Young Adult Ministries Resources
Here are some books and other resources that we have found helpful in our work with young adult ministry. Reviews of the first three books and a brief synopsis of a young adult training event are included at the end of this page.
Quarter life crisis: Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner
Jim and Casper Go to Church by Jim Henderson, Matt Casper
UN Christian by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons
Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
Postmodern Pilgrims by Leonard Sweet
Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect by Joseph Myers
The Pastor as Spiritual Guide by Howard Rice
Deep Church by Jim Belcher
Alternative Worship: Resources from and for the Emerging Church by Jonny Baker with Doug Gay
Everything Must Change by Brian Mcclaren
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
They Like Jesus but not the church by Dan Kimball
Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of life in Your Twenties - Alexandra Robbins & Abby Wilner
Book Review: By Arianne Reagor
This is a fantastic book to read for people who are: 1) in their 20’s and confused about life and 2) anyone who works with/among young adults. The “quarterlife crisis” phenomenon described in this book is referring to the complexity of questions, confusion, and changes currently faced by twentysomething adults.
These range from needing to live with parents again after college graduation, to debating immediate graduate school or taking time off, to wondering when is the best time to start a family, to deciding a career path. Adding increasing cost of living, economic crises, and high five-figure education debt to this mix, and the fabulous twenties are not what they used to be.
As someone in the midst of her “quarterlife crisis” I was hugely relieved to realize I am not the only one who doesn’t have it all together. Robbins and Wilner engaged in interviews and shared real stories of the lives of various young adults, and I found common ground with many of their experiences. Furthermore, anyone who works in young adult ministry should be informed of these issues because so many of us face them.
So if you’re like me, and a little overwhelmed and confused with all the decisions you have to make, I would read this book. It’s nice to know you’re not crazy, or alone, and other people are struggling too. If this doesn’t apply to you, I would still read it because you will probably encounter some of us quarterlife crisis members at some point! And if you work with young adults, this book should be a requirement!
Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians - Jim Henderson & Matt Casper
Book Review: By Chris Natland
Jim & Casper Go To Church by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper is a book that I could not stop talking about once I started reading.
The idea for this book came from Jim Henderson’s history as a pastor that wondered why people didn’t attend his church. He began by paying people $25 per service with only the requirement that they fill out a survey that would help him improve upon what he was doing.
After leaving his church, he later bought a soul of an atheist on eBay for $504 to get an honest opinion of churches. Through all the media attention that followed Jim came up with the idea to find an atheist that would partner with him in writing a book about their church visits.
Once Jim found his atheist co-author, Matt Casper, they set out on a journey to visit 12 different churches; ranging from small house-churches to large, well-known mega churches.
The book is almost an eavesdropping of the conversation between the former pastor and the atheist throughout the 12 chapters, each highlighting a specific church. Without any knowledge of their presence, they would pick a church and attend it just as anyone else, though they would sit toward the back and take notes.
As you read you will be amazed by the brutally honest opinions that “ Casper the friendly atheist” has to offer. Matt Casper does come to this book with a background of church and biblical knowledge and yet still believes as he does. I won’t tell you which churches they attended and wrote about but I will tell you that you will be surprised by what you will read.
I believe you will challenged by the book. You will probably have to take a look at how your church looks to an outsider. More often than trying to convert atheists, we are trying to reach those that just don’t attend church. Those outside the church, atheist or not, often will view the church in the same manner, especially the young adult age group.
Give this book a read but be prepared to be challenged.
UN Christian, What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity…And Why it Matters - David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons
Book Review by Brenna Dykman
The book UN Christian brings into light some of the ugly truths about how this generation’s youth and young adults view modern day Christians/Christianity, and why it matters. The Barna Group, headed up by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons did some remarkable research on how sixteen to twenty nine perceive Christianity. There were six common points of skepticism and objectivism by those outside the Christian faith that were reviled in their research. Those points are that Christians are; hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, anithomosexual, sheltered, too political, and judgmental. Kinnaman & Lyons take each of these six broad themes and with statistical data, testimonial, and moving stories paint a shocking but honest view of Christianity that Christians of every age and denomination should be aware of. Along with the harsh realty this books brings to light, it also provide numerous beautiful examples of how we Christians should not fall into the stereotypes but rise above them. UN Christian also includes insights and assessments from many respected Christian leaders.
On a more person note, if you are a young adult in search of why there are not more of your kinds sitting in the pews on Sunday, this book will give you some insight. At times it can make for a slow read because of the vast amount of statistical information, but the knowledge you gain is well worth it. It is also a wakeup call to us Christian and the church, to start making some changes so once again young people will see our religion in a positive light.
December 6, 2008
In our large gathered session, we were posed with an intriguing question, which set the tone for the rest of the day. Does the church offer a place for young adults that is more than “youth group” for young adults? This is a great query for all of us engaged in young adult ministry. Are we seeking to entertain? What are we offering to provide for this group of people? How can we effectively minister to young adults in a manner that is relative, meaningful, and practical?
The first workshop I attended was “Prodigals and Paradigms,” led by Bill Lizor. His philosophy is that churches need to spend more time on foundations and less on programs. We need to allow people to adapt and change it as it fits into our area (and our needs) and ask ourselves, “How can I translate this?” This model allows young adult ministry groups the freedom to mold and shift ministry to correspond with the needs of the young adults. Furthermore, Lizor pointed out the mission statement of young adult missons: to make disciples of Christ, as they are on a journey seeking the meaning of life. He argued these should be the only reasons for engaging in young adult ministry.
Using the popular image of the Prodigal Son story, He asked, “Are we running off (like the father) to embrace young adults?” Most likely, the church has taken on the persona of the elder brother in the story, annoyed with the return of the other son, instead of the joyous embrace by the father.
The second workshop I attended was “Lions, Otters, Beavers, Oh My: How your Gender, Personality, and Age Play into Your Ministry (or something along those lines :). Though it was humorous, it was an encouraging look into embracing your personality and using it in your ministry. I loved how this workshop emphasized the importance of having different personalities in your leadership team, and learning how to work with various leadership methods, generation gaps, and opposite genders. It was a refreshing look into the different ways we can learn to use the ways we were created to embrace our brothers and sisters.
Basically, The Source provided me with excellent tools and great questions to ask myself about young adult ministry. I was encouraged, challenged, and persuaded to rethink the idea of our mission work, and I felt the church is embracing the different ways I can use my unique personality to minister.