I do a little youth ministry, mostly at camp. These days I’m primarily involved in an LIT program. I’ve directed the Jr. High girls camp (did that for 12 years) and also worked with senior high and college students. I also taught high school math and science (did that for 8 years), which is also youth ministry/youth work when you get right down to it. I’ve got a lot of books on my shelves about youth work. Many of these say a lot of the same thing; it feels like if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. There are a few that stand out. Here are five that stick in my head:
1. The Godbearing Life by Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster (1998). I think this is now in a second edition. I highly recommend this book. It talks about relational youth ministry in a realistic way that gets to the heart of the matter.
2. Portrait of Youth Ministry by Maria Harris (1981). This may seem dated, but Harris’s discussion and definition of ministry in general and youth ministry in particular is very helpful.
3. Youth, World and Church by Sara Little (1968). Surely Little’s book is past its sell-by date in the youth ministry world? No. Little discusses issues still relevant, though parts of the book are dated. Little argues that youth are serving the church and the world NOW, thus youth ministry should equip them for this service. This is still a valid thesis. Little is thought-provoking even for 21 C youth minstry.
4. Black and White Styles of Youth Ministry: Two Congregations in America by William Myers (1991). Absolutely fascinating study of the youth ministry at two churches in the American mid-west. One church studied was suburban and white, the other urban and black. Really really interesting thoughts on style and culture and the gospel.
5. Like Dew Your Youth by Eugene Peterson (1994). This is a great book about parenting teens.
Remember this blog is about Backlist books, not the most recent youth stuff out there. See above on if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. These are the stand-outs that I’ve encountered. How about you?