Dewey Bertolini, the author of Back to the Heart of Youth Work, established the youth ministry major at the Master's College, and he trains Christian youth pastors and travels the country giving lectures about the youth ministry. He is also Product Developer for the youth curriculum at Scripture Press, and has authored other books, including Escaping the Subtle Sellout and Secret Wounds and Silent Cries. His primary interest and concern is in helping young people whom, he says, "are a primary target of Satan" (14). His purpose in writing Back to the Heart of Youth was to provide a guide for others involved in Christian youth ministry, whether as pastors or volunteer workers.
He acknowledges that working with young people is a difficult calling when a high percentage of American teenagers come from broken homes and have first-hand experience with drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, suicide, and AIDS. In addition, Bertolini has found in his own experience that teenagers are bored and feel as though they have no purpose in life. Anyone entering the youth ministry must be ready to combat these obstacles on a daily basis, and he says that his book "is offered in the hope of rekindling a flickering flame into a blazing inferno within the heart of every youth worker who peruses these pages" (15).
The book is organized into thirteen chapters which focus on each of the ingredients a Christian youth minister or volunteer must have in order to do his or her work successfully. There are chapters on maintaining an active, personal relationship with God, developing and honing teaching and communication skills, activity planning, understanding teenagers as a group, cultural differences, and individual chapters on working with parents, volunteers, and senior pastors. He also provides a number of appendices which include sample teaching schedules, volunteer staff applications, and an activity-planning checklist.
In the chapter...