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Youthwork: Theory & Practice etc.

Theory and practice and other useful titles for Youth Workers.

Rebuilding Youth Ministry

- Ten Practical Strategies For Catholic Parishes

by Christopher Wesley


I read this book as someone who is passionate to see an end result of young people encouraged in their relationship with Jesus and being able to be part of something bigger than themselves. Whilst I accept it is important to let readers know in advance the specific focus of a book (Catholic Parish Youth Ministry), this can sometimes be so niche that the general content is missed by many who could benefit.

Wesley is obviously experienced specifically as a Catholic youth minister, and that is where his focus and heart lies. You can feel his frustration with those who have misunderstood the importance of youth ministry in his and other church parishes combined with his enthusiasm to encourage and equip those who are committed to doing it well. It jumps out of every page.

The practical guidance is brought through his personal experiences of setting up the youth ministry in his own church. He provides guidance for those with different levels of support and backing. He brilliantly cuts straight past the practical issues and starts with the all important heart and purpose of the ministry itself: effectively challenging all to get this right first or waste your time on everything else.

This book would be helpful reading for those involved with youth ministry in any Christian denomination. There are obviously specific Catholic theologies and practices, which may not be right for all. The Catholic church has led the way for centuries in so many aspects of church life, Wesley has reminded Catholics and other denominations alike that youth ministry is a vital part of that.



Review by Barry Mason  (18/08/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: 30 April 2015
ISBN: 978-1-594-71576-1
Paperback
Price: £6.99

To Strengthen and Encourage

- Sharing Faith With Young People

by Patrick Jurd


Patrick Jurd has over thirty years experience teaching in Australian Roman Catholic schools and is currently Director of Faith and Religious Education at Ave Maria College, Aberfeldie. From his wide experience he has produced a valuable book to help communicate Christian faith to young people. He shares his enthusiasm for the Gospel as a parent, teacher and educator in a series of brief reflections written for parents, teachers, clergy and other educators. His themes are inspired by both Lassallian and Franciscan traditions and cover a wide variety of topics from discipleship to liturgy, the Church year to education, and from prayer to spirituality, life choices and relationships; all designed to help and encourage young people build up their Christian faith. A useful book for anyone involved with youth, and particularly church youth, activities.

Review by Graham Wise  (15/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Mosaic Resources distributed by Alban Books
Published: 2013
ISBN: 978-1-743-24041-0
Paperback
Price: £14.99

Giving Up Gimmicks

- Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture

by Brian H Cosby


Wow – what a breath of fresh air in some ways, an acknowledgement that much of youth ministry has become more about entertaining the kids to keep them there rather than evangelising and teaching the kids. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with activity based youth work, I do it, I use puppets with younger ages, I use crafts with mixed ages, I use secular music and film clips with older ones to get over an idea – but at the heart of what we do there has to be a real emphasis on teaching the young the living word of God, in getting them to take it in and really internalise it and not just come out quoting sample bits. Here Cosby uses a reformed tradition term to get this idea over, using 'means of grace' youth ministry, that is to say ministry based around the means of grace that leads to salvation, namely using the Word of God, the sacraments, prayer, service and community action and teaching through these methods and instilling these things into our young people. That's not to say we can't still mix and blend but at the end of the day there has to be more than just jingoistic and fun filled activity at the heart of our mission and ministry with our young. This is a refreshing look at youth ministry and one I think many will actually find they agree with in part and want to action.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (17/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: P&R Publishing from IVP
Published: February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-596-38394-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Youth Ministry

