11 Essential Books for Youth Workers

Leaders are readers, and that’s something that is taken seriously at the Coalition. If you are looking to expand your ministry toolkit, consider picking up one of the required textbooks that we use each year to train dozens of youth workers at the Bachelors and Masters level. Have a suggestion that you don’t see here? Drop us a line in the comments!

 

Nouwen, Henri | The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming 

“Nouwen’s depiction of Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal Son, draws out every morsel of interpretation he can possibly experience. His emotional descriptions draw his reader into his experiences of this powerful painting. Nouwen systematically looks at each participant in the picture through the chapters of his book, and likens himself to them, identifying with their struggles and personae. He invites the reader to do the same.”

 

Work, Mike & Olson, Ginny | Youth Ministry Management Tools, 2.0

“This book will be a continual reference guide for a building and maintaining healthy administrative aspects of your ministry It is a must have in your youth ministry tool box”

 

Chap, Clark | Adoptive Church: Creating an Environment Where Emerging Generations Belong

“Every once in a while there comes along a book that challenges ministry philosophy. This is one of those books, but it does so in such a way that is life-giving, accessible, and full of hope.”

 

 

Rauser, Randal | The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver, and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails

“A unique book that engages the reader into a hypothetical ‘coffee shop’ conversation between the author and self-proclaimed atheist. It is extremely thought provoking and will challenge the reader to process his/her own beliefs.  It will also assist in formulating how to communicate Christian apologetics effectively and in ways that are less argumentative and more relational.”

 

Plantinga, Cornelius, Jr. | Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living

“This book reiterates the necessity for gaining a clear understanding of a Christian worldview.  Plantinga brings this message to the forefront, when he reminds us that to love God is to do it with our whole mind, by knowing and studying His redemptive story. He reminds us that learning is a spiritual calling that draws us into a closer attachment with our creator and redeemer.”

 

Smith, James K.A. | You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

“This book is rich with though provoking questions around how we approach ministry. The tough questions must be answered in order for leaders to recalibrate their thinking and consider moving towards a different approach to ministry.”

 

 

Kinnaman, David, and Mark Matlock | Faith for Exiles: 5 ways for a new generation to follow Jesus in Digital Babylon

“Understanding the need to build resilient disciples in an age where youth are inundated with the cultural pull of a digital society, you will be presented with practical ways to offer spiritual engagement, which is paramount to leading others.  Faith for Exiles brings hope to leading others towards a healthy and grounded spiritual formation.”

 

Allendar, Dan | Leading with a Limp

“Sometimes leading others out of a place of brokenness can be most effective.  Allender’s humble approach in this book brings a gentle reassurance that God best uses us when we are open and willing to be used by him, and are committed to His glory as we serve him.”

 

Bolsinger, Tod | Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

“Anyone wanting to be a part church leadership and of the church moving forward, must read this book! A refreshing and motivating approach to leadership in a new era, Bolsinger uses the back drop of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, to highlight the importance being willing to adventurously explore unchartered territory. The correlations to church leadership are truly inspiring.”

 

Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt | The Coddling of the American Mind: how good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation of failure 

“An absolutely clear presentation of the harmful ideology amongst young people today.This book implores the reader to carefully evaluate the mistruths given, in order to lead youth and young adults towards truth and resilience. It is an extremely helpful guidebook that contributes to this very necessary process.”

 

Yaconelli, Mike | Messy Spirituality

“Yaconelli has such a refreshing and adventurous way of leading others into authentic community inclusive of their bumps, bruises, warts and all. His message is paramount if we are to live out God’s salvation to a broken world. Messy Spirituality will foster grace and compassion and bring encouragement to the spiritual lives of leaders and those they lead.”

 

 

So, here’s the deal…many of the most important ministry lessons you can learn happen while you are in the messy day-to-day reality of doing ministry.

That’s just one of the reasons we launched the Coalition for Youth Ministry Excellence.

It’s a ministry training program that’s designed to help you learn to do youth ministry while doing youth ministry.

If you’d like to hear more about this unique experiential immersion training program you can book a call or get a hold of Marv Penner by texting him at the Coalition office (250-826-6050).

Youth workers make an eternal difference!

 

 

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