Books for Youth & Family Ministry

Some of you might be interested in the books I require for my courses at Crown.  I'll start by listing the primary text books I'm using next semester (Spring 2012) in the Youth & Family Ministry course.  There are several other sources that are referenced, but these will serve as the framework for our students:

Think Orange: Imagine the Impact When Church and Family Collide…  ~ by Reggie Joiner.  Consider this: a typical children's or youth worker can only give a student 40 hours over the course of a year, but parents offer their kids about 3,000 annual hours of concentrated time.  So here's a crazy idea, perhaps our churches should partner with parents to raise the next generation.  The church, symbolized by the color yellow (illuminating Christ) and the family, symbolized by the color red (warmth and love) are both designed to work together to show kids who God is.

Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church ~ by Kenda Creasy Dean (Eerdmans, 2004). Students yearn to be a part of something worth pouring their lives into.  Youth ministry is supposed to be about Jesus Christ… and yet there are churches that have rid faith of its radical connection to Jesus.  As a result, they have rendered Christianity as impotent in the eyes of teenagers.  Why should a student become willing "to die for" Christian teaching that isn't worth "living for"?

Sticky Faith, Youth Worker Edition: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers ~ by Kara Powell, Brad Griffin and Cheryl Crawford (Zondervan, 2011). According to the authors, half of the students who are regularly engaged in a typical youth ministry at graduation will fail to stick with their faith in college.  Reviewing how we engage students with the Gospel, with church, with justice, with generations, and more… Sticky Faith constructs an approach to ministry focused on equipping students with a faith that becomes inseparable with life. 

 Other resources:


  1. Thanks Jeff! Yes let’s partner up! Hey, TOGETHER is a great book. I used it last semester as a required text (along with THINK ORANGE and PRACTICING PASSION. It reinforces our themes/lessons effectively.

  2. Hard questions – yes. Politically incorrect – probably. Sad questions – that we won’t know until eternity.
    Those questions are based on true stories from several families I know whose young person did not fit into youth group. What’s interesting is that some of these people who never fit into a youth group, now have a stronger and deeper faith then their peers who hung out in youth group.
    I appreciate your phrase invest and equip everyone. Is that not what Paul said in 1 Cor 9:22 “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” But this requires a strong self image, and great humility. Yet Paul also says the rewards are great in v23 – ” I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. ”
    May all the students who take this course be men and women who follow Paul’s example. May they recognize the amazing uniquness that God has imprinted in each young person in their ministry. May they adapt their ministry style to each one so that by God’s grace, each young person (insider or outsider) become like
    trees planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
    and whose leaf does not wither—
    so that whatever they do prospers.
    And may you share with them in the blessings of the Gospel!

  3. As always, James, you have some profound questions! I’d think you’d be pleased with the direction of our course… as we consider creative ways to partner in ministry to invest and equip everyone, no matter there status or struggles in life. This isn’t a course that teaches one methodology of what we might consider traditional youth ministry… but a foundational pattern and praxis approach. Blessings my friend!

  4. Is youth programs at churches just for ‘normal’ young people?
    What about the young person who isn’t attracted to the style of music of the youth group (i.e. a classic violin player) or has ausbergers, or autism, or is socially challenged, or has a learning disability or a physical disability, or isn’t athletic, or doesn’t know what’s happening on the latest TV shows and video games? Is there a place for them in youth programs?
    What about the young person who has tried drugs, or who is pregnant, or who has just been arrested? Is their a place for them?
    What about the young man or lady who hasn’t made any friends amongst the young people in the group, but goes because that is what ‘church kids’ should do? Is there a place for him or her in youth programs?

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