Conversations with young people are never easy. Deep discussions become even more complicated when adults need to understand issues from the perspective of young people. It seems the challenge gains greater significance with non-doctrinal topics. Sadly, the Adventist church lacks a reputation for talking about social issues. Mental health (59), LGBT+ lifestyle (67), and Human trafficking (51) for many within the church remain taboo topics. Mentioning these topics within the church context often gets relegated to a quick-fix answer: sinful consequences. Such an approach leaves adults and youth leaders without the necessary tools to reconcile the church and social issues with our youth. However, many young people today, especially members of Gen Z, thrive when it comes to discussing, denouncing, and engaging in social issues. The lack of information created a gap that begs for a presentation of such topics from a Biblical and academic perspective. This book intends to help shorten that gap.
In order to be effective in ministry to youth and young adults it is important to be reading books that are currently relevant to the culture we live in. This webpage is dedicated to the advancement and continued education of youth and young adult leaders. Each month we will be posting book reviews that have been provided by Adventist youth professionals. These are books that have been published recently—within the past few years. We encourage you to read through the page book reviews. This will help you determine if you would want to get one of these books for more in-depth learning or read another current book that may not be listed here. Happy reading – happy learning!
Note: if you are interested in providing a book review please email Dr. Steve Case.
The XYZ of Discipleship: Understanding and Reaching Generations Y & Z by Allan, Nick, and Marjorie Allan. Malcolm Down Publishing Ltd. 2020. 232 pages.
The churches in today’s Western culture face a significant task of reaching and raising the next generations—young people often overlooked or misunderstood but are critical to the future of current society and Christianity—with the gospel. The XYZ of Discipleship was born from years of steadfast commitment and learning from living and breathing young adult culture. Its overall goal provides much-needed insight into the issues the church faces in discipling Generations Y and Z.
Understanding Faith Formation: Theological, Congregational, and Global Dimensions by Mark Maddix, Jonathan Kim, and James Estep Jr. Baker Academic. Grand Rapids, MI, 2020. Total pages: 144.
You might find the book title inviting or intimidating. The word “faith” certainly grabs the attention of many youth and young adult leaders. “Understanding” might sound promising or hollow—perhaps based on your own experience from previous proclamations promising an understanding of faith. But that word “formation” scares some while it entices others. The subtitle grabs academics, but might lose others. The three co-authors all completed their doctorates at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and all three are ministry professors and/or administrators in various evangelical schools. Consider this an academic perspective on growing faith, from an evangelical perspective. The book isn’t long, and it’s not a difficult read; but you will need to focus your attention while reading it. They stated their target group as educators, pastors, and church leaders, to provide understanding and to practice their faith more deeply. This sounds hopeful and helpful.
Enjoying the Bible: Literary Approaches to Loving the Scriptures by Matthew Mullins. Baker. Grand Rapids, MI. 2021. Total pages: 194.
On a scale of 1-10, how much do you “love” reading Scripture? Do you experience guilt because you don’t seem to read it enough, or you don’t get enough out of your reading?
6 Big Questions for God: And His Surprising Answers by Lori Peckham. AdventSource. Lincoln, NE. 2020. Total pages: 113.
What questions do you have for God? Have they already been answered? Are you still in search of answers? Are they the types of questions that have no answer, or do you simply need to wait longer, maybe until you see Jesus face-to-face?
The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything by Michio Kaku. Doubleday. New York. 2021. Total pages: 198.
The book title sounds spiritual. The subtitle draws on the scientific search in physics from the past century. Why include something like this for youth and young adult ministries?
Book Review: The Pandemic Population: Eight Strategies to Help Generation Z Rediscover Hope After Coronavirus
The Pandemic Population: Eight Strategies to Help Generation Z Rediscover Hope After Coronavirus by Tim Elmore. Poet Gardener Publishing. Atlanta. 2020. Total pages: 108.
None of us were around 100 years ago for the previous pandemic, so we’re woefully unprepared to deal with it now in our minds, hearts, or souls. We just want it over; but it’s not. We pray and wish for it to end, but it hasn’t. We argue about masking or not masking, getting vaccinated or not, science or faith, care for others or personal freedom, but we continue to be dominated by a virus that we can’t see, but can see its effects. That could be eerily spiritual in some senses.
The End of Adolescence: The Lost Art of Delaying Adulthood by Nancy E. Hill and Alexis Redding. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 2021. Total pages: 219.
Titles such as The Child-Man, Failure to Launch, and The Peter Pan Syndrome describe a generation delaying adulthood. Popular and academic media seem to blame the overprotective and controlling demeanor of “helicopter” or “snowplow” parents for such developmental delay. Furthermore, Gen Z’s delay in reaching adulthood often gets contrasted to Baby Boomers–the post-World War II generation–since Baby Boomers generally met the adulthood markers much earlier than Gen Z does today. The authors argue that the circumstances that surrounded the post-WWII generation–The GI Bill of Rights, a booming economy, and housing accessibility, among other factors–made that decade for that generation atypical (3, 184).
Digital Discipleship & Evangelism by Jamie Domm. AdventSource. Lincoln, NE. 2020. Total pages: 206.
How tech-savvy are you? Typically young people rate higher than most older people. Personnel at the North American Division (NAD) fit into the latter category rather than the former one. Imagine the challenge Jamie Domm had to move NAD toward digital ministry. Kudos to NAD for hiring Jamie, and for producing this robust resource for individuals, churches, and church leaders to make the paradigm shift to the digital age.
Book Review: Engage All Generations: A Strategic Toolkit for Creating Intergenerational Faith Communities
Engage All Generations: A Strategic Toolkit for Creating Intergenerational Faith Communities Edited by Cory Seibel. Abilene Christian University Press: Abilene, TX. 2021. Total pages: 239.
In the past few decades, leaders in youth ministry have seen their target group enlarge to include two age segments: youth (teens) and young adults (post-high school or 20-somethings). Those in children’s ministry rarely receive professional status even though all people get shaped profoundly during this stage (or stages) of life. But the new perspective of an Intergenerational Church harkens back to pre-Industrial Revolution times (about the beginning of the United States as an independent country). This resurgence, fueled largely by leaders in children’s ministry and youth ministry, aims to include all generations mutually interacting for the purpose of spiritual growth and community/fellowship.
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