Tag Archives: Timothy Eldred

Top 10 Youth or Student Ministry Books

Here are a few that I would recommend (put in order of my favorites):

  1. Family Based Youth Ministryby Mark DeVries (My youth pastor growing up had me read this.  It redefined for me the role of the youth pastor, and my philosophy was forever changed.)
  2. The Greenhouse Projectby Mel Walker & Mike Calhoun (A collection of writings from some of my favorite people in youth ministry)
  3. Youth Ministry Management Tools (This book is awesome as a resource.  Not for simple reading, but will help you with administration – planning events, budget, team-building, etc.)
  4. Purpose Driven Youth Ministryby Doug Fields (Classic that reshaped youth ministry to what it is today, in a good way)
  5. Shaping the Spiritual Life of Studentsby Richard Dunn (One of the first youth ministry books I read, and loved the insight of walking along students in their lives)
  6. Pushing the Limitsby Mel Walker
  7. Sustainable Youth Ministryby Mark DeVries (One of my prayers is longevity in ministry, this book will help)
  8. ReThinkby Steve Wright
  9. Controlled Chaosby Kurt Johnston (Jr. High ministry, could you tell by the title?)
  10. 4 Hour Youth Ministryby Timothy Eldred (Want to get more efficient, or your teens more involved, here ya go)

Honorary Mention:  You Lost Me by David Kinnaman; Already Gone by Ken Ham

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4 Hour Youth Ministry – Book Review

The Good:

  1. Youth in Ministry – More and more I am hearing the greatest need in youth ministry is ministry involvement or connection.  As Eldred puts it, “as professional youth ministry has increases, youth in ministry has decreased.  Whether it is through intergenerational ministry or allowing youth to play a bigger role in the student ministry itself, the students need a connection and cannot be sitting on the sidelines any longer.
  2. Relationships – A common thread throughout the book was relationships.  Amen!  God has really laid on my heart to get out of my office and build relationships.  And this book only confirmed what God was already telling me.  This generation is seeking real relationships, not over-the-top events.  The book makes the point that just as the armor wouldn’t work for David, “old-school” program driven youth ministries are not doing the job.
  3. Practical – I have already made a sheet to keep me accountable for connections as suggested in the book.  Also, I will be working on getting each student plugged into the student ministry somehow.  This was some good motivation to get them involved and showed (although not step-by-step) how it can be done.
  4. Dynamite Quotes:  Here are just a few to chew on (see #1 for one of my favorites)
    1. “If a dead bolt was placed on the youth room door and you were not allowed to have large group meetings, events, or activities for 6 months, what would your ministry look like?”  OUCH!  That hit me right between the eyes.
    2. Jesus never said “Hey Peter, get out your guitar and draw a crowd.”
    3. “Can you imagine an athletic coach inviting kids to come to the gym, the field, or the court only to sit and watch the adult mentor play the game?”  Another zinger between the ribs
    4. Talking about Jesus – “He invested in pupils.  He didn’t invent programs.  Jesus committed to change the world with youth”
    5. “Ephesians 4:12, “Prepare saints for the work of the service.” Not prepare services for saint”.  AMEN!

The Bad:

  1. Is it possible? – Apparently their youth group is entirely youth driven.  Every event, meeting time, worship time…it is led by teens.  Now, could teens do these things, absolutely!  But I love to teach…what happens.  Can there be a hybrid of letting teens do majority of ministry, while allowing adults serve in ways they are called and gifted?
  2. Grammar – Now I’m not a fan of the grammar police, probably because I get ticketed quite often myself, but this isn’t a blog we are talking about here.  Get the man a proof-reader up in here!  Once or twice is fine, but it was consistent throughout the book.


Listen, I read this is one day.  Now that is my type of book.  Just give it to me and tell me what to do!  And this book does a great job at doing those things.  I’ve been saying for some time now, my goal is when I am missing, that I am not missed or that I am working myself out of a job.  This book teaches and encourages that very thing.  I made the promise, “to never do anything for young people they can learn to do themselves”.  I’m fired up to go equip and let my youth ministry be characterized by youth IN ministry.


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