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: 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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Book Review: Sticky Faith Innovation

Sticky Faith Innovation by Steven Argue and Caleb Roose. Fuller Youth Institute. Pasadena, CA. 2021. 270 pages.

When was the last time you had a “good idea” and tried it in youth ministry? How did it go?  Truth be told, not every idea we have is a good one, right? And yet we still need to bring creativity into the intersection of teens’ lives and the story of Jesus.  What if you had a process—a way to help you and your team be more creative, to minister to young people in ways that were more … innovative. And what if this innovation helped you/your team/your teens become more of who God wants us to be? Does this interest you?

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Book Review: Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference

Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference edited by Timothy Keller and John Inazu. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN. 2020. Total pages: 199.

“Are you for us or against us?” Such a question might not be said outright, but the current climate, at least in America, keeps this close to the surface. Whether the issue is race, politics, sexual identity, immigration, pandemic attitudes and practices, or economic policy and hierarchy, we seek solidarity while we live in a world of differences. Social media pushes this exponentially.

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Book Review: Permission To Feel: Unlocking The Power Of Emotions To Help Our Kids, Ourselves, And Our Society Thrive

Permission To Feel: Unlocking The Power Of Emotions To Help Our Kids, Ourselves, And Our Society Thrive by Marc Brackett. Celadon Books: New York, NY. 2019. Total pages: 292.

Society has recognized the value of the Intelligent Quotient (IQ) in academics, job placements and assessments of intellectual disabilities. On the other hand, Emotional Intelligence (also known as Emotional Quotient—EQ) is an emerging science contending for a place of its own among scholars and even demonstrating, arguably, a more relevant role in predicting professional success (215). The same can be said at home and school, “30 percent of elementary and middle school students now experience adjustment problems severe enough to require regular counseling. In economically disadvantaged schools, this runs as high as 60 percent” (14). Higher levels of EQ are correlated with lower levels of stress, higher levels of job satisfaction, and a more fulfilled life overall.

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Book Review: Solo Mom: From Surviving to Thriving

Solo Mom: From Surviving to Thriving by Pamela Consuegra. AdventSource: Lincoln, NB. 2020. Total pages: 121.

It’s reality—single moms. For some, this came about because of an untimely death of their partner. For many, divorce or separation or desertion has left a mom playing the role of both parents. An increasing number of moms simply have never married, and the biological father may, or may not, be in the picture. With 15 million single pa5ent homes in the United States, and more than 80 percent of these led by single moms, you likely know some, or maybe you are one in this large demographic.

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Book Review: Solo Dad: From Surviving to Thriving

Solo Dad: From Surviving to Thriving by Claudio Consuegra. AdventSource: Lincoln, NB. 2020. Total pages: 135.

No one expects that solo dads will ever be solo moms, and vice versa. Drs. Claudio and Pamela Consuegra, co-directors for family life for the North American Division, wrote separate books on this topic. Each wrote specifically for those of their respective gender—single mom or single dad. As mentioned already in the book review for Solo Mom, the material would be helpful for all people, not just single moms or, in this case, single dads.

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Book Review: The Post-Quarantine Church: Six Urgent Challenges + Opportunities That Will Determine the Future of Your Congregation

The Post-Quarantine Church: Six Urgent Challenges + Opportunities That Will Determine the Future of Your Congregation by Thom S. Rainer. Tyndale. Carol Stream, IL. 2020. Total pages: 111.

With no claim of a magical, Christian crystal ball, Thom Rainer believes some handwriting has already been written on the walls. Even though many people maintain a wait-and-see posture regarding ministry during and after the coronavirus pandemic, those who venture forward are the ones most likely to capitalize on the next chapter of life as it unfolds. Admittedly, there will be mistakes and miscues, but several things indicate trajectories that pastors and congregations can note right now.

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Book Review: Gen Z, Vol 2: Caring for Young Souls and Cultivating Resilience

Gen Z, Vol 2: Caring for Young Souls and Cultivating Resilience by Barna Group and Impact 360 Institute. Barna Group. Ventura, CA. 2021. Total pages: 79.

Barna, in conjunction with Impact 360 Institute, published Gen Z in 2018. As a sequel, Gen Z Vol 2, serves as a follow-up due to on-going research. It’s also wise to update a generational overview as the generation continues to come of age. And a lot of changes occur as this cohort moves through its teen years. For some of the reporting, Barna divided the group into teens (ages 13-17) and young adults (ages 18-21). If you’re a bit older than that, you are either on the cusp or hanging onto the coattails of the Millennials.

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Book Review: The Future of Christian Marriage

The Future of Christian Marriage by Mark Regnerus. Oxford University Press. New York, NY. 2020. Total pages: 268.

Mark Regnerus, University of Texas sociologist, has dedicated his career to the study of sexual behavior, family, marriage, and religion. He is on a quest to discover the state of marriage in churchgoing Christians–Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox, and Pentecostals–not only in the United States but also in seven other countries: Mexico, Spain, Poland, Russia, Lebanon, and Nigeria. Religious traditions influenced the decision to include these particular countries.

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Book Review: The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus

The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus by Rich Villodas. WaterBrook. Colorado Springs, CO. 2020. Total pages: 219.

Most books on spiritual formation describe the importance of personal piety and even a monastic withdrawal from regular life in order to spend time with God. Various spiritual practices get explained, followed by a challenge for the reader to follow suit.

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