Presenting the 2015 SmarterYM Reading List...
I sat down in January to start whittling away at this list, and it was immensely challenging. My goal was to take the 100+ books I've read in the last year, and boil those down to the FIVE that I think best address youth ministry in 2015.
If you were an intern in my ministry, I'd consider four of these books essential reading. That's how valuable they are proving to be in my life and my ministry.
Here we go.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
How many youth ministers do you know who are planning dozens of different events and programs, but aren't seeing the impact they really hoped they would?
Essentialism deals with the idea that when we focus on the stuff that matters the most, we can massively multiply our impact.
[Get Essentialism by Greg McKeown at Amazon.]
Lead Small by Reggie Joiner
As students become more stressed out than ever before, they're going to need pastors more than they need programs. And the only way to make that happen is to equip more of our adults to be in ministry and relationship with teenagers.
Lead Small is the best resource to help us learn how to pastor, shepherd, and lead their small groups.
[Get Lead Small by Reggie Joiner at Amazon.]
Comedy Writing for Late Night TV by Joe Toplyn
But if humor is a tool in your arsenal, you should at least be good at it. After all, there's nothing more awkward than when someone fails at deliberately trying to be funny.
Here's the thing. Upfront humor is a learnable and improvable skill, and although Comedy Writing was written for the racier world of late night shows, the principles will help you too.
[Get Comedy Writing by Joe Toplyn at Amazon.]
Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler
Teenagers are expected to perform athletically, academically, socially, artistically... All of them have felt the consequences of a failure to perform.
That means that the idea of grace is more counter-cultural than ever, so we're going to need to plan on spending more of our time explaining it. This book will help you do that.
[Get Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler at Amazon.]
Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley
This was on the 2014 reading list. It's on the 2015 reading list. It will probably be on the 2016 reading list.
That's because of all the preaching, teaching, and speaking books that I've picked up in the last decade, I haven't gone back to any of them as much as I've gone back to Communicating for a Change.
Some people will think I'm the old man for going back to this well, but there it is - the best book for communicators I've ever read.
[Get Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley at Amazon.]