Overwhelmed by Perry Noble. This is the first Perry Noble book I have ever read. I really enjoy listening to him preach and reading/listening to his thoughts on leadership so I was excited to dive into one of his books. The overall theme of this book is pretty straight forward-we all face overwhelming circumstances that cause stress and anxiety, but through Jesus we can have victory. Throughout the book Noble uses the story of Daniel to illustrate how God can work in our overwhelming circumstances. One of the things I really appreciated about this book was Noble’s transparency and honesty as he shared about his story of depression and anxiety. As someone who struggles with worry and stress very often, this book helped me a lot and I would recommend it to anyone who feels overwhelmed (which is basically all of us). I plan to read Noble’s other book Unleashed soon.
Criticism Bites by Brian Berry. About two years ago I read Brian’s book As For Me and My Crazy House and loved it (click here to read my review). So when I saw Criticism Bites at SYMC this past year I knew I had to grab a copy and read it. Criticism Bites is a book about dealing with criticism. It’s written with youth pastors in mind so most of the illustrations and ideas are geared towards those in youth ministry. However, the book is still very applicable to those not in youth ministry. Berry dives into why criticism hurts us so bad and how we can effectively handle it when it comes our way. Youth ministry is a ministry that seems to attract criticism. You have parents, students, and other adults in the church who all have an opinion on how the youth ministry should be ran. Many times those opinions are very different than yours and usually are masked in criticism. Youth pastors need to know how to handle and respond to criticism. In this book, Berry does an excellent job at explaining how you can do that. I’d recommend this book to youth pastors and anyone who ever finds themselves on the receiving end of criticism.
A Youth Ministry Volunteer Speaks His Mind by Rick Williams. I picked this book up a few years ago, but have always left it on my shelve. It may be because the title scares me. I want to think I am pretty good at leading a team of youth ministry volunteers. I want to think I have it all figured out and that my volunteers think I am the greatest youth pastor on the face of this earth. But that’s not always true. I have a lot to learn when it comes to leading a team of volunteers and one of the best ways to learn is to listen to them. Ask them how I am doing and what I could do differently. What I loved about this little book is that it was like sitting down at a table with one of my volunteers and asking them to be brutally honest with me. At times, it made me mad and at other times it made me feel very encouraged. In this book, Rick Williams, a youth ministry volunteer since 1981, tells youth pastors what their volunteers are really thinking. I picked up a ton of practical things from this book on leading better meetings, recruiting volunteers, communicating to volunteers, and more. I’d recommend every youth pastor pick up a copy of this book and read it so they can better lead their volunteer team.