8 Books Every Youth Minister Should Read

I go through seasons of reading books. Don’t get me wrong…I love reading. I read a lot of articles. But reading through an entire book has always been a weakness of mine. In fact, most of the books in my office have a bookmark about 3/4 of the way through the book. I get what I need out of it and then I sit it on my shelf. 

However, there are a few books that are constant resources and have had a major impact on the way I do ministry. 

So here’s eight books that I believe every youth minister should read.

1. Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields

I know this is an older book. It was written in the late 90s. But this book helped shape my view of youth ministry by teaching me that every activity and event should have a purpose. Not only that, but it’s through determining the purpose for each event & activity that you build a balanced youth ministry. This book will help you build a purpose for your youth ministry and give you the tools to sticking to that purpose. 

2. Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids by Kara E. Powell & Chap Clark

Every teen needs a network of adults, including his/her parents, to build and strengthen faith during the formative years of a child. Sticky Faith gives valuable ideas about how to help the family build that network of spiritual adults. While this book is written to parents specifically, many youth ministry principles can be gleaned from it. 

3. Hurt (2.0): Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers by Chap Clark

I haven’t read Hurt 2.0. I read the first addition. It scared me. Honestly. But it reminded me that so many teens struggle with such deep-seeded pains on a daily basis. Chap Clark’s research and experience has been invaluable to how I view, treat, and talk to teenagers. 

4. Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence Littauer

Do you want to know why your students do what they do? Do you want to better understand them? Even predict who your leaders will be, who you can call on to talk, and how to connect with the student who won’t talk to anyone? Then you need to read this book. I also need to let you know that my good friend, Tracy Moore, wrote a book called “Me and You and The People In The Pews”. His book and terminology are very similar. And he’s a great friend. So check him out too!

5. Family-Based Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries

Without adult & parent involvement, your youth ministry will not last. Mark DeVries gives great insight and ideas on how to implement and run a family-based youth ministry. 

6. The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by The Abringer Institute

This has been one of my favorite books of all time…this and the Harry Potter series. Seriously, this book reads like a story. The authors utilize narrative format to teach you principles. So the reading goes by really quick, but the truths hit you like a ton of bricks. There’s no denying that youth ministers will deal with problems, issues and controversy. This book teaches the reader how to live with a heart of peace. This book will help you deal with that difficult parent or argumentative student. 

7. Communicating For A Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley

As youth ministers, we teach and speak a TON. So we need to be good at it. Some people are naturally gifted speakers. The rest of us must learn the craft of speaking. This book will help you in lesson prep, connecting with your audience, and delivery. And it teaches in narrative format as well through a story that moves quick. I couldn’t put this book down. And it radically changed the way I communicate God’s Word. Here’s a powerful thought from this book…If you have a hard time remembering your lesson while delivering it, do you think your audience will remember it four hours after you deliver it?

8. The Bible

I know…you’re thinking, “Duh! Of course we need to read the Bible.” But it’s good to be reminded. The Bible will always be the most important book you ever read because it will produce fruit in your life that no other book ever will. Never sacrifice Bible reading for any other book. Let these other books be in addition to normal Bible study time. 


What books would you add to this list? Let us know by tweeting them to us @theAIMstuff.