2 sentence book reviews: parenting, church and ministry

yay! this is the week my readers either love or ignore (traffic tells me many are in the latter camp). i have found that writing reviews of the books i read really helps me remember them. and i hope it helps some of you make reading choices (and avoid others). i allow myself two sentences for each review (unless i’ve already written an official endorsement): the first sentence is a summary of the book, and the second sentence is my opinion of it.

here’s the plan for the week!
monday: 8 young adult fiction books
tuesday: 2 fiction books, 2 non-fiction books, and 2 graphic/illustrated books
wednesday: 10 christian living and theology books
thursday: 10 parenting, church and ministry books

Parenting, Church and Ministry

the catholic churchThe Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know, by John L. Allen
3.5 stars
a journalist’s sympathetic-but-not-myopic overview of everything catholic. i’m glad i read this, even though it wasn’t always compelling.

youth ministry now not yetYouth Ministry: Now & Not Yet, by Matt Wilkinson
3.5 stars
reporting and reflecting on a survey of youth ministry practices among baptist churches in ontario, canada. of course, canadian baptists have to read this; but i found it insightful (particularly due to its research base) for all north american youth ministry contexts.

jesus centered youth ministryJesus Centered Youth Ministry: Moving from Jesus-Plus to Jesus-Only (Revised Edition), by Rick Lawrence
5 stars
a revised edition of a young ministry shaman’s gentle insistence that we focus youth work on the person of jesus.
my official endorsement (found in the book):
Well past halfway through the chapters of my life, i’m still trying to dislodge from my brain the flannelgraph childhood images of Jesus hovercrafting in his pretty blue robe across a glassy bit o’ blue. The longer I walk with Jesus, the more wonderful and mysterious he gets. In this book, Rick calls us to run–arm in arm with teenagers–to the epicenter of that mystery, that person, that incarnate child, that trouble maker, that up-ender, that ultimate rescuer.

freshmanFreshman: Making Faith Your Priority, Sophomore: Stepping Into Maturity, Junior: Making Sense of It All, Senior: Preparing for the Future, by Lars Rood
5 stars
30 day student devotionals focused on developmental and faith issues common to each particular grade of high school. brilliant idea, effectively executed–this is one of those “why didn’t i think to write these?” ideas that makes perfect and obvious sense.
(full disclosure: i agented these books; but i still love ’em!)

bold parentingBold Parenting: Raising Kids to be More than Just Rule Keepers, by Lars Rood
4 stars
easy to read and full of practical ideas, this short book encourages parents to hope that their teenagers would finish high school as more than merely sober virgins. helpful for parents, perfect for a parent small group discussion (or parenting class), and might give youth workers language for encouraging parents toward a higher goal.
(full disclosure: i agented this book; but i still love it!)

red cup christianAre You a Red Cup Christian?: How to Live a Stand-out Faith in a Fit-in World, by Lars Rood
4 stars
a student counterpart to the previous book, the author challenges high schoolers to do just what the subtitle suggests. easy to read, would be particularly great for juniors and seniors, on their own or in the context of a small group.
(full disclosure: i agented this book; but i still love it!)

get your teenager talkingGet Your Teenager Talking: Everything You Need to Spark Meaningful Conversations, by Jonathan McKee
4 stars
an overabundance of guided conversations for parents and teens.
my official endorsement (found in the book):
Calling this book practical is an almost-ridiculous understatement: it’s a bounty of creative starters for deep conversations between teenagers and parents! There are plenty of helpful, theoretical parenting books on the market; but Jonathan’s book isn’t merely one to think about, it’s a gift to be used.

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