I was reading Terrace’s blog recently and also came across a slightly older post from Matt Cleaver talking about the must-read books for youth workers. And while this isn’t necessarily a definitive list by any means, I thought it might be interesting to post the books that have had the most shaping effect on my youth ministry philosophy and vision.
Purpose Driven Church – Rick Warren
This is the book that opened my eyes to church as it could be. Sitting at a summer camp in upstate New York, I read and imagined church in a whole new way. The Great Commandment and the Great Commission bonded together to reveal biblical purpose for the church. Life-changing read.
Handbook on Counseling Youth – Josh McDowell
An oldie, but a goodie. This book was a gift to me early in youth ministry career – and just this past week I gave copies of it to my team. Tons of topics, great questions, Scripture and counseling help for real issues. I hope the book gets a makeover soon and will include more help for newer issues that are gripping teenagers.
Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry – Doug Fields
The first of two great books from Doug Fields that made me into the youth worker I am today. Probably time for me to read it again – just solid reminders to help you start right.
Purpose Driven Youth Ministry – Doug Fields
The definitive book on youth ministry. It will get you thinking, challenge that thinking, and push your thinking toward a biblical model for success and health. So much of what we do in HSM still resonates directly from this foundation. I’ve had multiple copies, all dog-eared, underlined and worn. The best of the list.
Sustainable Youth Ministry – Mark DeVries
Maybe the 3rd best book written about youth ministry. A more recent title to make the list, I love the clarity and direction it provides youth workers in what it takes to survive the calling in the long run. Good, good, stuff.
The Heart of a Great Pastor – H.B. London
This book arrived at a time when I was feeling particularly vulnerable and ready to quit. The idea of “blooming where you’re planted” hit me that God called me to the place I was serving at, not to be looking for what was next or greener on the other side of the fence.
The Dip – Seth Godin
The Dip is a little book all about the phenomenon where after initial success there is a dip before an even larger gain. Fighting through the Dip or knowing when it is time to give up is crucial in youth ministry.
Linchpin – Seth Godin
A brand new book that is gripping me right now. The idea that God created you as an artist and an individual for His work – that you aren’t just a mindless cog in a wheel within the church. Takes a bit of translating since it is a business book, but worth it!
Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath
If you’re a communicator, you’ll want to know how to have your messages stick. I also loved Speaking to Teenagers, but this non-youth ministry specific book really stuck with me, too.
The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
Working in a larger church now I’m focusing on more team-based learnings, this book is one of the best. Told in his now trademarked business fable style, the book will walk you through the most common traps that trip up teams.
How about you? Read any life-changing books lately?