Two Incredible Books for Students and Youth Workers

The other day I listed some fairly ordinary, thoughtful, nice books that were devotional in nature, for younger high schools kids. We have a large selection of books for kids and teens, so do let us know if we might help you further.

You know—please say you know this—that we have announced that this summer a book came out written by two of my very best friends, designed for older high school students or collegiates, on taking one’s faith to college.  It is THE best gift to give a Christian college student, or an open-minded seeker and is called The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness (Brazos; $13.95.) 
Trust me, there is nothing like it in print, and it is fun, funny, and very
solid in how it invites serious discipleship, the
Outrageous Idea.jpg development of the Christian
mind, a reason for being in college that is something other than the American
dream. the deep integration of faith and learning.  Taking faith to college is
essential; taking faith into the college classroom, thinking in outrageously
creative and normative ways, seeking God’s Kingdom, even amidst classes and
papers, sports teams and bull sessions, homework and research, well, this is the
book that can provide meaning, purpose, challenge, joy and and integral
spirituality for students.  I’ll bet you can think of somebody that would find
this book to be a true gift.  Maybe you could offer it as a 12-day of Christmas
gift or New Year’s present before students go back to school for the Winter
Semester. Go to to
learn more. 

deep justice.jpgAnother book I really would love to get some early enthusiasm about is a brand new youth ministry book (that would also be good, by the way, for college ministry groups) that just came out.  It is a book–again, this is just extraordinary—that would not have been published even a decade ago.  Thank goodness, the stuff we’ve worked and prayed for, including a reformation of the religious publishing world, is coming to pass.  Get this:
Deep Justice in a Broken World: Helping Your Kids Serve Others and Right the Wrongs Around Them is written by Chap Clark & Kara E. Powell, two of the sharpest folk in youth ministry circles these days.  It is published by Youth Specialties ($18.99) who has long offered some pretty good resources for youth workers, Sunday school teachers, parents and others who work with teens.  This places them, in my view, into a whole new league.  “Don’t waste another minute doing mediocre service” it shouts on the back, and it offers research, insights and practical ideas that can go beyond simply trying to motivate your kids to care about others, but can help them learn the deeper structural injustices about why people are oppressed and hurting in the first place.

“The poor and oppressed” is a commonly used phrase in Scripture, and as Ron Sider (see, for instance, one of the most important books in religious publishing in the 20th century, the must-read Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger) has taught, the Bible insists that  God’s people, shaped by His heart and worldview, speak up as advocates for structural change, social reformation and political renewal on behalf of those who have little voice or acess to power.  As social justice ministries are increasingly being discovered within evangelical circles (in ways the religious right never imagined) and as a wholistic, Kingdom-vision for youth ministry takes hold, we will increasingly need books like this.  I can name a handful of youth ministry books published in the last 30 years that are truly benchmarkers (for instance the now-classic The God-Bearing Life by Kendra Creasy Dean which spawned books like this year’s excellent Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation by Mike King.)  Deep Justice may be one of those.

There are significant contributions to this book, and you may know some of the stellar cast who helped with it:  Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, Lisa Thompson, John Perkins, Rudy Carrasco and others.  This is a truly amazing collection, and the authors have assembly what is surely a must-have book for anyone who works with youth, is intersted in social justice in the church, or helps with short term missions or social action.  Yeeaaah.

By the way, although you needn’t read it first, in a sense this is a follow-up to the very good Deep Ministry in a Shallow World (Youth Specialties; $18.99) that Kara and Chap co-wrote last year.  Doesn’t the title alone call you to think more deeply about the ways in which we nurture our youth, and what sort of youth groups, teen fellowships and college ministry programs we promote?  Again, we are so grateful that these kinds of resources are available, and that our readers may be able to help us get the word out to those who need to know.  Why not forward this BookNotes to the youth worker or volunteer at your church?  Thanks. 

20% off
any of the books mentioned today

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