summer study books

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Here's a short list of my summer study books –

The Explicit Gospel – by Matt Chandler with Jared Wilson (Re:Lit/Crossway). Matt is becoming increasingly influential among young conservative Christians looking for passionate teaching connected to orthodox traditions of faith with cutting-edge applications for mission (I know, long sentence!). I'm pumped to read this book about the raw truth of the gospel.

What Do I Do When… series by Steve Gerali (YS/Zondervan). I'm planning to use these 6 books in Crown's Faith Development of Youth course this Fall. Each book offers responsible considerations for approaching some of the most serious issues facing teenagers today. There will be 40 students in this course! So I'll need to develop gradable exam questions from these texts. (Hint: a student who wants to get ahead of the curve might want to pick these up and prep through them this summer!)

You Lost Me by David Kinnaman (Baker).  Kinnaman's last book, UnChristian, was a revealing look at how non-Christians viewed many Christians in North America. This one is a revealing look at why young Christians are leaving Church and reformulating ("rethinking"), positively and negatively perhaps, what faith in Jesus means. 

The Blessing of Africa – by Keith Augustus Burton (IVP Academic). The highest concentration of Christians in the world will soon be located geographically in Africa. So I feel it is important to understand the interesting, conflicted history of Christianity that is often overlooked by Western Christians. 

The New Shape of World Christianity by Mark A. Noll (IVP Academic). Mark Noll takes a look at trends in American Christianity that reveal reflections of world-wide movements of faith. Having lived back in the States for almost two years now, I want to read this book (and the other global books) to make sure I keep a fresh perspective on God's global activity and concerns.

Global Awakening by Mark Shaw (IVP Academic). Like the two above, this book should offer further perspective on what God is doing around the world and, therefore, what I can learn as an American about pursuing after God.

The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah (IVP). The subtitle of this book is somewhat provocative ("Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity"), but its considerations resonate with the three books above. Each of these globally focused books fit a theme that I want to consider further this summer. I'll also be keeping two books by Terry Linhart and David Livermore (Global Youth Ministry and What Can We Do?)close by as I pray about how the future of youth ministry movements in North America should be informed by what God is doing around the world. 

Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works – (HarperCollins). I've been asked to consider writing an article about the spiritual practice of this ancient believer… and also of Anselm of Cantebury… connecting these writings to formative discipleship principles for young people today.

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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