Over the past month I have asked experienced Youth Pastors what books they are reading, or have read in the past that have helped shape them in their ministry, and in their leadership. For those of us who have been in Ministry for a number of years, we know just how important it is to take the time to read books that will challenge and stretch our thinking, not only in our ministry area, but also in our character and leadership.
So here is the recommended reading and some thoughts from the Youth Pastors about their suggested books.
Hurt 2.0, by Chap Clark. Perhaps the most insightful ethnographic study I’ve read on youth … not just brilliant data, but evocative images to help you enter the head-space of so many adolescents. While it was American based, most of it rang true for what I’d experienced/seen in the Australian context.
God at the Mall, by Pete Ward It’s an easy/accessible read, but built on really solid theology, an incarnational and missional emphasis, and sensitive to the world of teens especially in the British (relevant to Australian) scene.
Adam’s Return – The 5 promises of Male Initiation, by Richard Rohr, Doing initiation stuff properly has the ability to set the tone of our faith culture like no other event.
Fruit That Will Last, Tim Hawkins. For anyone thinking about how to shape & structure a youth ministry. Written from an Australian perspective it clearly points to discipleship as the key to having a lasting impact in young lives. Very big on discipleship , leadership development and establishing good strategy.
Strategies for Youth Leaders for the 21st Century, by Ross Farley. Scripture Union Australia. 2007.
A suggested structure for Youth Ministry. Farley argues that any balanced Youth Ministry program will contain 3 basic elements – Contact, Evangelism and Discipleship.
Re-imagining Evangelism, by Rick Richardson. Challenged and re-shaped my understanding and approach to engaging youth deeply, and encouraging a different understanding of discipleship. One that is a non-linear journey, but is complex, goes up, then down, has twists & turns, and sometimes seems to be stagnant. Discipleship and faith formation with young people is messy, and thats ok.
Your First Two Years In Youth Ministry, by Doug Fields. It helped shaped my thinking at a time when i was working with several different churches as a youth ministry coach, and needed to be able to do serious self-reflection, and re-shape the youth ministries.
Leaders on Leadership, by George Barna (with contributing authors). Contributions from some well-respected leaders, all with different styles and fields of leadership, but with wisdom, honesty and good reflections of how to identify and develop your own leadership style. Quite practical as well.
Failing Forward, by John C Maxwell. It gave me permission to mess up, to make mistakes, but with the understanding of the importance of being able to self-reflect, learn and ensure there are people around me to lean on, learn from, and keep motivated through. Its unique because it explores to role of ‘failure’ in shaping great leaders. The important lesson of ‘leaders are learners’.
Well these are the first 10 books, but we will have more in the coming months. Let us know if you need any more information. If you have other books that you would recommend please use the comments box at the bottom of this article to let us know.