- A Multi-Faceted Approach

by Sally Nash


In this insightful and eminently practical book vivid metaphors are used to define the multi faceted roles of today’s youth workers. The contributors are past and present staff and students of CYM – the Centre for Youth Ministry.
The introduction states its objectives very clearly, ‘This book seeks to equip you to undertake a range of roles within whatever sort of youth ministry you are doing, helping you to become more effective in your work.’ It is unashamedly God-focused, emphasising the importance of the part played by the youth leader’s own faith and sets out to encourage reflective practitioners. To this end questions for reflection are offered at the end of each chapter and a particularly useful resource for this is to be found on pp. xviii and xix of the introduction.
Case studies are frequently and effectively used to illustrate the points made, I particularly appreciated the one in chapter 3 by Simon Davies. This uses the metaphor of ‘visionary architect’ and offers an excellent example of the use of the strategic planning process through the use of a case study.
All too often books such as this abound in theory with little practical resources or guidelines. However, in Youth Ministry the reader will find sound practical guidelines alongside the theory, as in chapter 6 ‘Party Planner’ by Jean Harper. Here we find some useful advice on how to plan a celebration event with and for young people.
I believe that this book will both encourage and equip youth leaders in their ministry and could well prove to be a seminal resource for future training courses.

Review by Chris Low  (22/02/12)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: 10 October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-281-06342-0
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Growing Up

- Biblical Youth Ministry in the Local Church

by Dave Fenton


This is a book that ‘does what it says on the tin’ and will be invaluable to people planning traditional youthwork in the context of the local church. Dave shares his conviction that such groups should be places where young people can:-
Become Christians
Grow as Christians
Live as Christians
Serve as Christians
It explains clearly the need to create integrated youthwork to deliver these aims, and gives ideas and suggestions about content without being too detailed. There is clear encouragement to build bible based principles into each aim, and the writer advocates that the youthwork be integrated into the wider church family rather than developing specific youth congregations.
There is a positive reminder for the need for young people to come and be discipled for a life of faith rather than simply entertained. This is done with a plea for the need to place positive Bible based teaching at the heart of all youth work. Those who favour more ‘issue or needs-based’ content may find some of the assumptions a challenge, but it is a timely reminder that substance matters. This is a good traditional youth work guide which will come into its own when read alongside other books advocating a more relational youth work style to enable readers to appreciate and think through the breadth of possibility for youth ministry rather than simply adopting their own inherited or natural style.

Review by Liz Dumain  (14/02/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: 08 July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-850-78807-2
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Top Tips: on Running Holiday Clubs

- Practical Pointers for Anyone Working with Children and Young People

by Viki Brackpool, Helen Franklin & Steve Hutchinson


Another little quick guide from Scripture Union's Top Tips series, this one offering sane and sensible insight and help on running the Holiday Club, something that can be quite daunting but incredibly tiring fun for any children’s or youth worker. As always it provides a nice overview of why and how Holiday clubs can fit into the churches ministry, how they can outreach in a way other activities may not and best of all practical ideas from the setting up, organising, financing of the club all the way through to a simple idea of how a session might go. This really is an invaluable little booklet, especially for anyone new to the whole Holiday Club ministry.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (26/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-27541-0
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £3.50

Mega Top Tips: On Dealing With Challenging Behaviour

- Practical Pointers for Anyone Working with Children and Young People

by Sue Brown & Alice Langtree


Mega Top Tips are expanded versions of the very good Top Tips series from Scripture Union, however even in mega size they are still small, concise and handy.
The one on challenging behaviour is filled with not only helpful hints on how to deal with the issue but also with helpful insight into what can and may cause such behaviour and as such it makes for a good beginners tool as well as a great helpful refresher for those who have been active in children’s ministry for longer.
The only issue that I had with this one is that ‘Challenging Behaviour’ is largely seen as being a euphemism for naughty behaviour these days and so to see the chapter on ‘Additional Needs’, i.e. Special Needs, included in here was to my mind out of place and inferred really rather the wrong thing even though this was clearly not the intention.
Other than this one concern though, this is a handy little book and well worth adding to any children’s ministry library.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (24/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-27531-1
Stapled booklet
Price: £4.99

