5 Indispensable Books for Youth Pastors

There are literally a ton of Student Ministry books and resources available. Maybe that’s because in our profession we deal with all sorts of situations and people. With so many to choose from it can be overwhelming and confusing. Nevertheless, if your Student Ministry bookshelf could only hold 5 books, these titles should provide a well rounded scope on some of the most common issues:

A Tale of 3 Kings (Gene Edwards) – ISSUE: STAFF FRUSTRATIONS AND LEADERSHIP ISSUES . This book provides a great study on brokenness and humility regarding working for a superior by looking at the life of David and his experiences. A must read for any NEW Student Pastor in ministry because at some point you WILL get frustrated or upset working at a church. This resource helps give you a healthy PERSPECTIVE!

Every Young Man’s/Woman’s Battle (Stephen Arterburn/Fred Stoker) – ISSUE: SEXUAL IMMORALITY AND LUST . In Student Ministry, one of the many inevitable issues you will face will be lust and sexual temptation. This book provides a biblical framework to counsel within and includes excellent steps towards healing. I’ve personally seen this book work in the lives of students and recommend it time and time again. My wife and I are preparing to take a group of students through these books in the fall!

The New Breed (Jonathan McKee/Thomas W. McKee) – ISSUE: VOLUNTEER TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT . Every Student Ministry needs passionate and devoted adult volunteers to invest in students. This resource gives a fresh look to a challenging and daunting topic. If I were to ever teach a class on Volunteers in Ministry, this would be a required text. This single-handedly changed my perception on the matter. I might pick it up again at the end of the summer!

How To Lead A Great Cell Group Meeting (Joel Comiskey) – ISSUE: SMALL GROUPS . Another major component of Student Ministry is Small Groups. This resource does a great job working with the Small Group Leader and focuses on developing them into incredible facilitators. Each chapter goes over a different characteristic in effective Small Groups and applies them to the leader. I believe in this book and I am in the process of ordering one for each of our Small Group Leaders to read in preparation for our Winter Small Groups.

The Core Realities of Youth Ministry (Mike Yaconelli) – ISSUE: STUDENT MINISTRY PARADIGM . I intentionally tried to not include a Doug Fields book in this list simply because there are other great Student Ministry resources available other than his. This little diddy by the late Mike Yaconelli covers core realities that need to be present in every Student Ministry. It is more of an overview of Student Ministry – much like Fields’ Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. Core Realities though provides a biblical foundation for ministry that is relational, relevant, and exciting. One of my favorite things about this book is that the author doesn’t tell you “how to do ministry” but states rather that “effective and relevant student ministry will look different everywhere you go”. Yaconelli provides excellent principles that should be applied to any and every Student Ministry situation. I believe in this book so much that I use this with my Student Ministry interns that come to me through our local school system!

Every Student Pastor needs to read and own these books. If your Student Ministry bookshelf could only hold 5 books, the insights gained from these texts will prove invaluable during your ministry!

What are some of your favorite Student Ministry resources or books?


About Chase Smith

I am the Student Ministries and Worship Arts Pastor at Trinity Wesleyan Church. I have the best job in the world with help from the best wife in the world serving the best students in the world all praising the best God in the world.

Posted on July 1, 2012, in Leadership, Ministry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If I could turn back time and dispel a book from an audience, it would be Every Young Man’s Battle. It’s the most legalistic book I have read in dealing with the problem of sex addiction. Every group I have seen use this is one marked with legalism. Not helpful. One counselor even said, “If you want your guys to form a porn addiction, get them this book. It will foster their need.”

    Instead I recommend Faithful and True by Mark Lasser. It’s way better for dealing with problems of sexuality.

    • Hey Paul, thanks for your input. I’ve used this book for a while and have had success with it. IMHO I like how it emphasis reading your bible daily and how that helps with the battle. The legalism remark intrigues me. I’ll try to be aware of it as I lead my next crop of guys through it.

      thanks for adding your resource. I’ll be sure to check it out. I’m always up for something new!

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