A couple days ago I posted my review of the Unauthorized Dictionary of Youth Ministry, then got the chance to interview the author, Steve Case. Here’s 5 questions about one of my favorite new books:

JG: Tell us where the idea of the book came from?
Steve Case: Mostly from hanging out with other youth workers, especially at conventions. We chat and trade ideas and then its only a matter of time before you start to hear stories of stress and pain in youth ministry. Everyone has a story.  Once the stories come out then the humor starts to flow and you find yourself laughing through the problems.  I really wanted to be a catalyst for that kind of laughter.

JG: Did you try to get others to publish the title, and why do you think the Youth Cartel enthusiastically said yes?
SC: Mostly because I know Marko and Marko knows me.  The guys at the Youth Cartel understand what I meant when I said, “sometimes the Christian faith is like wearing a T-shirt two sizes too small.”  Plus Marko knows a good fart joke when he hears one.

JG: My only criticism of the book is the overuse of #hashtags. Explain.
SC: Hashtags are how people communicate the age of Twitter.  Comedicly speaking it also puts an extra beat on the end of a joke.  Get a bunch of church workers together and they can play off each other’s humor verbally.  I think the hastags copy that idea of “plussing” the joke.

JG: Give me 2 or 3 of the best ones of the cutting room floor?
SC: Honestly, I was surprised the Cartel guys let me get away with as much as they did.  I was kind of disappointed we had to lose part of the G is for Genie entry.  I made a reference to Barbara Eden’s navel that I thought was very funny but then didn’t go over with the editors.  Also the original title of one of the Graduation Books was “Is That a Cross in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?”

JG: Got a next project on the horizon?
SC: Oh yes.  Hopefully at the end of this year or early next year, the Cartel is publishing Dancing In The Dark which is a dramatic re-tooling of the Stations of the Cross.  Also a book called The Audacious Seven which is a book of Bible Studies about seven saints who lived and worked so outside of the box they didn’t even know the box was there.

JG: Thanks for your time!
SC: No problem. Thanks for the opportunity.

JG

As soon as I saw the title of the book I got excited about what I hoped was on the inside. I was hoping for a tongue-in-cheek humor book to help me laugh and love my calling to youth ministry. Well, Steve Case and the Youth Cartel did not disappoint! The Unauthorized Dictionary of Youth Ministry is one of the funnest books I’ve ever read about youth ministry. The book is good for a quick laugh – I’m not sure it is intended to be read through in one sitting (although I have to admit that’s exactly what I did! I couldn’t stop!). All in all a great book that made me laugh, wince, cry uncontrollably (OK not quite) as I walked through my youth ministry journey.

Well done … time for a YM encyclopedia next?

JG