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By Randy H. Kollars, archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry, Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon
Growing Teen Disciples is a solid, foundational resource and guide for growing a parish's comprehensive youth ministry. A parish will find it valuable whether starting from the beginning with soil that is still in pasture or starting with soil that is already rich and tilled. Frank does a marvelous job of laying the foundation of discipleship, and he never loses sight of having Christ at the heart of all we do. He provides solid and valuable background information and tools for evaluation and growth, and he constantly reminds us to keep prayer at the heart of all that we do. Growing Teen Disciples is a 'must have' resource for parish youth ministry. It is clearly the fruit of a labor of love and passion for God that is manifested in the lifework that Frank has shared with and witnessed to so many of us in the field of youth ministry. Well done, good and faithful servant.
By Robert McCarty, executive director, National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc.
In Growing Teen Disciples, Mercadante provides a comprehensive resource for developing parish youth ministry. Beginning with a detailed process for recruiting adult leaders and creating a strategic plan, Mercadante provides the blueprint, meeting outlines, and all the necessary handouts for creating effective ministry with young people. Mercadante illustrates each chapter with his personal experience and real-life stories. He blends youth ministry theory and methodology with sound theology, and he identifies the very practical skills required to be a minister to, with, and for young people. This is certainly a valuable resource for both the new and experienced coordinator of youth ministry.
By Fr. Dave Pivonka, director, Steubenville Youth Conferences
Frank Mercadante, author of Growing Teen Disciples, understands that creating disciples of Jesus Christ should be at the heart of Catholic youth ministry. Through this well-written and practical guide, Mercadante provides comprehensive steps for youth ministers. This book provides the necessary practical steps in leading teens into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Mercadante's theory and theology are sound. His many tips and practical suggestions come from years of discipling teens. Mercadante has a deep love for the Lord and for teenagers, and this comes through in this extremely helpful book.
By Sean Reynolds, director of youth ministry, Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Growing Teen Disciples is a must-have for every youth minister's bookshelf. If you're looking for a practical guide for planning comprehensive youth ministry, this is it. If you're on the lookout for a tried-and-true approach to youth discipleship that makes sense and really works, look no further. If you seek guidance in rooting your youth ministry in prayer and Spirit, your search is over. In Growing Teen Disciples, Frank Mercadante pulls together under one cover a treasure trove of practical help—from mission statements to small faith communities, from models of large-group evangelization to strategies for intercessory prayer, from outreach efforts to formats for developing peer ministers. Moreover, all of this flows from the principles of Renewing the Vision (USCCB, 1997) and The Challenge of Youth Evangelization (NFCYM, 1993). In my opinion, Growing Teen Disciples is the best thing under one cover on comprehensive youth ministry that is available today.
By Anna Scally, program director, Cornerstone Media
The book is a refreshing look at the reasons we are devoting our lives to youth ministry. We are reminded that the real agenda is the lives of our young people, and that ministry needs to be based on a relationship with Jesus. Through personal stories and humor, Frank gets right to the point, which for a busy minister is a welcome treat.
By Dr. Dan Spader, executive director, Sonlife Ministries
Growing Teen Disciples clearly addresses the issues needed to effectively work with young people. This book is a great resource in reaching and discipling young people for Jesus Christ. But more important than the printed words, Frank's heart for the Lord and for young people comes across.
By Jim Beckman, regional director, National LIFE TEEN Program
Growing Teen Disciples is one of the most comprehensive resources for youth ministry development I have ever read. Starting with the broad theory of youth ministry and moving to the most basic details of implementation, Frank Mercadante does a wonderful job guiding readers through the process of laying a foundation for lasting ministry. Whether you're a beginner or a youth ministry veteran, you can use the tools within to help your ministry grow. Frank's passion for youth ministry, his heart for building relationships with teens, and his practical, user-friendly approach will certainly be a boost to both you and your ministry.
By Fr. Patrick Brennan, founding president, National Council for Catholic Evangelization
Growing Teen Disciples is a wonderfully holistic synthesis of Frank Mercadante's genius in working with young people and the adults who mentor them. Frank combines a deep knowledge of adolescence, faith development, evangelical skills, and tradition in offering effective strategies for full-cycle youth evangelization and ministry. This is a foundational book for anyone concerned about youth, involved in youth work, or concerned about the future of Christianity.
By Steve Angrisano, musician and speaker
Growing Teen Disciples is one of the most vital resources for Catholic youth ministers I have ever seen. It's all here: the hands-on stuff you need to do the work, the theory and theology that goes behind it, and the real life stories to let you know that you're not alone.
What Frank does best is share what the bottom-line, no-nonsense truth is in youth ministry. Everything we do must be based on a relationship with Jesus Christ, and the way we share that relationship is in building meaningful relationships with teenagers. I recommend this book highly, knowing that lives will be changed.
By David Haas, director, The Emmaus Center for Music, Prayer, and Ministry, Eagan, MN
Frank Mercadante has done the Church a great service with this resource. With this wonderful book, he goes deeper than many of the typical youth ministry publications even dare to attempt. Frank encourages youth ministers to do more than come up with strategies and creative ideas. With this book, he challenges us to think theologically and reflectively, to consider that our strategies cannot be seen as short-term fixes. The decisions and programming that parishes implement have long-term consequences and form youth beyond their teen years. With Growing Teen Disciples, Frank is concerned about youth becoming disciples for life. The chapters of this book move beyond the cute and clever—they are thoughtful and helpful, and they help to redefine youth ministry and the competencies needed and so lacking in many youth programs today. Thank God for this book!