Book’s I’ve Read Recently

I enjoy reading and writing reviews of what I have read here on my site. However, I do not always review every book I read. Some books I simply read and put them on the shelve. But in an effort to review and recommend more books here on my site I will be posting “mini-reviews” from time to time of recent books I have read. So today I want to share some quick reviews of three books I have recently finished.

FURT_9781601424563_jkt_all_r1.inddCrash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick. Crash the Chatterbox was a good read. I read a chapter a day during my devotional time and learned a lot about how Satan and his lies can cause me to loose focus on my Savior and His promises. Furtick is one of my favorite preachers to listen to and I have enjoyed reading his books. In this book Furtick considers some of the “chatter” Christians hear in their heads from Satan that often times trips them up and causes them to fail. He gives Biblical principles in how to overcome the “chatter” and reminds readers of the promises of God. This was a really easy read that I would recommend to anyone that is looking for a book to help them in their spiritual growth. Overcoming the lies of the enemy is important if we want to believe and live out the promises of God for our lives.


Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples by Duffy Robbins. When it comes to youth ministry, I love reading and learning from Duffy Robbins. This guys has been around for a long time and is full of youth ministry related wisdom. It’s evident from his books (and when you hear him speak) that he loves Jesus and teenagers. He is also passionate about helping youth pastors follow the Great Commission in making disciples, which is what this book if all about. In this book, Robbins shares how you can build an effective youth ministry that builds teenage disciples. This by far was one of the best youth ministry books I have ever read. It was practical, but very theologically sound. Robbins doesn’t just share how to attract teenagers, but how to pour into them and help them become fully-devoted disciples of Jesus. I really enjoyed chapters 2 and 3. In chapter 2 Robbins talks about how youth ministry is more about the youth pastors relationship with Jesus than anything else. Then in chapter 3 Robbins talks about how youth ministry must be incarnational. With Jesus ministry as the blueprint, Robbins helps youth workers see the important of being with teenagers and how healthy relationships with teenagers make for great ministry. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone in youth ministry both full-time or as a volunteer.

cotw-cvrCreature of the Word by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger. We need Gospel-centered local churches. Not many pastors (or Christians for that matter) would disagree with this statement. But what does a Gospel-centered local church look like? How does a Gospel-centered church operate? Those are the kinds of questions this book addresses. The local church is all about Jesus. He built it, runs it, and owns it. The Gospel, the good news of what God did through Jesus, is what should drive the church. The Gospel, the person of Jesus, should be at the center of it all. The first few chapters (chapters 1-5) unpacks this truth while the last section (chapters 6-12) get more practical in dealing with how the Gospel impacts everything from church leadership, ministry, preaching, and contextualization. I really enjoyed chapter 8 and what the writers had to say about children and student ministry. As well as chapter 9 and the discussion on what is Biblical, Jesus-centered leadership. I’d recommend this book for anyone who is in church leadership and is passionate about building a Gospel-centered church.

I’m currently reading The Judgment Seat of Christ by Samuel Hoyt and plan to start reading Perry Noble’s new book Overwhelmed this week. Reviews coming soon.

Teaching the Bible for All It’s Worth

As I mentioned in my last post, I want to try and share all my notes from this weekend while I am here at The Simply Youth Ministry Conference. This morning I was able to attend a pre-conference track with Duffy Robbins called “Teaching the Bible for All It’s Worth” here at SYMC. One of the things I loved about the workshop was Duffy’s passion about the Word of God. He spent a lot of time at the beginning talking about hermeneutics and Biblical interpretation. This was super encouraging for me because I believe the Bible is the starting point for effective youth ministry. The Bible is what students need. They don’t need our clever ideas or programs, they need God’s Word.

Because of the amount of notes for this tracks, I wanted to just post a link to the PDF of the notes I took. I hope these help you and help you understand how to teach God’s Word to students. Click the link below to see my notes from this track in PDF format.

Teaching the Bible for All It’s Worth (Duffy Robbins)

Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2012

For the next five days I will be at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Louisville, KY. I have been to this conference a few times and each time I come away refreshed and more excited about youth ministry. I know many youth pastors who cannot make it this weekend so I want to be a resource to them and others you may be interested in the teaching that goes on at this conference. So my plan is to share all the notes I take from the tracks and workshops I am a part of this weekend. I will try to do this daily and put my notes into a blog format for others to read and learn from.

I have already planned what tracks and workshops I will be attending. Once I get there and the conference starts I make change which ones I am going to, but as of right now here are the tracks and workshops I plan to get in on:

Teaching the Bible to Teenagers with Duffy Robbins

New to Youth Ministry: Starting Out on the Right Foot with Steve Schneeberger

Under Your Unbrella: When College Ministry is Just One of Your Responsibilities with Chuck Bomar

Effectively Communicating to Teenagers and Parents Throughout the Week with Tim Schmoyer

If any of these interests you than keep an eye on my blog for the next five days. I will share all my notes from these tracks and workshops as well as anything else that happens at SYMC that is worth blogging about. Click here to see a list of other bloggers who will be blogging throughout the SYMC.

