Children’s Ministry Books



Below is a list of books that we recommend to help you explore some of the different aspects of youth and children’s ministry.

Welcoming Children: A Practical Theology of Childhood – Joyce Ann Mercer

Welcoming Children develops a theology of childhood both from a theological perspective and from practical experience in children and youth ministry. The author draws insights from classic and modern feminist theologians, pastoral theologians, and contemporary cultural criticism to offer strategies for educational and liturgical practices in congregations that welcome children and contribute to their flourishing.

The Child in the Bible—Edited by Marcia J Bunge

In this volume nineteen biblical scholars collaborate to provide an informed and focused treatment of biblical perspectives on children and childhood. Looking at the Bible through the “lens” of the child exposes new aspects of biblical texts and themes. Some of the authors focus on selected biblical texts – – Genesis, Proverbs, Mark, and more — while others examine such biblical themes as training and disciplining, children and the image of God, the metaphor of Israel as a child, and so on. In discussing a vast array of themes and questions, the chapters also invite readers to reconsider the roles that children can or should play in religious communities today

The Spiritual Guidance of Children – Jerome W. Berryman

This new book is an important history-of-traditions work in which Godly Play founder Jerome Berryman revisions religious education as spiritual guidance and traces the history of Montessori religious education through four generations. Berryman then highlights the development of the Godly Play approach to spiritual guidance within this context and concludes with thoughts about the fifth generation and the future of the tradition.

Will Our Children Have Faith? – John H. Westerhoff III

Will Our Children Have Faith?: Third Revised Edition by John H. Westerhoff III is a classic book about how the church is – and should be – engaged in Christian education at all age levels. With a study guide, this book may be helpful for Christian Ed committees.

Children’s Ministry that Fits – David M. Csinos

Children’s Ministry that Fits blends insightful research, relevant theory, and practical ministry into a guidebook for discovering and understanding children’s spiritual styles. David M. Csinos offers practical wisdom that will help ministers, worship leaders, parents, and children’s workers to move beyond one-size-fits-all approaches to children’s ministry and begin nurturing the spiritual lives of children in welcoming and inclusive environments.

Messy Church Theology: Exploring the significance of Messy Church for the wider church – Edited by George Lings

This is an exploration of Messy Church and its theological significance for the wider church. Messy Church Theology brings together essays and case studies from a wide range of contributors examining the growth of Messy Church and discussing questions of sustainability, discipleship, all-age church, sacramental, interdenominational, ecumenical and international possibilities, and the future of Messy Church.

Through the eyes of a child: New insights in theology from a child’s perspective – Edited by Anne Richards and Peter Privett

A consideration of key theological themes from one of the most neglected of perspectives – that of children. Honouring Jesus’ command to place the child at the centre, theologians, psychologists and educationalists take us from our comfort zones to look afresh at some of the most grave, difficult and beautiful topics in Christian theology. Challenging conventional readings of theology, this will fascinate and challenge anyone who cares about children and their place in the church.

Children’s Spirituality – Rebecca Nye

This concise guide is an ideal introduction to the increasingly popular topic of children’s spirituality. Mixing theory with tips on ‘good practice’, leading expert Rebecca Nye shows how choices made in churches and homes can stimulate or stifle a child’s spiritual development, exploring: Childhood as a natural source of spirituality Ways to help children value and express their spirituality The role of Christian nurture and worship in early spiritual development.

Children’s Ministry in the way of Jesus – David M. Csinos and Ivy Beckwith

Attract kids to church, the logic often goes, and you get parents in the pews. All that’s left, then, is to get kids out of the way. Not so, say David Csinos and Ivy Beckwith. In Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus they draw on research in human development and spiritual formation to show how children become disciples and churches become centres of lifelong discipleship

Entry Point: Towards Child Theology with Matthew 18 – Haddon Wilmer and Keith J White

In June 2002 a group of Christians met in Penang, Malaysia to explore what was meant by “Child Theology”. One of the outcomes was the request for a book on the subject. Entry Point is the book! It is not an attempt to define the shape and content of Child Theology, but rather a record of a pioneering trip into largely uncharted territory which invites readers to explore what it might mean to receive this child as: • a challenge to radical conversion, • a clue to the truth about the kingdom of God, • a reminder that following Jesus into the kingdom means denying self and taking up the cross, • an encouragement to live in the resilience of resurrection, • a helper in making universal community with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Children in the Bible – Anne Richards

Interweaving analysis with stories about contemporary children and childhood, Anne also touches on issues such as infertility, consumerism and neglect. Each chapter includes questions for reflection and a suggested activity, making the book ideal for individual or group study.

