Do you feel overwhelmed with the logistics of starting or keeping a youth ministry going? What about the tricky theological questions that keep you and your fellow youth workers on your toes? It’s a lot for what is usually an “all-volunteer army.” Help is here! Veteran youth pastor Mike McGarry offers a practical, comprehensive tool to jumpstart your youth ministry and help youth workers with biblical answers to the tough questions students ask. In a two-part approach, he tackles both the practical skills and biblical depth needed for effective gospel-centered ministry to today’s youth. He leads readers through theological truths they should be equipped to discuss with students and offers practical skills every youth worker should cultivate.
Lead Them to Jesus offers insight into the religious worldview of Gen Z and illustrates how to connect the gospel to their questions and core desires. Not only are young people ready to discuss hard issues such as suicide, suffering, and navigating difficult relationships, they are looking for authentic leaders who are committed to speaking truth and investing into their lives.
McGarry prepares both youth pastors and ministry volunteers to go deep with students about what they believe and why. He also helps them think through the strategic role of fun and games and shares how to navigate conflict and cliques. Lead Them to Jesus shows youth workers how the gospel shapes every part of how they do youth ministry and will get your whole team on the same biblical and logistical page.
Mike McGarry, DMin, is the youth pastor at South Shore Baptist Church in Hingham, MA and is passionate about translating sound doctrine for the next generation. He is the author of A Biblical Theology of Youth Ministry and Lead Them to Jesus, was a contributor to Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry and is a regular contributor to LeaderTreks and the Rooted Ministry. He loves his wife, kids, pets, good coffee, football, and Marvel comics.
“Lead Them to Jesus is a book that youth pastors of any experience level will pull off the shelf over and over again. McGarry provides dozens of short, helpful answers and frameworks for challenging theological topics. Then he provides wise, clear advice for real-life practical issues that every youth pastor encounters. McGarry has given youth pastors a true gift in this theologically rich, biblically sound handbook.”
Cameron Cole, Founding Chairman of Rooted; coeditor of Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry and The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School; author of Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths That Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy
“Are you ready to aim teenagers and their parents toward Jesus and his church? Do you long for the focus of your ministry to shift away from your activities and toward the supremacy of Jesus? If so, Lead Them to Jesus is one of the resources that will help you to move in this direction. Work through it yourself, then read it with your key volunteers as you seek to develop a healthier student ministry culture in your church.”
Timothy Paul Jones, C. Edwin Gheens Chair of Christian Ministry, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Family Ministry Field Guide; editor of Perspectives on Family Ministry
"The heart of youth ministry in the American and global church is the bi-vocational or volunteer youth worker faithfully serving in the local church. These servants love Jesus and have a heart for teenagers, but, through no fault of their own, often lack the training needed to facilitate a thriving youth ministry. In one concise resource, Mike McGarry has provided a wealth of theological and practical guidance for youth workers, both those with and without formal training. I cannot recommend this resource highly enough, and if I am honest, it's a book I wish I had written myself!”
Andy Blanks, Cofounder and publisher, YM360
“In a day and age where youth workers must navigate a growing volume of cultural confusion, there is an urgent parallel need for youth ministry clarity. This theologically-rich and practically helpful tool from Mike McGarry will serve youth workers not just as a “read-it-once” resource, but as a regular go-to guide which will help them keep their youth ministries sharp and on course as they answer difficult questions from students and adopt best practices for maintaining excellence and integrity as youth workers. I’m grateful to Mike for this most helpful contribution to our youth ministry world.”
Walt Mueller, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
“Lead Them to Jesus provides gospel-centered answers to the most common questions facing anyone in youth ministry. If this book were a power bar, it would have a zillion grams of protein. I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out how Mike McGarry packed that much wisdom into only 200 pages. I’m planning to use this book to train all of our future youth leaders!”
Drew Hill, Pastor; award-winning author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel
"Mike has done a great service to the church with this book. There are many helpful youth ministry books available, but Lead Them to Jesus is more than good—it's essential reading. His overarching sections on biblical truths and practical helps will make this a reference book for youth workers for years to come. I plan to revisit the material consistently."
Dr. John Perritt, Director of Resources, Reformed Youth Ministries; author of Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything; editor for the Track series for students; host of The Local Youth Worker podcast
"For every parent who has struggled to answer your teen's theological questions or give a gospel response to postmodern issues, this book is as much for you as it is for youth workers! A reference book you will want to keep handy!"
Kristen Hatton, Author of The Gospel Centered Life in Exodus, Face Time, and Get Your Story Straight
“Lead Them to Jesus is a great and timely resource. This book will equip leaders with basic biblical truths and walk them through everything from leading students to Christ all the way to discussing a theology of suffering. Often you can find resources that address the theological or the practical, but this resource combines both orthodoxy and orthopraxy, allowing leaders to grow in their walks while preparing them to lead others to do the same.”
Shane Pruitt, National Next Gen Director, North American Mission Board (NAMB); author of 9 Common Lies Christians Believe
“Lead Them to Jesus helps pastors and youth ministers equip and disciple their youth ministry team. Mike combines basic training in biblical doctrine with a gospel-centered philosophy of ministry and a practical mindset. The chapters that help youth workers care for students who doubt or struggle with biblical sexuality are particularly helpful. I can imagine a student ministry team huddling before their weekly gatherings to discuss a chapter each week.”
Jared Kennedy, Author of God Made Me for Worship and The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible; managing editor of Gospel-Centered Family
“For many who work with young people, the constant barrage of questions and doubts from teenagers about Christianity, along with the practical struggles of youth ministry, can be wearisome and discouraging. Mike McGarry has written a thorough, clear, and remarkably helpful handbook to help address those discouragements head on. Lead Them to Jesus is the exact resource every youth worker needs in ministry.”
