Monday, November 24, 2008

Are Youth Ministries Chasing Cool?

Chasing Cool: Standing Out in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace (Atria Books, 2007)

Reviewed by Chris Wagner

The authors of Chasing Cool: Standing Out in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace sought to answer one question, “How do we make this thing cool?” In their journey, Noah Kerner and Gene Pressman interviewed dozens of innovative and creative people from key industries to discover the answer.

Boardrooms across the world are full of people “chasing cool.” However, Kerner and Pressman suggest that if cool is something you have to chase after, then perhaps you’ll never achieve cool at all. Rather, cool comes out of the vision and innovation of individuals with great ideas who stick to their guns.

On the surface, this book would be helpful to youth ministers because it provides case studies and examples of how companies have tried to achieve cool among today’s younger generation, and the marketing efforts they have used in the process. However, being cool seems to be so important to many youth workers that perhaps Chasing Cool’s greatest impact on the world of youth ministry can come if we take the time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we are simply chasing cool for cool’s sake. Do our efforts to be cool and get students to show up to our programs mimic those in the business and marketing world? Are our ministry models intended to be sustainable for the long haul? Are we creating buzz, or are we making lifelong disciples?

Chasing Cool speaks of creating a holistic aesthetic that blends form, function, and atmosphere together to reflect a single vision. Are we presenting a gospel that simply displays the shiny appearance of cool, or are we modeling the life-changing Gospel that will permeate through our students for the rest of their lives in a holistic manner? Though not intended to, this insightful book may help us regain a proper perspective of what God would consider cool.

Related Links:
This review was featured in the Fall 2008 edition of Engage: The Journal of Youth Culture from CPYU available for FREE

More CPYU recommended titles on marketing and advertising

CPYU highly recommends: The Merchants of Cool: A PBS documentary on the creators and marketers of popular culture for teenagers (you can view the entire film online!)

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