We periodically share with you books we believe have helped us minister to children, teens and their families more effectively. Not all of the books are Christian, because we believe God has shared His wisdom in a variety of ways. Our website has a list of our classics in ministry reading, but we wanted to share with you some of the books we are currently reading that aren’t on our other lists.
These books aren’t necessarily new, but they reflect areas in which we are currently doing more research. Some of the books we may have shared with you, but we haven’t added them to our permanent resource list yet. Either way, we believe you may also find information in these books thought provoking or helpful in some way.
- The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin. Ms. Grandin is an expert in autism who happens to be on the spectrum herself. Any of her books will provide you with helpful information on autism and how to better engage with students on the spectrum in your ministry. This is not a Christian book per se, so you will have to make the connections from her book to your ministry.
- Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons. This is a Christian book that examines the idea of creating a Sabbath type rest in the Christian life. While we are not commanded to have a Sabbath, Jesus and the Apostles modeled a more flexible version in their ministry. Lyons helps readers discern between those things that provide shallow rest and those that provide connection with God and the deep soul rest we all need. (Note: There is a book, workbook and video series. I personally found the videos unnecessary.)
- Tiny Habits by B.J. Fogg. This secular book has a lot of great information to help readers be more successful in starting good habits and breaking bad ones. The method works well and has a lot of ministry applications.
- The Self Esteem Trap by Polly Young Eisendrath. Fair warning, this is not a Christian book and requires filtering out some aspects of it because of that. It does, however, provide some good basic information about countering entitlement in young people. For Christians, I would suggest adding Bible to the principles because ultimately this is a heart issue that must be addressed. The behaviors she suggests added to scripture can help mold a child’s heart in a more godly direction.
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. This book does a great job explaining how trauma – particularly childhood trauma – impacts the brain. This is a must read for anyone in ministry. It is not a Christian book, but the brain science is crucial for understanding how to minister effectively to children who have experienced trauma.
- Practical Critical Thinking for Grades 9-12 by Catherine Connors-Nelson. This is actually a set that includes a teachers manual and a student workbook (You can buy them separately.). Written for secular classroom use, the activities are easily adapted to a Bible class/ministry setting. This should be a must for every ministry working with older kids and teens as it has broad application for helping students make wise choices in faith, ideas, beliefs and behaviors.
- Hooked by Mcilhaney and Bush. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had time to finish reading this book, but it has been recommended to me by multiple Christians who minister in the areas of pornography and sexual addiction. As young people of both sexes are exposed to pornography at younger ages, this is one book we probably all need to finish reading this summer!
There are more books we are starting to read this summer. As we find more great ones, we will share them with you. These books or ones on our classics list will give you a lot of great reading to enhance your ministry knowledge.