youth ministry books

When Helping Hurts Free Audio Book




Do you take students on missions trips?  Have you ever been asked to never come back? 

I have heard countless stories of youth groups going on missions trips and completely destroying the missionary, and the relationships that the missionary is trying to build in his/her community.  Why do we often make it all about us, and what we want to get out of the “experience”?

The book, When Helping Hurts, is a must read for anyone who is going on a missions trip.  Also, for the month of February it is free over at christian audio.  Pick it up here for free

I am going to use this book with my missions trip team as we prepare to go.

What books do you use to prep your students for a missions trip? 

This Is My Empty Shelf [Challenge]



How many books do you read in a year?

There is a challenge going around that started on Jon Acuff’s blog called empty shelf challenge.  You can read about it more here.  The premise is that you empty off a shelf on your bookshelf, and spend the next year reading and filling it up.

I would love to do that, but I can’t honestly remember the last time I purchased a physical book.  So, here is my digital bookshelf.  I will keep on populating it, and when I do I will tweet with the hashtag #emptyshelf.  It’s pretty simple.  I hope you join along.

Here is my empty shelf for 2014.

1.How to Deliver a Great TED Talk: Presentation Secrets of the World’s Best Speakers (How to Give a TED Talk)

Book Review: Youth Ministry: Now & Not Yet




Last November I had the privilege to hangout and meet Matt Wilkinson who wrote the book called,YOUTH MINISTRY: NOW AND NOT YET: Uncovering next steps for how Church Leaders, Youth Workers and Parents can Better Engage the Next Generation in a Transforming Faith Journey.  Matt Wilkinson is passionate about youth ministry, and passionate about the church.  

In the intro of the book Matt Wilkinson states the situation that youth workers in Canada and else where are facing.  He states, ” “interestingly, for point youth workers who also shared that they see youth ministry as a life-long vocation and predict staying their current role for a least the next five years, almost half are dissatisfied with the ministry they are leading.”  We are committed to youth ministry, but most of us are dissatisfied.  This is an alarming situation.  Most of the stats that freaked me out most were the ones dealing with either the spiritual life of the youth worker, or the satisfaction of a youth worker.  It almost seems that we are called for the long haul, but also called to suffer in order to work with teenagers.  

Matt Wilkinson complies data from churches in canada to address the state of youth ministry today.  I love this book, and all the graphs that were put into in.  It is an easy read, and an essential read for anyone in youth ministry today.  All the stats are for Canada, but for my friends in the U.S.A this is where your churches are heading (into a post christian culture).  



“interestingly, for point youth workers who also shared that they see youth ministry as a life-long vocation and predict staying their current role for a least the next five years, almost half are dissatisfied with the ministry they are leading.”

“Ensuring the youth worker has  time to effectively and properly care for their personal and family needs (only 12% of youth workers fee very satisfied with this area of support)”

“20% of youth workers lack a philosophy and structure for youth ministry, 75% of youth ministries are not required to have a strategic plan for the year, 47% have not been given clear goals or objectives for their role, 96% of point youth workers do not strongly agree with the statement that “they have a defined leadership plan for their own leadership development”

” It is found that 71% of churches encourage their point youth worker to use social networking to promote the youth ministry and 91% agree that being on social networking sites are vital for building relationships and keeping up with students.  Only 9% of churches have in a youth workers’ job description the importance of engaging with the youth through online tools and just 20% of churches offer a data plan to their youth workers to ensure they can afford to text message an interact online with youth”

“90% of point youth workers shared they are expected to do events; while only 50% share they are expected to do small groups”

The take away from this book is that our youth ministries need to be on mission together with the Church, not just being apart of it.  The youth ministry is a vital part of the Body of Christ.  Today more than ever we are fragmented.  The Church needs to be the place where we are unified.  

Youth ministry has come a long way, but it has a long way to go.  That means that we need to work together in order to change youth ministry.  Matt Wilkinson has written a fantastic book for our times.  We need this book now more than ever.  Check out his book this summer called, YOUTH MINISTRY: NOW AND NOT YET: Uncovering next steps for how Church Leaders, Youth Workers and Parents can Better Engage the Next Generation in a Transforming Faith Journey

You can also visit his website called:

Gospel Coalition Book Sale



With the Gospel Coalition conference going on zondervan decided to drop the prices on the books for all the Gospel Coalition Authors.  I am loving this sale.  Purchase some books today.

Here are some of my favorite books on sale: 

Timothy Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City ($6.72, 72% off)

D.A Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications ($4.82)

Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go To Heaven?: With contributions by Timothy Keller, R. Albert Mohler Jr., J. I. Packer, and Robert Yarbrough. General … W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson. ($3.99)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers ($4.48, 81% off)

Tim ChalliesThe Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion. ($4.48)

Larry Osborne, Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page ($4.48)

Justin & Lindsey Holcomb – Rid of My Disgrace (Re:Lit)

J.I. Packer & Gary A. Parrett – Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way

J.D. Greear – Gospel ($3.99)
J.D. Greear – Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart ($4.99)
John Piper – Brothers, We Are Not Professionals ($4.99)
Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger & Josh Patterson – Creature of the Word ($3.99)


Seal of the conference is a commentary on Deuteronomy by Daniel I. Block – Deuteronomy [NIV Application Commentary] ($5.99, %83 off)

Enjoy!  Have an awesome tuesday.  