Getting Fired for the Glory of God – Mike Yaconelli

Like the prophets of old, Mike was a blend of the sacred and the profane, the outspoken and the insecure, the gentle lamb and the roaring lion. This paradox lives on in his writing and in his recorded words. In Mike Yaconelli you’ll discover a bold, passionate, and ultimately prophetic voice reminding us to stay focused on Jesus, to hold life lightly, to walk together as we love kids, and to devote ourselves to an outrageously gracious God who loves our souls into being.

The faith of Generation Y – Slyvia Collins-Mayo, Bob Mayo, Sally Nash

Generation Y (those born after 1982) growing up in Britain has had less contact with the Church than any previous generation in living memory. So what interest do young people have in Christianity? How do social influences inform their Christian consciousness? Does belief in God make any difference to them? These are pressing questions for the Church. Using sociological and theological approaches, the authors shed light on these questions.

Inside the Mind of Youth Pastors – Mark Riddle

Some of the most important steps in building a sustainable youth ministry happen even before you begin looking for a youth worker. And once you have a person in place, there are several key things you can do to help develop a healthy youth ministry that includes encouraging your youth worker, engaging teens, and involving parents. This practical book for church leaders will help you think through the issues.

Before you hire a Youth Pastor – Mark Devries and Jeff Dunn-Rankin

This book delivers advice and strategies on topics such as preparing for an exceptional search, screening and researching candidates, building and structuring your search team, conducting effective interviews, communicating proactively and setting up your new youth worker to succeed.

Youth Ministry Books  

Youth Ministry: A Multi-faceted Approach – Edited by Sally Nash

This book explores youth ministry by looking at a range of metaphors for the youth worker, such as ‘flawed hero’, ‘visionary architect’, ‘party planner’ and ‘guardian of souls’. Each chapter takes a metaphor and offers theological reflection, explains the relevant theory and the necessary skills, uses real-life stories from practitioners to bring the metaphor to life, summarizes the key principles and values, gives questions for reflection and makes suggestions for further reading.

Sustainable Youth Ministry – Mark DeVries

Based on his own experience as a youth minister and on his work with churches in crisis, Mark DeVries pinpoints problems that cause division and burnout. He then provides the practical tools and structures needed to lay a strong foundation for ministry – one that isn’t built solely on a youth worker.

Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry – Andrew Root

Andrew Root reviews the history of relational/incarnational youth ministry in American evangelicalism and recasts the practice as one of ‘place-sharing’, not so much ‘earning the right to be heard’ as honouring the human dignity of youth and locating God in their midst.

Mend the Gap – Jason Gardner

As society alters beyond recognition, the gap between young and old threatens to become a deep fracture in the heart of families, communities – and churches. Urgent surgery is required to mend the gap. Resisting simplistic solutions, Jason Gardner deftly analyses the reasons for the growing generation gap, including the role of the church. He provides practical steps forward for church leaders, youth workers and parents.

Sticky Faith: Youth Worker Edition – Dr Kara E. Powell

In Sticky Faith, the FYI research team presents youth workers with both a theological and philosophical framework as well as relationship and programming ideas to develop faith that lasts well beyond the youth group.

Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together—Andrew Root

The youth ministry focus of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life is often forgotten or overlooked, even though he did much work with young people and wrote a number of papers, sermons, and addresses about or for the youth of the church. However, youth ministry expert Andrew Root explains that this focus is central to Bonhoeffer’s story and thought. Root presents Bonhoeffer as the forefather and model of the growing theological turn in youth ministry. By linking contemporary youth workers with this epic theologian, the author shows the depth of youth ministry work and underscores its importance in the church. He also shows how Bonhoeffer’s life and thought impact present-day youth ministry practice.

Youth Ministry Management Tools 2.0—Mike Work and Ginny Olson

Youth Ministry Management Tools 2.0 provides youth ministers and volunteers with helpful insights, advice, and practical resources to successfully manage a youth ministry. You’ll find sample budgets, release forms for trips, and clear direction for screening applicants for volunteer positions. Authors Mike Work and Ginny Olson provide you with quick and accessible answers to all of your management, administrative, and supervisory questions and needs.

Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We Need to Go—Mark Oestreicher

In “Youth Ministry 3.0”, readers will explore why we need change in youth ministry, from a ministry moving away from a dependence on programs, to one that is focused on communion and mission. They’ll get a quick history of youth ministry over the last fifty years. And they’ll help dream about what changes need to take place in order to create the next phase of youth ministry – the future that needs to be created for effective ministry to young people.

