Book Reviews

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.

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.

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Book Review: The End of Adolescence: The Lost Art of Delaying Adulthood

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).

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Book Review: Digital Discipleship & Evangelism

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.

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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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Book Review: 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager: Making The Most Of Your Conversations And Connections

3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager: Making The Most Of Your Conversations And Connections by Kara Powell and Brad M. Griffin. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI. 2021. Total pages: 294.

Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) provides resources for youth ministry practitioners by turning academic research into practical guides. Kara Powell and Brad Griffin took on the enormous task of dissecting the theory of development while pairing it with teen discipleship research.[i] Tacitly, they modeled the inseparability of both. Remarkably, the research took 2200 surveys, 27 in-depth interviews and a robust literature review, all completed over a two year period.

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Book Review: Back-Pocket God: Religion and Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults

Back-Pocket God: Religion and Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults by Melinda Lundquist Denton and Richard Flory. Oxford University Press: New York, NY. 2020. Total pages: 247.

Back-Pocket God presents the results and analysis for the last year of the The National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR), a 10-year longitudinal research project of youth in the Unites States. Originally this study engaged 3,370 representative 13-17 year-olds and their parents in 2002-2003. In addition, researchers personally interviewed 267 of the teens to add more texture to their findings. You may have read about this in the 2005 publication Soul Searching by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton (Smith’s doctoral student at that time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). In the first publication Smith created the term “moralistic therapeutic deism” to describe the generic religion of most American teens. This included a belief in some type of deity not too involved in one’s life except when you needed it to make sure you are happy, having an internal sense of right and wrong without being able to articulate it, and an expectation that good people go to heaven when they die. A second wave of research in 2005 yielded Souls in Transition, and then the third wave in 2008 reported its findings in A Faith of Their Own. Following these same teens (and some now in their 20s), Smith and his team surveyed thousands and personally interviewed hundreds of these young people.

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Book Review: Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation

Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation by Christian Smith and Amy Adamczyk. Oxford University: New York, NY. 2021. Total pages: 244.

Both the title and subtitle grab the attention of many parents and religious leaders, especially those concerned about not passing on their faith to the next generation. While transmitting one’s faith to the next generation can’t be guaranteed, most would like to “stack the deck” in their favor. The concern seems to be perpetual rather than new. For example, Roger Dudley’s Passing on the Torch: How to Pass Your Spiritual Values on to Your Children and Teens carries a publication date of 1986 from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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