The Youth Cartel‘s recent release, “4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers,” is critical reading for anyone connected to youth ministry. I’ll be honest; I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. When they first announced it as an upcoming book, I assumed it would be like most contrasting views books; a debate on whether or not youth ministry should minister to LGBTQ teens. I was wrong; this book assumes that as people created in the image of God, every church has a divine calling to minister to LGBTQ teens. This book is not a theological debate, rather, it is a presentation of a range of approaches to practical ministry with young people.
I met Ken Castor a few years ago on an American youth ministry conference. It was my first time there (I was still living in Germany at the time) and I didn’t really know many people. While worshiping, the band played a song that brought back fresh grief over a student I had lost only a month before and I broke down in tears. Ken didn’t know me at all, but he sat right next to me and asked me if everything was okay, supported me. It was a powerful experience for me and I never forgot this kindness of a complete stranger (at that time, we later connected a few more times at conferences).
The reason I’m sharing this story with you, is that sometimes, knowing an author’s character is important because it helps you determine whether they’re the real thing or not. It’s easy to put theories on paper, especially about Christian living, but it’s a whole different story to live them out in real life yourself. Ken’s book Grow Down shows you what an overflowing life rooted in Christ should look like and knowing Ken personally, he’s living this out himself. This book is not theory, it was born in practice. Continue reading Book Review: Grow Down
It’s not often that I feel embarrassed after reading a book. Yeah, maybe sometimes when I picked a romance that was a little…steamier than I had imagined. But I can’t recall a book that left me embarrassed because it completely corrected some preconceived notions.
Yet that’s exactly how I felt after reading Crystal Kirgiss’ book In Search of Adolescence. I was a firm and loyal part of the ‘adolescence is a modern cultural construct’ tribe and boy, did this book prove me wrong. Continue reading In Search of Adolescence: An Embarrassingly Good Book
I spoke at Open Boston last week and met some wonderful youth leaders. One young woman asked me for advice. She is new to youth ministry and had a deep sense of “I don’t know what I’m doing”. Well, that certainly sounds familiar because that’s exactly how I felt when I became a youth ministry volunteer for the first time! Seriously, I felt overwhelmed and I was making stuff up as I went along.
At that time, there wasn’t much available in The Netherlands (where I lived back then) in youth ministry resources and training. And that may be the case for you as well, as I have many readers outside of the US (which I love by the way—it’s such an honor to serve churches in South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, The Philippines, India, Australia, the UK, you name it). You may not have access to training, a formal education, or even resources. Continue reading 6 Books to Read if You’re New to Youth Ministry
Teenagers are losing their skills in conversations because of the role smart phones play in their lives. That’s, in a nutshell, the premise of the book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. And boy, it’s a challenging read…
Author Sherry Turkle is a MIT Professor in the Social Studies of Science and Technology. She’s not a nobody, to put it mildly—she’s been researching the psychology of people’s relationships with technology for over thirty years. She kinda knows what she’s talking about, which makes the book so powerful to read. Continue reading Are Teens Losing Conversational Skills Due to Phones?
This is the most detailed, research-based, yet practical book on boys you will ever find. After the bestseller Queen Bees and Killer Bees (which led to the movie Mean Girls), Rosalind Wiseman has now focused on boys and how they interact in groups.
Masterminds and Wingmen explores the roles boys have in a group, for instance the mastermind (the leader), the entertainer, or the conscience. Wiseman described these roles in an article for Family Circle, which gives a good overview.
The book isn’t just about the roles boys have in groups—though that’s an underlying structure that Wiseman keeps referring to. She tackles topics like gaming, girls, sports, communication, lying, bullying, and much more. Continue reading Book Review: Masterminds and Wingmen
If you want to understand guys better, Guyland is a solid place to start. Reading it certainly opened my eyes to the reality of being a boy/guy/man in America.
Author Michael Kimmel explores the world of guys, meaning 16-26 year olds, and the picture he paints is a startling one. It especially focuses on college students and the life they lead—tackling topics like binge drinking, hazing, hooking up, and the infamous ‘guy code’. Continue reading Book Review: Guyland
Living intentionally is the key to a life that matters. That’s the core message of John Maxwell’s newest book, aptly titled Intentional Living. For those struggling to take the steps into a life of making a difference, this book inspires you in how to get there. Here are 5 lessons I took away from this book. Continue reading Intentional Living: 5 Lessons
Are you looking for a great book to gift a youth pastor? Here are my 10 favorite books to give to someone who loves youth ministry (in random order): Continue reading Top 10 Books to Gift a Youth Pastor
It’s hot off the press: Right Click, a book on parenting teens in a digital age, brought to you by the same research institute that wrote the well-known book Sticky Faith. Now, I’m no digital novice and my son is only in elementary school, but this new resource offered valuable key insights.
First off all, I so appreciate a book on this topic that is not downright negative and judging about the digital age our kids grow up in. I’m so tired of well-meaning people lamenting the good old days—they’re not coming back and besides, in many ways the new technologies have brought improvements I truly appreciate. Continue reading Book Review: Right Click, Parenting in a Digital World