I was excited when “Uncommon Wisdom from the Other Side,” by my friend Tony Myles, was released. I appreciate the voice he adds to the youth ministry conversation, especially the perspective he now brings from a senior pastor point of view.
Tony’s book is a great read for all youth workers – newbies and veterans alike. From deep questions to practical advice, Tony definitely makes you process what you’re reading as you’re reading. An example of this is after each chapter, in the ‘Before Moving On‘ section, it’s as if he expects the reader to implement what they’ve just read in regards to themselves, their ministry, and their personal life and character, without serious question.
As a veteran youth worker myself, I ended up highlighting a lot of things Tony wrote, writing in the margins, “Ouch,” “Yes,” “Great questions,” “Honest insight,” and “Need to implement this!” You certainly can teach an old dog, like myself, new tricks; likewise, there are definitely time tested truths that need to be repeated again and again (and again). Tony’s advice is solid and practical. Here are some gems:
- “… but I took the job – not because I had a mortgage, but because following Jesus means following Jesus … ‘deny yourself, carry your cross, and serve the Lord.’ Pause. Breathe. Serve.”
- “Do you recognize the person staring back at you?”
- “Sorting out the difference between what you want and what you really want is a savage journey.”
- “Prayer is supposed to come first, but it seldom does … A youth worker’s personal prayer life is an overlooked casualty of ministry, especially since you’re the one who’s supposed to pray at meetings, events, and meals as the ‘example’ for everyone else.”
- “Jesus care more about you than what you do for him.”
- “All of this is rooted in our temptation to become more attached to our cause than to Christ.”
- “You lead in proportion to your faith. You control in proportion to your fear.”
- “Sharing Jesus is more than sharing Jesus.”
- “Theology that can fit on a bumper sticker just causes more accidents.”
I’ve also ear-marked a few pages (26, 37, 43, 59, 79, 101, 133) for future returns.
The only thing I wished Tony would have expounded on more was advice on the youth pastor & senior pastor relationship. He talks about this some in a later chapter, but I was definitely wanting more – from both the perspective of a youth worker and a senior pastor. I’m someone who is taking the jump to become a senior pastor, much like Tony, so I was looking for advice on bridging the gap between the youth and senior pastor roles. Therefore, I’ll be taking Tony up on the offer to contact him personally, and have these conversations. (By the way, you can contact him personally, too!)
Tony is a pastor in heart, mind, and soul. Learn from him. You won’t be misdirected, because he’s a pastor on the same road as you.