Book Review: Equip: Leadership, Lead Teams, and Longevity in Youth Ministry, Dr. Charles W. Boyd

This review was originally published in volume 4 of the D6 Family Ministry Journal.

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Boyd, Charles W. Equip: Leadership, Lead Teams, and Longevity in Youth Ministry. Maitlin, FL: Xulon Press Elite, 2017. 237 pages. $16.49. Paper.

Reviewed by Drew Ham, Associate Vice President of Student Life and Assistant Dean of Students to Men at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

In a cultural climate that is quick to move on to the next best thing as swiftly as possible, Dr. Charles Boyd’s Equip is a refreshing reminder that organizations need to stop and take time to evaluate their purposes and processes. Specifically, local churches and student ministries should develop what Boyd calls “Lead Teams” to build a model of ministry that will help empower students and other ministry leaders to fulfill the stated purposes of the ministry.

The book is comprised of nine chapters and four appendices, totaling 237 pages. To be clear, this is not an academic or scholarly work, but written for the typical student minister. Boyd begins with a short history and commentary of youth ministry, and how it came to be a key focus within Southern Baptist churches. Boyd examines some of the common weaknesses of youth ministries, arguing that many student ministries are simply entertaining teenagers, when their primary responsibility should be to equip students in ministry.

The remaining chapter titles deal with a leader and his vision, influence, teams, involvement with families, and longevity. However, the chapters are typically composed of various lists that Boyd has created under the general heading of the chapter title. For example, Chapter Four, “Leadership and Influence,” has no less than eight lists—and sometimes a list within a list—with no summary or conclusion to end the chapter. This pattern is indicative of the book as a whole.

The strength of this book is Boyd’s wisdom, gained through his thirty-plus years of experience in student ministry. This is a helpful guide for young ministers who are seeking advice about how to lead a youth ministry. Boyd’s perspective on Lead Teams is useful, and this emphasis seems to be the primary aim of his book. The weakness of this book is the lack of organization and structure. There is no clear thesis, leaving the reader often confused about the author’s direction and rationale for discussion. Additionally, the order of the chapters is not coherent. The numerous lists in the book are excessive and not connected to one another in a cogent way.

In conclusion, while Boyd’s voice of wisdom is helpful for young leaders, this book needs to be re-edited before it is republished. The content is valuable but not in its current format. It could either be dissected and expanded into multiple articles (for example, each list could be an article or blog post), or, it could be re-written and republished as a handbook for young student ministers. This would allow it to be a beneficial tool for the next generation of leaders.

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