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Book Review: Right Click, Parenting in a Digital World

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

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Announcing my Book Storify

It’s officially here! I’m beyond excited and proud to announce the official release of my book Storify: Speaking to Teenagers in a Post-Christian World, published by The Youth Cartel. It’s my deepest hope and prayer that this book will equip youth leaders and speakers everywhere (including pastors!) to reach this post-Christian generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Continue reading Announcing my Book Storify

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Book Review: Jesus Goes to the Movies

I love movies. The first time I saw Star Wars…an epic memory. I watched so many movies as a teen, especially with my older sister. And some we would watch over and over again! My two sisters and I still often talk to each other in movie quotes, with my parents listening in bewilderment.

Going to the movies is something I love to do with students as well and I regularly use movies (a term that’s not without controversy by the way—more about this later) in my talks. But movies and Christians, that’s not always a happy combination. These are just a few reasons why I was happy to see a youth pastor write a sold book on movies: Jesus Goes to the Movies. Continue reading Book Review: Jesus Goes to the Movies

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Book Review: Brain Savvy Leaders

Brain research. It sounds sleep-inducing (and to some it is), but there are many real-life practical applications of the tons of insights that are being discovered every year. Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry links new know-how on how our brains operate to how we (should) do ministry and in doing so offers many valuable tips to get it right—or at least better. Continue reading Book Review: Brain Savvy Leaders

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Join the DYM Book Club

So here’s the thing: I started a book club over at the Download Youth Ministry blog over a year ago, the DYM Book Club. And even though I love reading and I devour books, I’ve been lousy at keeping that club going consistently. To give myself some extra accountability and because I really believe in inspiring each other to read great books, I’m promoting it here as well.

Every month we pick four books to read from different categories: young adult fiction, leadership, personal growth, and youth ministry. This are the choices for this month: Continue reading Join the DYM Book Club

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Why reading fiction is good for you

I love reading.

Not a day goes by when I don’t pick up a book and read a few pages…or a whole book. Obviously, I read a lot about youth ministry, leadership, and related topics. But I also read a lot of fiction. Reading fiction is one of those things that really fills up my tank and prevents me from running on empty.

Yet I’ve often felt guilty about reading fiction because it feels like such a waste of time. Sure, it’s relaxing and everything, but not very useful…or is it? Continue reading Why reading fiction is good for you

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Book review: Made to Stick

made_to_stickYou have got to read this book. It is by far one of the most challenging, yet practical non-Christian books I’ve read in a long time. It’s informative, engaging, funny, and incredibly useful for youth ministry.

I’m talking about Made to Stick, written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath. This book answers the question why some ideas ‘stick’ to be remembered and why many others die. It offers a wide range if academic research to support their ideas, yet the book is full of stories that keep you engaged and help you understand their point. No wonder, as the power of a good story is one of the key elements of this book.

The stupid thing is that I’ve had this book for more than two years (I bought after hearing the Heath brothers on a leadership conference) but never got around to reading it. I’m so glad I finally read it!

Here’s what the authors advice on how to make ideas stick:

  1. Simplicity: get to the core of your idea, create ideas that are both simple and profound
  2. Unexpectedness: generate interest and curiosity
  3. Concreteness: explain your ideas in terms of sensory information, human actions.
  4. Credibility: create ideas that carry their own credentials, that show authority
  5. Emotions: make people feel something about your idea, elicit emotions
  6. Stories: stories not only captivate, they actually help us prepare better for the future

Continue reading Book review: Made to Stick