Book Review: Dangerous Calling





Paul David Trip is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.”  He just wrote a fantastic book called, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, where he confronts the unhealthy pastoral culture that is prevalent today.

This book is written by a pastor who has lived out the dysfunctions of a messed up pastoral culture.  Paul Tripp leads the reader to a place of self realization through his own stories.  I love the author’s honesty about his own failures as a pastor.  Paul David Tripp asks bold Gospel-Centered questions that have made this book a must read for any pastor.  The day after I finished this book, I was looking at places to purchase cases for friends, and family.  If you read one book this year, this is it!

The book is broken into three sections:

1. Examining Pastor Culture

2. The Danger of Losing your Awe (Forgetting Who God Is)

3. The Danger of Arrival (Forgetting Who You Are)

My favorite section (meaning the chapters that wrecked me the most) were The Danger of Losing Your Awe.  Here are some awesome quotes that stood out:

“Think of What your privilege is when your greatest ganger is that the great things of religion may become common to you.”

“Could there be a greater danger in ministry than that the one leading the ministry would lose his awe? “

“Awe of God should be the reason I do what I do with my thoughts.  It should be the reason I desire what I desire.  Awe of God should be the reason I treat my wife the way I do and parent in the manner I do…Awe of God is meant to rule every domain of my existence.”

“The youth ministry of the church must move beyond Bible entertainment and do all it and to help teens to see God’s glory and name it as the thing for which they live.  “

“My passion for ministry is not about how I am being received ; it flows out of the reality that i have been received by him. “

All it takes is a trip to a conference to see how messed up pastoral culture is.  I wonder how many youth pastors out there are in ministry for all the wrong reasons.  Paul Tripp leads us back to what our focus should be on, and that is God.  We shouldn’t be afraid of ourselves, or of other people.  We should fear God in our ministries and God alone.  We need to live in the Awe of God, and that will direct everything else.

If there was one book to recommend this year,  it would be, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry.  My hope and prayer for you this year is that you would find the awe of God, and seek him in your ministry.

How do you see a messed up youth pastor culture?  Is it based on ego building more that discipleship?  

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Book Review: Thin Places


Is your youth ministry missional?  Are you looking for a resource to push your community to reach their community?

Three weeks ago, House Studio sent me an awesome package of goodies (I will review a book a week until the resources run out).  I have never seen this book, and I was a little skeptical at first about a book until I saw on the back that Michael Frost was recommending the book!  With all that said, House Studio, has published a great book.  Here is the review!

Thin Places: Six Postures for Creating and Practicing Missional Community

If there is one book to get your ministry ready for fall, this is the book. In the preface the author, Jon Huckins, states the community that he lives in called Nieu Communities and here are the core goals and it really sets up the missional mandate in the book:

1. Live within a ten-minute walking distance from each other

2. Regularly share common meals and everyday life

3. Regularly gather for worship and prayer

4. Are committed to live on mission in the local halfway homes, community centers, sports fields, farmer’s markets, refugee populations, and so on.

5. Regularly participate in intentional times of mentoring and coaching.

I love how Nieu Communities are intentional about mission in their neighbourhoods.  And Jon Huckins does a great job in this book describing a missional community.  He also does a great job explaining how intentional his community is about being missional.

The author breaks the chapters into 6 sections: Listening, Submerging, Inviting, Contending, Imagining, and Entrusting.  My favourite chapter was submerging, and it made me question how is my youth ministry missional?  It also pushed me to think about how my leaders, and student leaders were submerging into the community, and not just attracting people to our community.  My favourite quote from the chapter shows the tension between attractional and missional models, “Attractional models pour time and resources into their worship services so as to create a place to which non-believers will want to come and be exposed to the reality of Jesus…In contrast, the missional church embraces the mission of God and God’s extension into humanity by moving outside the traditional church walls and into the lives of individual non-believers with the hope of introducing them to Jesus in the local context, As such, the focus is not on a  central worship gathering, but on equipping believers who are sent to be good news to their neighbours, coworkers, and families.”  This chapter made me think how missional is my youth ministry?  It is easier to create a atrractional community, instead of a missional community.

I really enjoyed this book, and Jon Huckins did a fantastic job.  I loved how he broke the chapters into 6 sections, and at the end of each chapter would share what missional communities were doing.  I also thought the discussion questions were thoughtful and would be perfect for my adult leaders.  This coming year I want my adult leader to be more missional in the youth culture in my city.  Thin Places: Six Postures for Creating and Practicing Missional Community is a great book to motivate my leaders to be more missional.

I wish this book had more downloadable resources, and that the videos packaged with the dvd were on youtube.  This would be a great online training resource for the summer leading up to the fall.

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Book Review: Platform


Are you wanting to start a blog?  Do you want a publisher to take your book seriously? 

