Wednesday, October 19, 2016

3 books every youth pastor needs to read

We recently called a new Junior High Director to serve on our staff team. Its been such a joy having her on the team. Basically ever since my call to ministry I've had a passion to see students find and follow Jesus. At first I was hands on in this, then I began training more leaders and now I'm in a spot where I get to empower younger leaders to lead.

In the transition it reminded me of being a new youth pastor. It reminded me of how much I didn't know when I started in ministry and how much I still have to learn (leaders are learners). As I thought about what I wish I would have known it clicked, there were three books that I had to recommend to Michelle!

Here are three books that I think every new youth pastor needs to read

1) Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry
I had been in full-time student ministries for a whole 5 weeks when my pastor Chad Blood brought to the PDYM (Purpose Driven Youth Ministry) Conference. At this conference I heard about youth ministry in a whole new way. I listened to great speakers, talked with other leaders and bought this book.

Doug has a passion to to help youth pastors be successful in ministry. This book is a hands down survival tool for thriving in your first few years of ministry. Doug covers important issues such as: dealing with discouragement, ministering to parents and families, leading leaders, working with volunteers, resolving conflict and much more.

The added bonus for me, on this book, was going through it with a fellow intern. After the PDYM conference Charity Fairfield and I meet on a weekly basis to talk about this book. Who would have guessed that less than two years later we would be married. Thanks Doug for writing this book and giving me the tools I needed as a young youth pastor. Thanks Chad for having Charity and I read the book together, I may owe you both for setting us up!

2) Criticism Bites
Every youth pastor (and leader) that I know has experienced criticism at some point in their life. Brian Berry does a great job at sharing how he has handled criticism. When the book first came out my whole staff team went through it. Read what the back of the book says:

Maybe you've asked that question because you're tired of the relentless, nagging voice in your head saying you should quit, or you're inadequate, or your shortcomings are what people will remember most about you. Perhaps you're simply discouraged, frustrated, burned out, or isolated because of the criticism you've endured.
This book is for you.

After nearly 20 years as a pastor, Brian Berry has come to the conclusion that we cannot escape the critics, but we can learn how to think through and respond to them in healthy ways. Put another way: Criticism isn't something you solve. It's something you manage.

Drawing from his own experiences, Brian will guide you through the painful but necessary journey we face in life. He'll examine why criticism hurts so bad, and he'll discuss specific methods and strategies for handling it--including those times when critical words reveal insight and truth from God. When you face criticism, the best response isn't to hide, run away, or quit. The answer is to search your soul, pick yourself back up, and determine how you can deal with, respond to, and learn from the critics.

3) What Matters Most; When NO is Better Than YES
This quick read is a must for anyone in ministry. This book is not confined to the realm of youth ministry. Doug taps on his decades of pastoral leadership to help give leaders the confidence to give the best response. When I read this book I found myself struggling with people pleasing and saying "yes" to every request. I thought it was my job to be super-pastor.

If you can't remember the last time you said "no" to someone then you're on the road to death. It is impossible to say "yes" to every request, wedding, speaking engagement, small group, missions request, family crisis and other requests. I found myself struggling with feeling like I had to say "yes" to every request because that is what Jesus would do... I was so wrong!

This book gave me the freedom and power to say "no" more. It was tough at first but in the long run it has been so healthy for me, my family, the ministry I lead and my spiritual growth. In this read Doug gives you permission to say "no" more and helps set up youth pastors to have a thriving ministry!

What books would you add to this list?

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