Building Cathedrals: Urban Youth Discipleship that Works

In Building Cathedrals, Ted shares his blueprint for Transformational Discipleship (as well as accounts of its profound impact on young people) and exhorts today's youth workers to reimagine their ministries and raise up a new generation of visionary urban leaders.


Praise for Building Cathedrals

Ted Travis has written a moving book on urban youth. By examining youth ministry through the lens of Christian community development, he has brought to light what the church can and should be doing to bring hope and new life to youth in our cities.

Years ago, I shared my burden concerning youth with Ted: How do we build incentive in these kids? How do we induce change from within? Building Cathedrals gives a powerful response to that question.

I agree with Ted: It is time to weave what he calls transformational discipleship into the fabric of youth ministry. I encourage pastors, youth leaders and people concerned about the state of our youth in the city to read this book.

Dr. John Perkins: Co-founder, Christian Community Development Association; Author, Let Justice Roll Down


 It is my contention that the missional field of youth culture in the U.S. is an ever-increasing multi-ethnic and metropolitan reality. We can no longer afford to marginalize urban youth ministry, for it is becoming more and more the main stream of youth ministry.

Ted Travis offers deep insight into understanding a model of transformational ministry to at-risk urban youth that can assist in rethinking youth ministry in a broad way into the future. This is a much-needed resource.

Efrem Smith: President and CEO, World Impact; Author, The Post-Black and Post-White Church


 Readers will learn a great deal from Ted Travis’s rich urban ministry experience. His insights about adolescents, community engagement and ministry are a vast ocean of information that challenges us to reexamine our theological and ministerial assumptions about urban youth work. And his gift of storytelling—from programmatic frustrations to personal sharing to leadership strategies—paints a beautiful and very human portrait providing the backdrop from which much of his sage advice flows.

Fernando Arzola Jr., Ph.D.: Dean of Arts and Sciences, Nyack College; Author, Toward a Prophetic Youth Ministry: Theory and Praxis in Urban Context


 Ted Travis has written a book that has been long overdue! He has thought intently, theologically, philosophically and practically about the depths of what it means to empower our youth in the urban community through a transformational discipleship approach to urban youth development. 

If you just started ministry to youth, this is a mandatory read to take you in the right direction with your work with young people; and sadly, if you are a veteran, it might just be the book to bring you back into focus. Trust ya boy! Get this book and study it.

Phil Jackson: Lead Pastor of The House; Co-author, The Hip-Hop Church: Connecting with the Movement Shaping Our Culture  


It is rare to find a relevant guide for developing young leaders that is rooted in the urban context and that is both biblical and practical. In his new book, Building Cathedrals , my good friend and long-time CCDA leader and board member has given us an important resource to help engage in deep discipleship among our youth. Thanks, Ted, for sharing your wisdom with a new generation of youth workers!

Noel Castellanos: President and CEO, Christian Community Development Association; Author, Where the Cross Meets the Street: What Happens to the Neighborhood When God Is at the Center


 It is rare when a book comes along that both summarizes a person’s—and in this case, a couple’s—life and ministry and also paves the way for others to learn from their years of faithful and powerful ministry. I have had the privilege to know Ted Travis for nearly three decades, and he is among the brightest, most committed and creative leaders I have been around. In Building Cathedrals , Ted unpacks in clear and practical language the why and what of long-term effective urban youth ministry. He has lived what he writes, and he brings a ministry longevity and reality to this book that not only lends credibility but also offers hope.

I am so grateful for Ted and Shelly—for their ministry and faithfulness and consistency, and now for the gift of this book, helping the world to learn from the work, sacrifice and genuine love that this family has given to the people of Denver.

Chap Clark, PhD: Professor of Youth, Family, and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary; Author, Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers