Theologically and anecdotally, we can uncover plenty of encouraging signs in the realm of youth ministry, according to Oestreicher, whose youth ministry experience includes time as an in-the-trenches youth worker and as a publisher of youth ministry books and resources. A Beautiful Mess features insights on the issues and opportunities facing youth workers, including the trend toward longevity in ministry, the power of smaller churches, the work of the Holy Spirit, the rewards of authentic relational ministry, the need for integration instead of isolation, and the centrality of faith and humility.
• Assess the reason you want to write—We think the only legitimate reason to write in the ministry world is to “give from your good treasure.”
• Everyone has “good treasure.”
• Corrollary: If you have something to give to other youth pastors, but you don’t, you’re a hoarder.
2. Never forget that writing is hard work. No writer worth his or her salt thinks writing comes “naturally.” Writers are both craftsmen and artists. They put more stock in determination than in flair. There’s nothing especially romantic about writing…to a good writer.
The key is this: Write to express, not to impress. When you use big, showy words to try to capture respect from your readers, you simply telegraph that you’re stuffy and full of yourself.
• Corrollary #1—Get to the point right away. Most people aren’t patient enough to wait around for your message.
• Corrollary #2—Use concrete words and descriptions instead of abstract terms. Don’t write, “Our new outreach event was a spectacular success.” Write instead, “Our new outreach event attracted 15 unchurched kids to our regular meeting.”
• Corrollary #3—Great writing gets out of the way of great ideas. That means your writing serves the ideas you’re offering, not the other way around.