book recommendations for youth workers

recently, with the san diego cohort of my youth ministry coaching program, we spent some time sharing book recommendations with each other. i gave them all a handful of categories ahead of time, and asked them to identify a maximum of 2 recommendations in each category (for some of the categories, narrowing it to 2 was way hard!). also a challenge: keeping it to a handful of categories, so our sharing time wouldn’t go on for hours and hours. i was also trying to pick categories that i thought youth workers should be reading in, on a regular basis.

here were the categories, along with my personal recommendations (btw, i didn’t choose a few books — like teen 2.0 — because we’d read them as a group, and it didn’t make any sense to recommend them to each other):

Youth Ministry Thinking
Almost Christian, by Kenda Creasy Dean
Hurt, by Chap Clark

others that were recommended in this category (i told them not to bother mentioning youth ministry 3.0, btw): Simple Student Ministry (Geiger), Revisiting Relational Ministry (Root)/Relationship Unfilted (Root), Shaping the Spiritual Life of Students (Dunn), The Godbearing Life (Dean), Deep Justice in a Broken World (Powell), The Slow Fade (Joiner), Sustainable Youth Ministry (deVries)

Curriculum or Teaching Stuff in Youth Ministry
Michael Novelli’s stuff ( By The Story/Enter The Story)
The Justice Mission, by Jim Hancock and IJM

others that were recommended in this category: Crave/Wide Awake (short film series’ by Erwin McManus), Advent Conspiracy (McKinley & Seay), The Homeletical Plot (Lowery), 10-Minute Talks (McKee)

Worship, Prayer, Contemplation, etc, in Youth Ministry
Imaginative Prayer for Youth Ministry, by the amazing Jeannie Oestreicher

others that were recommended in this category: Life Together (Bonhoeffer), Sacred Space (Kimball & Lewin), The Unquenchable Worshipper (Redman), Every Picture Tells a Story (Marko), Enjoy the Silence (Robbins), Praise Habit (Crowder)

Leadership (not necessarily in youth ministry – just a leadership book or two that has really shaped you)
Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard
In The Name of Jesus, by Henri Nouwen

others that were recommended in this category: The Next Generation Leader / Visioneering (Stanley), How Full is Your Bucket (Rath), On Becoming a Leader (Bennis), Tough Choices (Fiorina), In The Name of Jesus (Nouwen), Endurance (Lansing), The Next Generation Leader (Stanley), Tribes (Godin)

Theology or Culture
Embracing Grace, by Scot McKnight
The Shaping of Things to Come, by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch

others that were recommended in this category: The Blue Parakeet (McKnight), The Shack (Young), Furious Longing of God (Manning), The Reason for God (Keller), Flickering Pixels (Hipps), The Divine Conspiracy (Willard), Prodigal God (Keller), The Return of the Prodigal Son (Nouwen), Experiencing God (Blackaby), They Like Jesus But Not the Church (Kimball)

Outside the Box (a book that defies these categories, but made you think in new ways)
Presence, by Peter Senge, et al, or Theory U, by Otto Scharmer
Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt, and Christ The Lord: Road to Cana, by Anne Rice

others that were recommended in this category: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (Miller), Well Being (Rath), What the Dog Saw (Gladwell), Film Club (Gilmore), “anything by Malcolm Gladwell”, Silence (Endo), Catcher in the Rye (Salinger), Forgotten Ways (Hirsch)

Just Stinkin’ Fun
The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs
Lamb, by Christopher Moore

others that were recommended in this category: Sh*t My Dad Says (Halpern), Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs (Klosterman), No Compromise (Green), Eating the Dinosaur (Klosterman), The Road (McCarthy), Naked (Sedaris), Fight Club (Palaniuk)

anything on there you disagree with? anything you particularly need to add?

2 thoughts on “book recommendations for youth workers”

  1. YM thinking:

    The Unofficial Church Staff Manual – Mark Riddle


    Worship Idea for YM – Group


    who Stole my Church – MacDonald
    The Painful side of Leadership – Jeff Iorg
    Leadership from the inside out – Kevin harney
    Leading on Empty
    Axiom – Hybels.

    Theology or culture:

    The Four Things that matter most – Ira Byock
    Handbook for Mortals – J. Lynn

    Outside the box:
    The Children of Hurin – J.R.R. Tolkien – probably one of his lesser read works but worth it.

    Just stinkin Fun:

    The Unlikely Disciple – Kevin Roose
    My Jesus Year – Benyamin Cohen
    The Door Interviews – Yaconelli
    I sold my soul on ebay – Mahta.

    (And yes I’ve read all the recommendations)

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