Two years ago when I was starting youth ministry media no one was coming to the website.  I couldn’t figure out why?  I was discouraged.  Why was no one reading my amazing content?   It was a few months in, when I decided either I was going to quit this little project, or figure out what the pros are doing.  One of those pro’s was Michael Hyatt.  I started to read his website obsessively.  I would read his posts over and over again.  If he said to do something on twitter, I would do it.  I developed a lot of my social media strategies from Michael Hyatt‘s posts.

Would you love to have all the most important resources, the resources I spent hours finding and reading, in one convient place?  You need to check out his newest book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Michael Hyatt in his book,  Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, does an amazing job laying out what platform you should build to get noticed.  I talk to youth pastors all the time, who I think should be writing for other youth pastors, or sharing content so that we can help each other.  One startling thing is that no one actually does it.  No one takes my advice and makes their voice heard.  From now on all I am going to do is purchase this book for them, and tell my youth pastor friends to do something(i.e build a blog, write a post for someone, publish an ebook) in the 24 hours following reading this book.  There is no reason that my you shouldn’t be in the conversation today.  The way to get into the conversation is to build a platform, and Michael Hyatt will help you set that up in his new book.

Michael Hyatt breaks the book into 5 sections: 1. Start with Wow 2. Prepare to Launch 3. Build Your Home Base 4. Expand Your Reach 5. Engage Your Tribe.  In total he breaks the book into 60 different sections.  The best thing about this book is that if you already have a website up and running, and it looks great, you can skip ahead to any chapter.  The biggest asset this book offers is that you can use whatever you need.

When I picked up, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, I glanced over sections 1-3 and starting working on chapter 4 and 5.  This gave me ideas and a strategy to get people engaged on this website.  I would love to have engagement on a fraction of a scale compared to Michael Hyatt who gets 100’s of comments per post.

This is one book that every youth pastor should read this year if they are serious about joining the blogging world.  It is more than being a youth pastor of a mega-church.  All you need to do is start with the right tools and some hard work.  Before you know it, you will be right in the conversation.

What are you waiting for?  Go and pick up Platform for the cheapest price here.  

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Book Review: Zag

zag book review

zag book review


Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier

In an age of me-too products and instant communications, keeping up with the competition is no longer a winning strategy. Today you have to out-position, out-maneuver, and out-design the competition. The new rule? When everybody zigs, zag. In his first book, THE BRAND GAP, Neumeier showed companies how to bridge the distance between business strategy and design. In ZAG, he illustrates the number-one strategy of high-performance brands—radical differentiation.

This is the best book on marketing in the business.  I love this book and it is easy to read.  It’s so easy to read that you could finish it off in a few hours.  When people ask about design and communicating a message, I refer them to Zag.  See the image below to see how the book is laid out.


Now, you are probably what does a book on branding have to do with youth ministry?  That is a great question.  I personally think that branding has a lot to do with youth ministry.  We are constantly communicating to teenagers.  Teenagers live in a world where they are bombarded by information.  Marty Neumeier states how this information is making people/teens block out all information, he observes that the human mind deals with clutter the best way it can: by blocking it out. As a result, “the newest barriers to competition are the mental walls that customers erect to keep out clutter. For the first time in history, the most powerful barriers to competition are not controlled by companies, but by customers.”    We are trying in the midst of all that information to communicate God’s truth to them.  We want teenagers to be moved by God, accept him into their lives and become apart of our crazy community called the church.  Any time you communicate a message it is apart of a brand.  Your church right now is a brand whether you like that or not.  Zag will give you some simple tools to communicate clearly.

This was one of my favourite books last year.  I hope you pick it up.  I loved how this book is about branding, and it is actually branded well.

Make sure to check out Zag on Amazon HERE!

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The Youth Pastors Gift Guide: Books


(This post is apart of a series you can check out, Youth Pastors Gift Guide. 


I love getting books at Christmas.  The best part is being able to read them during some down time after the craziness of Christmas.  Here are some awesome books to check out this year.









1. Kindle.  What a great gift.  I purchased a kobo awhile ago, and I love it.  The e-ink is clear and easy to read.  I never thought I would be able to ditch the traditional print format.  The best part of a kindle is that they are cheaper than ever before, and all the books for kindle are cheap.











2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  This is one book that I am looking forward to reading and reviewing on this site.  I have read a few reviews already and I have enjoyed the reviews and Steve Job’s endless pursuit of simplicity.


3. Sticky Faith.  This is a book I have been hearing a lot about lately.  It is on my books I want to read list.  Have you read this book?  If not, I hear its a must read for any youth worker.





4. Any thing by Seth Godin.  I have read a few books by Seth Godin.  He is a great author and his books are amazing.  If you were check out a book, you could look at poke the box.  I reviewed the book here.





Resonate main page review Resonate Book Review


5. Resonate.  This is one book that I think every youth worker should read.  Actually, every person who wants to communicate effectively in a digital world.  I love the way that the book is laid out.


6. Anything else recommended by Youth Ministry Media.  I have recommended some great books this past year.
I need your help.  What would you add?  


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