Shelby Abbott, Author of DoubtLess and Pressure Points; speaker; campus minister
“Mike’s years of experience, pastoral heart, and clarity of thought have been poured into this book. He knows what youth workers need to be reaching and discipling young people today with the gospel of Jesus. I cannot recommend this volume highly enough. Useful, compassionate, clear, and engaging, this is one book I will be passing out to volunteers and students for many years to come.”
Robin Barfield, Associate Minister, Christ Church, Wharton, UK; visiting lecturer, Oak Hill College and Union School of Theology
“Volunteer leaders form the backbone of any healthy student ministry. Unfortunately, many of these leaders feel ill-equipped to engage students with the truths of Scripture and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In his book, Lead Them to Jesus: A Handbook for Youth Workers, Mike McGarry offers youth workers answers to critical questions that students ask and presents helpful, practical skills to help them navigate student ministry.”
Tim McKnight, Director of the Global Center for Youth Ministry; associate professor of youth ministry and missions, Anderson University
“If you ever wanted an introductory handbook to just about everything you’ll need to know in youth ministry, then this is that book! Mike sends roots down into the gospel and then draws out super practical ways of working with young people today. Lead Them to Jesus is the book I wish I was given years ago.”
Tim Gough, Author of Rebooted: Reclaiming Youth Ministry for the Long Haul; director of Llandudno Youth for Christ, Wales
“Lead Them to Jesus is an outstanding resource for youth leaders. Mike McGarry offers short commentaries on forty important issues and tasks in youth ministry, and he doesn’t shy away from hot-button issues! This is a great handbook for providing biblical answers to the challenging questions of teenagers and learning to carry out the essential tasks of youth ministry.”
Mark W. Cannister, Professor of Christian Ministries, Gordon College
“So often a church hires a young person right out of college to lead its youth and then sends that person into the wilderness of ministry on just a wing and a prayer. There is a dearth of helpful, gospel-centered resources available to youth ministers fighting the good fight for today's teenagers. I am so grateful for longtime youth pastor Mike McGarry and his latest book, Lead Them to Jesus. McGarry does not shy away from the hard questions both we and our students ask, and his guidance is both theologically rich and boots-to-ground practical. I pray that this book finds its way into the hands of pastors and volunteers across the world.”
Charlotte Getz, Editor-in-chief, Rooted Ministry
“This is the book I wish I had when I started out in youth ministry. It deals winsomely with some of the most significant theological issues that youth pastors will face when working with teenagers, as well as offering excellent practical advice for running a regular youth ministry. I will be putting this into the hands of my team.”
Peter Wright, Youth Worker, Hill Street Presbyterian Church; tutor with Crosslands
“Lead Them to Jesus puts on full display two of Mike’s core passions: communicating God’s life-changing truth and caring compassionately for teenagers. For youth workers wanting to help teens find answers to the hard questions of faith and life, Mike is a wonderful guide and this book is an amazing map. If you’re a youth worker, you need a copy.”
Christopher Talbot, Instructor of Ministry, Welch College; author of Remodeling Youth Ministry: A Biblical Blueprint for Ministering to Students
“Lead Them to Jesus is truly a handbook for those serving in youth ministry. Most resources for youth ministry workers prize either theology or practical tips over the other, but anyone serving in youth ministry knows that both are required to see growing disciples and engaged students, in addition to helping volunteers to feel supported and equipped to serve well. If you are a minister, volunteer, church leader, teacher, or even parent of a teenager in youth ministry, you need to own this book. It will help guide you and provide theological and practical answers as you disciple your teenagers.”
Rebecca Heck, Codirector of Student Ministry, Intown Community Church, Atlanta, GA
“This is the book that youth ministry has desperately needed! It is a doctrinally rich and practically thorough resource for those caring for young people in the local church. It will be one of the essential go-to books for anyone concerned to nurture the next generation for Jesus.”
Melanie Lacy, Executive Director, Growing Young Disciples
“Lead Them to Jesus is the go-to resource for new youth workers and volunteers. Mike McGarry unites theology and practical skills into one resource to equip the next generation of youth workers. Every team would benefit from reading and discussing this book together.”
Doug Franklin, President, LeaderTreks Youth Ministry
“I have so often wished there were a book equipping laypeople for gospel ministry to teenagers, a resource that would help adults to think biblically, while inspiring their courage to dive into the messy, beautiful work of walking with middle and high school students. Lead Them to Jesus is the book I’ve long hoped for, and I can’t wait to give it to every leader in our ministry. Mike speaks both theologically and practically to the concerns of youth workers, showing how the cross and resurrection of Jesus shapes every last one. By giving significant focus first to the common spiritual questions that come up in ministry to teenagers and then to the essential skills youth workers need, he offers laypeople coaching that will help them navigate unknown waters with both confidence and grace.”
Chelsea Kingston Erickson, Pastor of Youth and Families, First Congregational Church of Hamilton, MA
"In this book, Mike McGarry has given youth ministry a readable, pastoral primer of practical, thoughtful, theological preparation for youth ministry. What a gift this is for youth workers who want to somehow give their volunteers all the practical tips, sage advice, critical warnings, and theological foundations that are necessary for biblical youth ministry! The format is just right for volunteers: short enough to engage, but deep enough to nurture and teach. The content is thorough enough to touch all the critical bases without being so comprehensive that volunteer youth workers would find it intimidating. Thanks for the excellent youth ministry training tool! I highly recommend it!"
Duffy Robbins, Professor of Christian Ministries, Grove City College, Grove City, PA
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