For the Truth.
For the Church.
For the World.
For the Glory of God.

Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible

“It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out.” That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity: an impatience with the Word of God.…

Bring the Bible Home to Your Heart

We all want to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Who wants to feel the failure or share in the shame of being pegged like one “who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror . . . and goes away and at once forgets what he was like”…

Should I Tell My Spouse about Struggles with Sexual Purity?

“Should I tell my wife?” Daniel leaned back with no interest in the meal before him. He’d looked at racy pictures again and the weight of conviction was inescapable. He had confessed his sin to God and to me, but should he confess it to her? What would you tell Daniel? SEVEN PRINCIPLES Because every…

What Works for us (and might work for you) in Family Worship

Are you a parent? Then you need to know that your kids are going to learn primarily what you teach them. You might sometimes wish that you could delegate the spiritual training of your kids, but you are the one who is responsible to teach, train, and disciple your kids. This is not something to…

Two Questions that May Greatly Improve Your Church’s Ministry

I’m no management consultant, leadership expert, or church growth guru. But if you love your church and want to see it as effective as possible–for the sake of evangelism, education, exaltation, and whatever other E’s you may have in your mission statement–try asking these two questions. One is from the pastor for his leaders, and…

Personal Organization for the Sake of Fruitful Ministry

Some people may think it weird or merely the sign of an obsessive personality, but I get butterflies when I walk into an Office Depot.  Even the thought of notebooks, filing cabinets, planners, and binders gets me excited.  Oh for more sticky notes and file-folders with reinforced tabs!  And, for those who think I am…

Book Reviews

Before you Hire a Youth Pastor: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Right Fit. By Mark DeVries and Jeff Dunn-Ranking. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2011. 124 pp. $7.99. The search for a youth pastor can be a tedious one. While many churches have a plan in place for replacing their departing youth pastor, often times,…

JDFM Forum: An Interview with Mark DeVries About Family-Based Youth Ministry, Twenty Years Later.

 Why did you write Family-Based Youth Ministry? Tell us about the process by which this book came into existence. So many youth workers, including myself, were heartbroken over the disconnect between kids who participated in youth group and those who continued to live out their faith for a lifetime. It set me on a search…

Appreciative Reflections on the Impact of “Family- Based Youth Ministry”

I first read Family-Based Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries when I was just a couple of years into ministry.  As a 20-year-old student pastor, that book shaped my thinking in crucial ways.  In those early days, I was well-intentioned, but I had in my immaturity developed a subtle bias against parents.  I saw the problems…

Perspectives on Christ- Centered Family Disipleship

In this article I will argue that Jesus has given believers a “key” that promises to help them glorify God in their families. It is a priority that is plainly spoken, but one that is easily missed when well-meaning Christians sinfully put their family above God. Though this “key” may at first seem to be…

Perceptions of Spiritual Formation Among Nontraditional Seminary Students

Higher education, while never a completely stagnate field, is experiencing what has been called a ‘flurry’ of changes in recent years, driven mainly by technology.[1] The technology of inexpensive computers, high speed internet, and high quality multimedia educational delivery systems have allowed for increased flexibility in higher education so that students can easily take courses…

The Function of Short Term Mission Experiences in Christian Formation

  Expectations are always high when it comes to short-term mission experiences. After all, the sometimes multi-year process of identifying where to go, who will go, and how they will get there usually comes to an exhausting, but successful conclusion, complete with video clips and jet-lagged participants. The reentry from the trip commonly brings with…

Adolescent Moral Development in Christian Perspective

A series of recent and ongoing research studies are exploring the nature and extent of intellectual and ethical maturation among pre-ministry evangelical undergraduates at varying institutional types. This line of research represents the most in-depth analysis ever conducted among this population with regard to epistemological development—i.e., students’ maturity in their ways of thinking, reasoning, and…

An Encouragement to Use Catechisms

Many contemporaries have a deep-seated suspicion of catechisms. In our own Baptist denomination, many would consider the words “Baptist catechism” as mutually exclusive. A popular misconception is that catechisms are used in times and places where inadequate views of conversion predominate or the fires of evangelism have long since turned to white ash. If the…

Editorial: Family-Based Youth Ministry was the first family ministry book I ever read.

My first response was to reject family ministry as an utterly ridiculous and impractical idea in my context. It took two years for the struggles of ministry and the work of the Spirit to change my mind. “I Don’t See Any Way That This Could Work Here” In 2002, I was called to oversee children’s…