Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Top Youth Ministry Books

In my not-so-extensive experience in youth ministry, I've read quite a few solid books that have both shaped my philosophy and given me tools and wisdom for youth ministry. Here are a few that have impacted me the most:

Impact (ed. Steve Patty) Steve Patty was the head of the youth and educational ministries departments during my time at Multnomah. His book is a compilation of many current and former youth workers and professors who have amazing insights. The theme running throughout the book is that youth ministry is about making disciples of Jesus. This book has an amazing balance between depth and accessibility.

Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry (Doug Fields) I was given this book as graduation gift from my youth pastor, Tim Vincent, before I left for college. As a young youth worker with limited experience, this book was extremely helpful in getting started right. I frequently go back to this as a resource for certain subjects, particularly leading a ministry team and implementing healthy change in a ministry.

Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church (Kenda Creasy Dean) This is one of the most academic and theologically-driven books on youth ministry I've ever read. It can be a difficult read with so much depth and academic language (think lots of footnotes and an immense bibliography), but it is extremely worth reading. The ongoing theme is making passionate disciples of Christ who are active participants in their church body.

The Youth Builder (Jim Burns and Mike DeVries) This is most accessible and expansive book on youth ministry I've read. This book covers almost every topic imaginable on youth ministry. The book's theme focuses around relational youth ministry, i.e. building healthy relationships with students to build them up in Christ.

Shaping the Spiritual Life of Students (Richard Dunn) The concept of discipleship as an ongoing process runs throughout this solid book about discipleship. I love the idea of "pacing relationships" with students. Adult leaders come alongside students in their faith journey and pace themselves with them, similar to a trail guide coming alongside an inexperienced hiker.

Youth Ministry Management Tools (Ginny Olson, Diane Elliot, and Mike Work) I am not a detail person. When it comes to the vision and philosophy behind a ministry, I get excited. When it comes to figuring out how much a retreat is going to cost, who I'm supposed to call to rent vans, and coming up with a detailed schedule for the weekend, I'm less-than-enthused. This book helps unpack more of the details behind youth ministry than I could ever think up on my own.

Practicing Discernment with Youth (David White) This timely book is extremely useful for current youth ministry. With so much information available and so many messages being sent to students, they need some tools in order to build a Godly worldview and develop good filters.

Hurt (Chap Clark) Clark's research on mid-adolescence is very insightful. After serving as a substitute high school teacher and interviewing hundreds of high schoolers, his findings on the societal abandonment of youth and the ensuing consequences are pretty astounding. I had the opportunity to listen to Clark speak on his findings, which led to some very insightful conversations with my youth staff.

Christian Religious Education (Thomas Groome) This is hands down the best book I have read on the subject of education and ministry. There are so many important concepts Groome tackles in this book: developmental stages (think Erikson, Piaget, and Fowler), praxis, the concept of story as an educational model, the Kingdom of God, and (one of my favorites) the concept of a dialectic. Not very well known, but stellar read.

What other youth ministry books should I be reading? Any recommendations?

1 comment:

  1. These sound like great books for helping our youth. Glad I bumped into this blog today. I write for teens, but it's usually fiction geared toward helping them in the same way Bibleparables help us all.

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