I really liked Toby Rowe’s new book The Volunteer’s Back Pocket Guide to Youth Mission Trips ($4.99, Group Publishing). It is a simple guide to helping volunteers begin to understand what they’re about to get into when they said yes to going on the trip. Toby is a veteran youth worker with tons of experience through Group Workcamps and Group’s Week of Hope. He brings that wisdom and experience to the table and helps volunteers to understand what it means to be a good leader, how to have great conversations with students and where to look for God-moments along the trip. He also shows them how to be supportive of the leadership on the trip and how to bring back the stories of what you experienced to the church body and supportive families. All in all, a surprisingly strong resource in a little package.

My only complaint … is that there’s no way the book will fit into your back pocket! Not even close! I’m sure the function won here (better to write in notes or reflection) and it works better as an idea to keep these principles in your back pocket – but what a missed opportunity! Hahahah … still a great book. Pick one up and check it out, if you like it, maybe grab one for each of the leaders on your next mission trip.


I just read my friend Neely’s first book – 99 Things Every Girl Should Know.

It’s $5.99 from Group Publishing and would make a perfect gift for the girls in your youth ministry. Neely isn’t afraid to give practical advice about identity, boys, relationships, culture and faith. I’m proud of her, and excited to finally get a chance to read her work. Neely is a champion for identity in Christ for young woman, and I think that message comes across strong in the short read. If you’re looking for a nice book to be able to hand female students who are struggling with their identity/girl issues or just want to give them some encouragement in the journey of becoming a Godly woman, this book would be a great choice.


Book Review: Rework

 —  March 15, 2011 — 1 Comment

Was able to read Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson over the last couple weeks. The book isn’t really that long, but my time for reading has been short the past month. Rework is a call for us to work differently – what you think you know about getting things done isn’t the right way at all. It is an invitation, permission even, to break all of the rules. Don’t have meetings. Don’t pull an all-nighter. Plans are at best guessing. The premise of the book is really that old school thinking is what holds you back, not stuff to live by. Ironically, it is really a new set of rules, albeit far more minimalistic than ever before.

The book is fantastic, especially since I never met a rule I didn’t want to break. It could have been titled, “Out of the Box”, “Think Different” or “Break The Rules” and they all would have applied. Need your thinking challenged? Need a nudge out of the box? Get this book.


Watch live streaming video from waterbrookmultnomah at livestream.com

Today (at 2pm EST) there will be a live web streaming session with Gabe Lyons about his book The Next Christians. I think the people he is writing about are in your youth group now, or will be soon. Might be interesting to watch it today.


You are a performer. Every day, you rise to the occasion and give a performance. It is built into every presentation, interaction and talk you give. And this book will guide you to success in that new realization. I really enjoyed the quick read The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn (author of The Fred Factor). It reminded me of the size of a Patrick Lencioni book and the insights of a Seth Godin masterpiece. Together, it makes for a powerful combination to process and challenge your thinking. Lots of quick applications for youth ministry – you are always on stage with parents, your talks can sink or swim and practice makes a world of difference which of those happen. Here’s the 5 main sections in the book:

Passion: The fuel for remarkable performance
Prepare: How remarkable performance begins
Practice: It won’t make you perfect, but it will make you better
Perform: How to engage your audience
Polish: Making your performance shine

Good stuff!


This fall our whole team read through Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone – a book that focuses on relationships, networking and giving/receiving an infinite supply of gifts and favors to help you be successful in life. The book was specifically written from a person in the entertainment industry but can easily be translated to a church setting. I found the chapter on conferences the most helpful – I happened to be reading it on my way to a conference so put a ton of it into practice. Keith is a master networker, and dances on the thin line of using people to get where he wants to go. I think he would fully dispute that charge, suggesting that we are all symbiotic to each other, and he would just as quickly cash in a favor for someone else as he would expect it to be done for him. Good stuff to get you thinking about where you’re going in your career and how other people are the key to the journey as well as the destination. Might give you a fresh perspective on relational ministry, too. A


Just finished up What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. It was a really interesting read – helping unpack the Google way of doing business and transferring those game-changing principles to your world. I enjoyed it a lot, the first two thirds more than the ending act I have to admit. In the main section of the book Jeff teaches us how to be more Googly, sharing principles of how to build business through relationships, how (and why we must) hear and respond to our customers and tons of other great insights about the new work ethic and new speed of business: instantaneous. The illustrations are fantastic and deepen his points throughout. Then he changes pace and begins to apply its own principles to various industries – some were a total hit and interesting, some not much honestly. Of course, I was wishing he had done a chapter on churches or non-profits than I would be singing a different song. All in all a very helpful book that I enjoyed reading and translating internally to youth ministry and the church. B+


Fun special event RIGHT NOW exclusively here on MTDB!

You can win one of 25 copies of Mark Batterson’s new book, Soul Print: Discovering Your Divine Destiny. All you have to do is be one of the first 25 people to leave a comment on this post with at least your email address in it. Multnomah Books will use your email address to get your address and send you a free advance copy of the book – well in advance no less, it doesn’t come out until January 18th, 2011. Enter now and instantly win!

In Soulprint, Mark pours the contagious energy he’s known for into helping you experience the joy of discovering who you are and the freedom of discovering who you’re not. The wonderful fact is that your uniqueness is God’s gift to you–and it’s also your gift to God.

A “self-help” book that puts God at the center rather than self, Soulprint encourages you to recognize and explore the moments of your life that determine your future. Along the way, you’ll find that you’re not just turning the pages of a book. You’re turning the pages of your remarkable, God-shaped, world-changing life.

UPDATE: It took just 26 seconds from the time I posted this and Twittered it for them all to go! Holy smokes – and thanks to everyone who stopped by!