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: Virus as a Summons to Faith: Biblical Reflections in a Time of Loss, Grief, and Anxiety

Virus as a Summons to Faith: Biblical Reflections in a Time of Loss, Grief, and Anxiety by Walter Brueggemann. Cascade Books. Eugene, OR. 2020. Total pages: 71.

This short booklet came in response to the COVID-19 virus that has impacted the world, including the number one country (in cases and deaths): the United States. Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, known to draw on the messages of the Old Testament prophets and their call for social justice, cobbled some of his previous articles as well as some new creations for a Biblical response to the pandemic.

Read Full Review

Book Review: As Jesus Did... A Unique Look at Small Group Dynamics in Jesus’ Group

As Jesus Did... A Unique Look at Small Group Dynamics in Jesus’ Group by Ricardo Bain. Self-published and available at Amazon. 2020. Total pages: 203.

The author, Pastor Ricardo Bain, already published several books on the topic of small groups. His DMin dissertation focused on small groups. His pastoral ministry incorporates small groups. So he writes from personal, professional, and research perspectives.

Read Full Review

Book Review: Deep Calling: On Being & Growing Disciples

Deep Calling: On Being & Growing Disciples by Tara J. VinCross. AdventSource. Lincoln, NE. 2020. Total pages: 232.

After Tara VinCross completed her doctor of ministry degree at Andrews University, she continued to utilize, shape, revise, and apply her research on spiritual growth. As the senior pastor of the Azure Hills Church in Southern California, she provided small groups with this resource for discipleship. Five years since her graduation, this revised, revised, and revised again version has become a resource for not only her church members, but for others as well.

Read Full Review

Book Review: Communicating with Grace and Virtue: Learning to Listen, Speak, Text, and Interact as a Christian

Communicating with Grace and Virtue: Learning to Listen, Speak, Text, and Interact as a Christian by Quentin J. Schultze. Baker Academic. Grand Rapids, MI. 2020. Total pages: 150.

More and more people find themselves at odds with each other. Social media seems to move us farther apart into separate orbits rather than bringing us closer together. Those in the United States wonder if the hotly divided sides in the current election and its aftermath will ever cool off as racial tensions, economic uncertainty, and a pandemic throttle us toward what seems like civil war or Armageddon.

Read Full Review

Book Review: Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted A Faith and Fractured a Nation

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted A Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes du Mez. Liveright Publishing Corporation. New York. 2020. Total pages: 386.

Jesus and John Wayne fits the “must read” category for those open to having the idea of American Christianity tested by the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels. While the USA faces a highly divided presidential election with attacks and sharply drawn lines, some have resorted to a favorite issue galvanizing them without considering other factors that could temper their passionate conviction.

Read Full Review

Book Review: Everything Is Spiritual: Who We Are and What We’re Doing Here

Everything Is Spiritual: Who We Are and What We’re Doing Here by Rob Bell. St. Martin’s Essentials. New York, NY. 2020. Total pages: 307.

Those who have been in youth ministry for a decade or more are likely to recognize the name Rob Bell. A favorite speaker at previous Youth Specialties events and the Nooma series of videos, Bell broke onto the youth ministry scene as an ADD speaker with depth, charisma, and irreverent challenges to the status quo—all things those in youth ministry typically approve. Who wouldn’t admire and maybe even feel jealousy, if not amazement, at someone who planted a church that quickly grew to 10,000 in attendance in a matter of months? What drew so many people so quickly? Bell preached on the book of Leviticus! Seriously?!

Read Full Review

Book Review: Understanding & Relating to African American Youth: A Toolkit for Intergenerational Conversation

Understanding & Relating to African American Youth: A Toolkit for Intergenerational Conversation by Fuller Youth Institute. Published by Fuller Youth Institute, 2019. Total pages: 25.

The authors are well suited to write this book. For years they have set the standard for youth ministries around the world. Year after year the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) has been on the cutting edge of conducting research as well as providing materials and resources for youth ministries from a non-denominational perspective. FYI created a series of books under the title How to Talk to Any Young Person: An Intergenerational Conversation Toolkit, and included this title as one in a collection for a variety of ethnic groups.

Read Full Review

Book Review: Understanding & Relating to Asian American Youth: A Korean-English Bilingual and Intergenerational Conversation Toolkit

Understanding & Relating to Asian American Youth: A Korean-English Bilingual and Intergenerational Conversation Toolkit by Fuller Youth Institute. Published by Fuller Youth Institute, 2019. Total pages: 37.

This pamphlet is a useful tool in helping churches to better understand Asian-Americans and to minister to them. It’s available in both English and in Korean. It begins by defining “Asian-Americans” and explains how to better understand the mindset of this particular culture. It addresses the difficulties and challenges that Asian-Americans go through in this country as others label them with certain stereotypes. The two stereotypes mentioned in the pamphlet are the “model minority myth” and the “perpetual foreigner label.”

Read Full Review