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Books To Help You Be More Effective At Youth Ministry, Part 1

Books To Help You Be More Effective At Youth Ministry, Part 1

I've been meaning to do this kind of post for a while. I wanted to write a couple of posts about books that I have found over the years that are really helpful in becoming an effective spiritual leader to teenagers. After all, there isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t have someone asking us a question about resources. 

“What is a good book that will help me with [insert topic, problem, are of focus, etc.]?”

I realize that we answer many of these questions with the same core group of books, though we’re constantly being exposed to new and valuable resources to add to the list. So, I thought I’d share at least some of them here so that you can maybe add a few tools to your toolbox. And, if you’d like, in the comments section below, add your own resource that’s been helpful to you over the years.

I'll do these in two parts. In this post I'll list some resources that help in disciplemaking, that help in Organized by category, but in no particular order. (Though, there are several here that could easily go in multiple categories.) Here we go . . . 


Resources On Spiritual Growth/Discipleship

Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson—I think I highlighted more quotes in this books than I have in many in a while. Not youth ministry specific, but solid.

Creating A Discipleship Culture by Mike Breen—This is not youth ministry specific but Breen speaks about discipleship as well as anyone I have ever read. This book clarifies the what and the why of discipleship in a powerful way. 

Building A Youth Ministry That Builds Disciples by Duffy Robins—This is one of those books that I would recommend to youth workers just starting out. It will help you lay a great foundation for discipleship in your ministry.

Redefining Normal by Dave Rhodes—This book doesn’t have a ton of practical application and I love it because of it. Dave speaks about discipleship like someone who loves it. And it’s refreshing. Not youth ministry specific, but I would strongly recommend it.

[NOTE: I don't know if there is precedence for what I am about to do. But I want to recommend a book I haven't read. I've been fighting to carve out time to read my friend Paul Martin's new book, "Masterpiece: The Art Of Discipling Youth." I can recommend the book without having read it because I have heard Paul's philosophy on disciple making over many early morning breakfasts at Panera (most of which I was late for). I'm kicking myself for not having read it. And yet, I would highly recommend it. You can catch Rachel Blom's review of it by clicking here.]

Resources For Building/Growing/Evaluating Your Youth Ministry

Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark Devries—A must have. If you have even the slightest thought that your ministry isn’t where it needs to be, read this.

Your First Two Years In Youth Ministry and Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields—Yes, these books were written years ago. But the teaching about structure, philosophy, and methodology is as relevant today as it was when they were written.

Simple Student Ministry by Eric Geiger and Jeff Borton—I love the model this book sets forth on how to think about our youth ministry programming. Could have been in the “discipleship” category up above. Great read.

Resources For Leading Better Bible Studies/Youth Talks

Speaking To Teenagers by Doug Fields—A really solid resource for anyone who has not had a class on speaking or preaching. It will really help you craft meaningful talks and even Bible study lessons for your students.

The 7 Best Practices For Teaching Teenagers The Bible by, well, by me—I hesitated to put this on because it felt self-serving. But, I believe in this book. I’ve seen it really help youth workers. If you buy it and hate it we’ll give you your money back. ☺

Creative Bible Lessons From The Life Of Christ by Doug Fields—A must have. Not sure what else to say. ☺

The Youth Worker’s Guide To Creative Bible Study by Karen Dockry—If you create your own Bible study, or like to tweak the Bible study you’re given, this is a great resource. A word: the activities in this book are very dated. However, I’ve found it’s still useful. I look at the TYPES of activities represented, and then modernize the application of them. 

The Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words by William Mounce—If you write your own Bible study lessons or talks, do yourself a favor and buy this book. It is simply the most intuitive, easiest-to-use, USEFUL language resource available. Period. It will open up a new and deeper level of meaning to the Scriptures.

Enter the Story by Michael Novelli and Teaching Through The Art Of Storytelling by John Huckins—Two really awesome resources on teaching through storying. If you’re looking to add a little life in your teaching, I would suggest giving this a look.

What resources that fall in these categories have you found to be helpful?

Look for part two in the next week or so. I'm thinking it will have personal spiritual development resources, resources for or about teenagers' parents, youth culture and trends, and maybe some stuff on volunteers. 

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