Monday, July 24, 2006

M.A. in Youth Ministry in a Box

Rather than a listmania on amazon or something, here is the start of my list (conveniently 10) of books that I think that every youth worker should read. I'm not saying that you can get all of the benefits of an M.A. from just reading books, but this is a close as I could get it. These are in no particular order except the first two which I'm heavily biased towards. A further list will follow with books that don't necessarily focus on youth ministry.

Practicing Passion by Kenda Dean

This book has set the agenda for all youth ministry thought for the next decade at least. Not for the faint of heart because of its depth of theological engagement or for the parochial because of the breadth of its scope, this book attempts to connect Christ's Passion to adolescent passion through the practices of the church. Disclaimer: I worked on parts of this book and so this is partly self promotion.

The Godbearing Life by Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster

Less academic than Practicing but no less wise. Places youth ministry in a theological context that honours the minister, youth and the church. Was eye and heart opening the first time I read it and one of the reasons that I'm still invovled in youth ministry.
Postmodern Youth Ministry by Tony Jones

I find the layout irritating and some of the sidebar comments silly but still, this is the best primer available written by a youth minister for the youth ministry community about postmodernism. Jones knows his stuff and like him or hate him, he has many, many interesting things to say.Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church by Mark H. Senter III (general editor), Wesley Black, Chap Clark, Malan Nel

There are likely few more important questions to struggle with than ecclesiology when it comes to youth ministry. How you understand the church has implications for all kinds of things that you do. These four offer viable but very different answers to the question that they engage.
Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton

Smith et. al. put hard numbers and soft faces to how and what teens really believe. We can give as many opinions as we want but Smith has taken the most accurate and comprehensive snapshot of adolescent spirituality ever. Although not Canadian, still worthwhile reading.

Passing on the Faith: A Radical New Model for Youth and Family Ministry by Merton Strommen and Dick Hardel

You might not buy into their 'scientific' model of ministry which does at times veer towards reductionism, but you can't argue that they offer some amazing guidance when it comes to putting together a wholistic ministry.Starting Right: Thinking Theologically about Youth Ministry by Kenda Creasy Dean, Chap Clark & Dave Rahn

Hit and miss articles but with more hits than misses. The importance of this book is its methodology and way of treating youth ministry as a theological enterprise. Various chapters follow the methodology, the hits, and others don't, the misses.

Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli

See my review on another post.Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields

Placed here for two reasons. First, be contemplative before driven (see Yaconelli). Two, be thoughtful so that the elements that are good here, and there are some, stand out and the elements which are rubbish, and there are lots, can be dismissed.Youth Ministry Management Tools by Ginny Olson

This is not a seminary textbook because it has the theological depth of a petri dish. However, no youth minister who wants to keep their ministry afloat should be without this book. I don't like the software, but the book is great.


Blogger Colin_Jess said...

Well, I have started to put a dent in this reading list and it has definately been very informative with what I wish to try and understand about youth ministry. Although I do also have to agree that is certainly isn't a be all end all. Good place to start in terms of looking for an experiential very on the subject.

11:30 p.m., July 30, 2006  

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