Top 12 Books in Student Ministry (part 2)


Top Books LogoHere in no particular order are 6 of the top 12 books that have been influential in my ministry development over the last decade. Within these books you will find much that is useful in most ministry contexts. But remember to be discerning about what you read, and make sure to read this post before picking up any of the books on this list. (And read this post for the other 6 books on the list). And remember that each author speaks with a different voice, and you should disagree at points. Wrestle with the things you disagree with. Just don’t discount the entire book because of one or two points that rub you the wrong way.

  • Contemplative Youth MinistryMark Yaconelli takes a completely different approach to Student Ministry than is seen in most ministry contexts. He explores ways to slow things down for (and with) teens by utilizing ancient practices such as Lectio Divina and the Awareness Examen. The follow up book Growing Souls is good as a supplement, but not as good on its own.
  • Deep Justice JourneysKara Powell‘s look at short-term missions trips. We all use them, and here she and her co-author (Brad Griffin) explore how to keep them from being just one-and-done trips. A great resource for keeping the fires burning year-round. For a deeper review, go here.
  • Better Safe than SuedJack Crabtree takes a look at the legal side of Student Ministry. How can we protect our teens, our churches, and ourselves in just about every physical way? Includes a resource CD that is chock-full of useful documents lifted straight from the book.
  • Messy Spirituality – Probably Mike Yaconelli‘s most famous book, it focuses around the fact that we try to teach Spirituality as a linear, neat thing… when in fact we are human, and our Spirituality is at best messy. And that is okay. A great reminder that God still loves us even though we are not perfect.
  • Celebration of DisciplineRichard Foster‘s classic work about the Christian faith and multiple spiritual practices that can help to better shape said life. While many books on this list look at freedoms, this one focuses on the need for discipline and order in the life of a Christian.
  • Velvet Elvis – While Rob Bell‘s first book is not a ministry book per se, it is on this list for two reasons. It asks questions that many in the church find either heretical or are afraid to ask, and if nothing else it will force you to evaluate your own stances and convictions on several things that we have believed corporately over the years. God never changes, and neither do His truths. But do we understand them as completely as we should? Or is there room for deeper understanding? Teens and young adults are constantly questioning the Christian faith for many reasons, here is an opportunity to explore some of those questions with them.

There you have it. My Top 12 Books for Student Ministry. These are the ones that have helped shape my (and my church’s ministry) over the past decade. Feel free to comment, add your own book ideas, or totally disagree with me and label me a heretic. Just remember to read them for yourself before casting too many stones…

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