Student Ministries Books Every Student Pastor Should Read

In my last post I reviewed a great student ministry book called The Indispensable Youth Pastor. I posted a link to the review in a Facebook group called Youth Pastor’s Only. It created some great feedback and conversations about student ministries books we should read and check out. I have been wanting to create a working list of student ministries books I recommend so I figured I would start here in this post. Here is a list of student ministries books I have read that I would recommend to student pastors, student ministry volunteers, and those studying to go into student ministry.

Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields

Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields-This is an older book that was at one time “the youth ministry” book. It’s worth reading and contains some valuable principles for your ministry.

Speaking to Teenagers by Duffy Robbins

The Seven Checkpoints for Youth Leaders by Andy Stanley

Youth Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Youth Ministry by Houston Heflin-This books contains one of the best definitions of youth ministry ever given. You can check that definition out in a post I wrote about it called “Youth Ministry Defined.”

Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher-If you want to get a great summary of the history of youth ministry, this book is for you! It explains where youth ministry was, is, and where it is going. I don’t totally agree with where Oestreicher believes youth ministry should go, but overall it’s a great little book.

Youth Ministry by the Book by Roger Glidewell-This is a student ministry book most have not heard of, but I would highly recommend you grab a copy and read it. This is the most Biblical based student ministry book I have ever read.

Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church by various authors-I had to read this book for a student ministry class in college. It is a little older than most of the books I have mentioned, but contains some great insights about the different ways we appraoch youth ministry and the overall local church.

The Ministry of Nurture by Duffy Robbins

Youth Culture 101 by Walt Mueller-If your looking for a book that will help you understand the culture of youth today, this is the book I want. Also, I recommend suggesting this book to parents so they can understand the culture of their teen.

Raising the Bar by Alvin Reid-One of the top student ministry books in my opinion. I recently wrote a review of it here on my blog. Click here to see that post.

The Indispensable Youth Pastor by Mark DeVries-This is a book for somewhere in any stage of student ministry: just starting, been at it for years, or about to be done. Click here to see my recent review of the first part of the book.

The Greenhouse Project by Mike Calhoun-This book is a gold mine for student pastors. Each chapter is on a different area of student ministry and the book as a whole gives you a great summary of what a healthy student ministry looks like.

These are just a few of the many student ministry books out there, but these are the ones I have read and would recommend. Leaders are readers. If we want to be effective leaders in our student ministries we must be readers. Feel free to leave your thoughts on some of these books as well as suggest other books I may have not read it.

Student Pastors and Student Ministry Conferences

This past week the Lord provided for me to be able to attend the 2012 Simply Youth Ministry Conference. I have attended this conference three times in the past five years and each time it is a blast! The amount of training and resources you receive is unreal! As much as I wanted to go this year, I was not planning on going because of financial reasons. I believe conferences should be a priority for church leaders, but I also believe that we need to be wise with our money when we start to plan for conferences. I prayed and asked God to provide for me financially if it were His will that I go. A few days later He provided!

If a student pastor can afford it, I believe he should attend at least one student ministry conference a year. If you must pick one conference to attend, I would suggest Simply Youth Ministry Conference for a host of reasons. My aim in this blog is not to promote Simply Youth Ministry Conference, but to encourage student pastors to make an effort to attend a student ministry conference of their choice. Here are three reasons why student pastors should attend a student ministry conference:

1. Spiritual Refreshment. Student ministry is tough. Working with a bunch of students, leaders, and parents can take a toll on a student pastor. Because of the stress of ministry, sometimes our spiritual walk with Christ suffers. We start to put ministry over our walk with Christ. We start to spend less and less time in His Word personally. Sometimes we need to get away from it all and be spiritual refreshed (If this is you I would encourage you to read Fresh Start by Doug Fields). This is one reason a student ministry conference such as the SYMC is such a good thing for student pastors. You get to hear messages from God’s Word, worship alongside others in ministry, and your able to get away from the office and focus on your walk with Christ. Every time I walk away from a conference, I feel spiritually refreshed.

2. Training. Other than being spiritually refreshed, training should be the main reason a student pastor attends a conference. This is a time for you to take a “break” from normal ministry and sharpen your student ministry skills, learn more student ministry, and get set under student ministry training from some of the top student ministry voices. Yes, you can sit in your office and read a Duffy Robbins book and learn, but it will not compare to the hours of training you will get by sitting in a workshop with him in person.

3. Connect with other student ministry workers. One of the neat things about a student ministry conference is that you get to spend a few days alongside others who are serving in student ministry just like you. Along with being spiritual refreshed and trained, you get to spend time connecting with others who are serving students. You get to share your stories, struggles, and victories in student ministry with them! Sometimes connecting with others in ministry is the most spiritual and encouraging thing you will get out of a conference.

These are just a few reasons why a student pastor should make an effort to attend a student ministry conference. If you are interested in attending the Simply Youth Ministry Conference go to their website and get more information. This past summer I posted a blog about the Refuel Conference that is held every year at Thomas Road Baptist Church which is a great one day conference to attend.