here we go — a week of 2-sentence book reviews on 39 books. i allow myself one sentence for a summary and one sentence for my opinion of the book.
Church and Ministry
The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups, by Joseph R. Myers
a deep dive into a theory of belonging and its application to church ministry. i re-read this older book for our Level 2 YMCP cohort and taught from it, which found strong connection with participants.
Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice, by Brenda Salter McNeil
concise and practical cheerleading on exactly what the title promises. brenda is a helpful coach in this accessible book, and doesn’t employ guilting or shaming–church leaders need to read this book.
thoughts on being present, and on living into who you were made to be (and into your dreams). some chafe at rob’s writing style; but i love it, and this book is simple, profound and wonderful.
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle
catholic priest and founder of Homeboy Industries explores the realities of urban gang life and pathways for hope. finally got around to reading this book, and felt it started strong, but got extremely repetitive.
The Gift of Hard Things: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places, by Mark Yaconelli
a collection of essays, anchored in stories, about the role various difficulties can play in our lives. the storytelling is exquisite, helping to overpower the minor shortcomings of the “collection” approach.
Youth Ministry (and Parenting Teens)
(note: i was a little surprised to review what i’ve read and see that i’d only read youth ministry books that the Cartel published, or that i’d officially endorsed! instead of 2 sentence reviews in this section, i’m including the official endorsements i wrote for the publishers.)
I regularly find that parents want help, but don’t know where to find the good stuff. So much parenting advice is fear-based and impractical. But Jonathan’s gift to us is that he writes to parents from the intersection of hopeful parenting and practical ideas.
Owning Faith: Reimagining the Role of Church and Family in the Faith Journey of Teenagers, by Ron Bruner and Dudley Chancey
A cornucopia is a symbol of abundance and nourishment. As such, there’s no better metaphor for this book. Owning Faith is packed full of an abundance of nourishing challenges, encouragement and instruction, rooted in the best and most current research about creating a context for lasting faith to develop in teenagers.
Smaller Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem!, by Brad Fiscus and Stephanie Caro
In my coaching work with hundreds of youth workers across the US and abroad, I’ve become convinced of this truth: the pathway to fantastic youth ministry is shorter for small(er) churches. There are many reasons for this; but the two primary reasons are that small(er) churches often have the simple multigenerational realities in place for the sort of ministry that has long-term impact on the lives of teens; and, additional resources often end up becoming a seductive distraction, creating false-positive results where resources lead to impressive mass without substantive connection and belonging. Brad and Stephanie have written a wonderfully affirming and encouraging trail guide in this book, one that can lead any small(er) church into lifelong lasting impact on the faith of teenagers.
Begin21: Your First 21 Steps with Jesus, by Timothy Eldred
Appropriately short and to the point, this helpful little book will be extremely helpful for thousands of teenagers who just made a choice to move toward Jesus. And, it will be equally helpful for the youth workers and other adults in the lives of those teenagers!