the reader.
Consider This is an essential resource for anyone starting out in youth ministry, and a great guide for anyone looking to mentor another youth worker.
I recently asked Chris a few questions about Consider This. I wanted to share his responses with you because I think they paint a great picture of why this book is so unique.
1. Consider This is essentially a book that seeks to mentor youth workers who are young in their youth ministry “career.” Why is the concept of mentoring so important to you?
From the moment I went to my first youth camp until now, serving as a youth minister, I've been a product of mentoring. God has blessed me with so many great people in my life to provide wisdom for me along the way. We all need to seek God’s wisdom in all we do. I believe one of the ways He shows us that wisdom is through others investing in our lives.
2. There are a lot of youth ministry books out there. Why should a youth worker pick up Consider This and give it a read?
Most of us start out in youth ministry with a desire and passion to serve teenagers our entire lives, but longevity in youth ministry can be illusive. I believe that Consider This is a book that is born out of experiences that highlight road blocks that would prevent someone from sticking with youth ministry for a lifetime. The book also has embarrassing stories that will give you something to make fun of me about the next time you see me.
3. OK, so this may be an impossible question, but Consider This is packed with tons of useful information about getting the practical side of youth ministry right. If you had to pick a favorite chapter, what would it be and why?
Honestly, I think the "Living a Life of Simplicity" alone is worth the price of the book. I’ve known so many youth ministers over the years who have to take new churches or new positions due to financial strain. We’re never going to make a killing doing ministry. This may not sound so bad when you’re 25, but when you’re 45 with a family depending on you and college tuition looming, choosing to live a simplistic life early in your ministry will provide much needed content with not making as much as the people you’re serving. Our family calls this the “Drive a Kia instead of a Honda" rule.
4. Consider This is all about helping youth workers lay a foundation of “best practices” in order to stay in youth ministry for the long haul. As we know, longevity in youth ministry is not necessarily the norm. Why do you think longevity is so important for youth workers?
I believe that long term, our churches will greatly benefit from men and woman who have wisdom and experience. There’s no doubt that we need the young guys and gals to help provide the much needed energy that it takes have a thriving youth ministry. But, along with that youthfulness, our teenagers need people who’s faith has stood the test of time and have learned from it. [And who know better than to play "chubby bunny" because people were choking on marshmallows back in the 90’s. :)]
5. You talk about your family a lot in Consider This. In fact, your wife, Wendy, even wrote several sidebars in the book adding to some of your thoughts in key places. How have you been able to be so healthy in blending your family and your ministry?
Wendy is the best! Not only did she write several sidebars, but she proofed every word along the way! From the start of our ministry we wanted to do youth ministry together. That was true when it was just Wendy and I, and that continued even when we had kids. I think part of the secret in the sauce is that I’ve never felt that “I” was called to do youth ministry, but that “we” were called to do youth ministry. Wendy feels that way also. It’s not always easy, but we’ve made the decision that it’s worth the extra work to do this thing that God has called us to together. Oh, the memories we’ve made along the way!