Christian Youth Work—Mark Ashton, Phil Moon and Jonathan Carswell

Stats are clear: 1,000 teenagers a week are leaving the church, and support among young people is decaying fast. For every church that has a flourishing youth group, there are three more that have none. This book outlines a strategy for youth work that is both radical and biblical.

Christian Youth Work in Theory and Practice—Edited by Sally Nash and Jo Whitehead

This book provides a comprehensive overview of Christian youth work, drawing together practice, theory and theology in a format which is both engaging and informative. It brings together key youth ministry thinkers and grass-roots practitioners to explore significant themes and issues. Each of the sixteen chapters is followed by a response written from a different perspective, modelling reflective practice and theological reflection.

Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus with Young People—Mark Yaconelli

Mark Yaconelli is co-director of the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, which over the last 8 years has gathered together churches and youth ministers from across North America to explore contemplative prayer, discernment, spiritual direction, covenant community, spiritual practice and Sabbath-living as a way of resourcing ministries with youth. This book offers some of the experience, teaching, praying and thinking behind the project.

Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry—Mark Yaconelli

In Contemplative Youth Ministry Mark Yaconelli presented his own understanding and experience of an approach that addresses the spiritual longings of youth and youth ministers. Growing Souls is an attempt to deepen and expand the conversation regarding contemplative youth ministry by presenting the work of the youth ministry and spirituality project and giving voice to the scholars, youth workers, pastors, and youth who shared in its work.

Foundations for Youth Ministry: Theological Engagement With Teen Life And Culture—Dean Borgman

Dean Borgman, offers a new edition of his influential classic. Reaching a broadly ecumenical audience, this book challenges readers to think about the theological nature of youth ministry. Questions for discussion and reflection are included. This thoroughly updated edition was previously published as When Kumbaya Is Not Enough.

Youth Work From Scratch: How To Launch Or Revitalize A Church Youth Ministry—Martin Saunders

With case studies and principles which address both new projects and those which require a ‘jumpstart’, plus specific chapters which look at how to regenerate an old project, Martin Saunders applies his considerable experience to help. He addresses a host of ‘big picture’ issues such as: envisioning your church; recruiting and training volunteers and different models of youth ministry as well as spiritual ones such as adopting strong spiritual disciplines and soliciting prayer support.

Purpose Driven Youth Ministry—Doug Fields

Balancing both theory and practice this book will help you develop a ministry that equips young people rather than a ministry that coordinates events. “My goal for this book is to coach you through a plan to build a healthy youth ministry that isn’t dependent on one great youth leader and won’t be destroyed when they leave. It’s not a book on how to grow your youth ministry with six easy steps; it’s about identifying, establishing, and building health into your church’s youth ministry.”

Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A Personal and Practical Guide to Starting Right—Doug Fields

This book addresses twelve valuable steps that will help readers take the first steps as they begin their ministry. An invaluable resource for anyone in youth ministry and ideal for first-timers, veterans, or college students in youth ministry.

Youth Ministry in a Multifaith Society—Len Kageler

How do we ground our young people in the faith while encouraging their relationships with friends of other faiths? Veteran youth minister and researcher Len Kageler digs into the data surrounding this exciting multifaith era and offers surprising confidence that our kids can be guided into mature Christian faith while simultaneously learning to love their neighbors of other religions.

Intergenerational Ministry Books

Intergenerational Christian Formation: bringing the whole church together in ministry, community and worship—Holly Caterton Allen and Christine Lawton Ross

In this comprehensive text, Holly Allen and Christine Ross offer a complete framework for intentional intergenerational Christian formation. They provide the theoretical foundations for intergenerationality, showing how learning and spiritual formation are better accomplished through intergenerational contexts. The authors give concrete guidance for how worship, community and service can all be achieved intergenerationally. Case studies of intergenerational congregations provide models for how local churches can create a culture of intergenerationality.

The intergenerational Church—Peter Menconi

In The Intergenerational Church, Peter Menconi shows you why understanding today’s generations is crucial for the survival and thrival of the local church. But understanding the generations is not enough. In this book you will learn how to: – Minimize generational tension. – Get all the generations moving in the same direction. – Develop leaders from all generations. – Deliver intergenerational preaching. – Cultivate intergenerational worship and community. – Stimulate intergenerational mission and outreach.