An Annotated Bibliography of Youth Ministry Resources for Leaders of Mennonite Churches
The following is a description of a number of youth ministry resources relevant to those who minister and work out of an Anabaptist/Mennonite perspective. No list is exhaustive, but hopefully this one will prove helpful to those looking for ideas and understandings to move forward in their respective ministry settings.
Borgman, Dean. Foundations for Youth Ministry: Theological Engagement with Teen Life and Culture.
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. 299 pages.
Most youth ministry professionals recognize the fact that their ministry is based mostly in practice and not much in thoughtful theological reflection. The result is a youth program that is constructed a certain way because it works and/or meets students where they itch, as opposed to a program that accurately reflects and models what we believe. The author of this text provides a thorough analysis of theological frameworks that take seriously the written Word and also the culture in which they find themselves existing.
Clark, Chap. Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers.
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011. 210 pages.
The author shares the results of years of research that reveal new insights into the minds of today’s adolescent and how they survive emotionally in their world. Clark’s premise is that today’s youth suffer from adult abandonment and he suggests ways that those who care about kids can change the situation to maximize ministry potential in their setting.
Cannister, Mark. Teenagers Matter: Making Student Ministry a Priority in the Church.
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. 232 pages.
A thoughtful articulation of congregational youth ministry where there is a distinctive balance between an approach that includes youth in the life of the congregation yet is aware of the distinctive age-relevant needs of youth. This text is an important starting point for anyone who is beginning to acquire an understanding of the value of a deliberate approach to youth ministry.
DeVries, Mark. Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn’t Last and What Your Church Can Do About It.
Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2008. 218 pages.
The author of this text, a seasoned youth ministry veteran, gives insight as to how to construct a youth ministry program in your church that will stand the test of time and not be dependent on the personality of a charismatic leader. A very practical text that many of my former students have found helpful and insightful.
Kaethler, Andy Brubacher and Bob Yoder, ed. Youth Ministry at a Crossroads: Tending to the Faith
Formation of Mennonite Youth. Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2011. 151 pages.
A distinctively Anabaptist resource that explores a number of ministry topics related to youth. The assembled contributors come from a wide variety of ministry backgrounds to lend their expertise on the value of youth convention, Anabaptist distinctives, service projects, adolescent development, biblical study and technology, to name a few.
Keuss, Jeff. Blur: The New Paradigm for Understanding Youth Culture.
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014. 192 pages.
The most recent book on youth culture available that challenges church leaders to rethink what constitutes a vibrant faith in the twenty-first century. The author contends that youth live in a “complex, ever-shifting, ever-morphing world with multiple cultures and multiple resources by which they sense their identity and their faith” (185). An acceleration of technological advances demands that the church rethink how to approach these changes.
Powell, Kara, and Chap Clark. Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids.
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011. 211 pages. (Youth Worker edition available also.)
Many congregations are struggling with the dilemma of why so many of their young people are not continuing in their faith after high school graduation. Whether the reason for this is the result of a liberal university setting or the lack of interest in being involved in church past youth group no one is completely certain, but one thing is certain and that is a decreasing presence of young adults in congregational life. The authors of this text set out to describe an approach to discipling young people that will increase the likelihood their faith will be able to stand the test of late adolescence.
Robbins, Duffy. Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples: A Small Book About a Big Idea.
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011. 236 pages.
This text would be helpful specifically for those in the youth ministry profession who would benefit from ordering their life and ministry. Robbins presents an approach to youth ministry that sees every event, every act of ministry as a purposeful response to a pre-determined ministry goal. The author’s stress on proper relationships with others in ministry and also those one ministers to is particularly helpful.
Yarhouse, Mark A. Understanding Sexual Identity.
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013. 193 pages.
The author introduces the developmental considerations in the formation of sexual identity—all of which occur in the teen years. He offers practical and helpful ways to think about homosexuality along with talking with people who experience same-sex attraction. The strength of this resource is that it helps parents and youth leaders learn how to graciously respond to teens who struggle with sexual identity, and he discusses how youth ministry can be more relevant in the lives of youth who are navigating these issues.