I started the review of the book by looking at the overall first-glance and content of the book
I started the review of the book by looking at the overall first-glance and content of the book. If I were to pick up this book at random to find out what the book was about would I want to read it? In my opinion, Lutz did a poor job in the “first-glance” test. For example, the dark brown cover is a poor choice. Although the reviews and content were great, the brown background, small font size, and the font color make it difficult for the reader to glance at the contents in the book quickly. My suggestion would be to change the background to a lighter color, enlarge the font size and change the color to a black font. The overall book cover is not appealing in my opinion.
The Book’s Content
Stephen Lutz is a proven author, speaker, pastor, and coach who bridge the gap between church ministries and the Christian college student. Lutz did a suitable job when he starts the book by telling the audience why he chose to work in the field of college ministry. By doing so, he showed me what makes him the authority on the subject matter. His theses statement, “College students are harder to reach than ever, and many leave the church upon reaching college, never to return,” made me want to venture further into the book. He also did a good job defining the purpose of the book as well. I think the book is an easy read because the chapters are short so that the reader is excited to dig even deeper into the content of the book.
The organization of the College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture allows the reader to follow the flow of the book. For example, Lutz breaks down the book in three parts as noted in the summary using the “tree” as a metaphor. Lutz also had an unusual task of breaking down each part of the book so that the reader could grasp, but he accomplished this when he grouped each chapter into subsections. For example, the first part (the roots) is broken down into elements that describe the foundation of ministry. He displays his ability to connect the reader and draw them into visioning the roots of a healthy tree and how strong and powerful its roots are. Then he skillfully moves the reader into the next part of the book (the trunk) which I thought transitioned well. As the tree needs a strong root system, it must also be given nutrients that will help the tree to thrive. Lutz takes the reader into the meat of the book by talking about evangelism, being disciples in the community, and how to reach people for Christ through our relationships. Not only did the author draw me into the heart of the message, but he also made me question my motives to make sure I have embraced Christ’s method and not my own. I think that Lutz’s ability to make the reader take inventory is one of the strengths of the book. The scriptures said in Proverbs 21: 2 that “every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart” (ESV). Therefore, Lutz’s book does a phenomenal job at making the reader take a more in-depth look within oneself.
In chapter seven, Going outside the Camp, Lutz describes what he calls the “m2, m3, and m4 groups.” From Lutz’s account, these groups of college students can be difficult to reach. He asks the right question when he said “how do we speak to a group that isn’t listening?” He did not leave the reader hanging and looking for the answer. Lutz said:
Rather than speaking our foreign language over and over, we have to speak in a language they understand. This is where our nonverbal witness and example become very important. When we join God in his redemptive purpose, we do things for the good of our school, our community, and our world.
I liked that Lutz gave solid examples in his personal life as well as experiences from working on the school campus to illustrate his points. He also backs up his argument with solid research from other authors such as Jeffrey Arnold’s book Small Group Outreach when he talked about problems with small groups. In Lutz’s research, he quoted Arnold when he said that “the cultural impact of small groups has been relatively weak.” However, although his argument makes sense and it does persuade me, I think Lutz should use a few more research examples to support his argument in this area.