Top Tips :On Working With Mixed Ages

- Practical Pointers for Leading Small Groups with a Wide Age Range

by Maggie Barfield & Terry Clutterham


If you mention mixed age groups and/or worship to most of those involved with any type of children’s ministry you will most likely be met with a slight frown, sigh or groan because truthfully it can be one of the hardest things to do. However if you are a member of a smaller church then it’s also entirely likely you are going to have to do mixed age sessions to start with at the very least, and that is where this Top Tips booklet will really come into it’s own. It provides practical help, talks you through the design and plan of a mixed group session and even gives a suggestion for how best to set up a room to be used by a mixed age group. Best of all it’s short and concise and really easy to read, it won’t add to the feeling of being overwhelmed that can frequently come when faced with starting and doing mixed age groups, but will instead help you focus on how, why and what you can do so that you and the children end up having a great experience.
Another invaluable little booklet from the Top Tips series.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (24/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-27542-7
Stapled booklet
Price: £3.50

Top Tips: On Working With Lads

- Practical Pointers for Anyone Working with Children and Young People

by Richard Witham & Maggie Barfield


Another excellent little resource from the Top Tips series produced by Scripture Union.
Slim, easy to follow, practical, concise and invaluable to any church group that wants to include and encourage young lads in their groups – something that is a real challenge these days. Including as it does twenty-five really short but totally key and practical insights into working with lads, a chapter that addresses the gender differences amongst other things and a lads ministry evaluation tool that really asks some key questions, make this is a fantastic little book indeed. Essential for all children’s and youth ministries, even if, - no, especially if - you haven’t got many lads or male leaders! And given how short it is and how little it costs there is no excuse for not having a copy of this invaluable little guide.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (24/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 11 November 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-27567-0
Stapled booklet
Price: £3.50

Conspiracy of the Insignificant



by Patrick Regan & Lisa Hoeksma


It’s the straightforward story of how one young person can make a huge difference if they follow Christ, persevere and keep learning.
Young people don’t always get good PR and sometimes for good reasons. Gang violence, teenage pregnancies, anti-social behaviour, lack of education, employment and general delinquency can all add up to ruining young lives. These issues can be especially entrenched in some of the poorer estates of our nation.
In Conspiracy of the Insignificant the churches response is led by Patrick Regan and his team of school and youth workers for XLP (The Excel Project). This book gives encouragement as to the value of good schools work, the value of young people and the leadership they can bring.

Related website:www.xlp.org.uk/

Review by Phil Whittall  (16/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Kingsway see David C. Cook
Published: 11 November 2007
ISBN: 978-1-842-91369-7
Paperback
Price: £6.99

The Faith of Generation Y: Explorations



by Sylvia Collins-Mayo, Bob Mayo, Sally Nash with Christopher Cocksworth


If you work with young people then this is a fantastic book to read and really does offer forward some quite strong insights into how the younger generation are identifying and reacting to and with faith. This is a crucial understanding that we need to get to grips with if we really want to communicate our faith to them and have them engage with it. I think the chapter on Bedroom Spirituality and Lost in Transmission were perhaps the strongest chapters for me but I expect that different chapters might resonate more with others depending on their engagement with youth and the settings they work in.
It is largely an intelligent and well formed study on Generation Y, with some interesting theological considerations included and an interesting section on Fresh Expressions as well. It is of course in nature biased towards an Anglican audience as one would expect coming from Church House Publishing but nevertheless still relevant to any faith group at its core level. I’m not sure I agree with all their conclusions but I certainly think it is a good book and something people need to read – and not just the youth leaders of the church either.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (14/07/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-715-14206-6
Paperback
Price: £14.99

Street Smart

- Practical Skills for Connecting With Young People

by John Robinson with Jan Greenhough


This book is a must for those interested in doing real youth ministry and reaching outside the captive congregations youth and into the community. Subtitled Practical skills for connecting with young people it really does offer some strong insights and advice on what not to do alongside what to do when working with young people and outreaching. That said is this a ground breaking book? No, it says little not said before, however what it does do is set it out in a clean and concise manner that looks not back at the past but where we are today as a society and how we can work with things as they are. It is not a hearts and flowers book but it is a positive book on the things that can be done to reach the church beyond the boundaries and it is definitely something that is needed. If it reminds me of anything then I think it's probably that it's the equivalent of street pastor training for youth workers and on that level it's great. Definitely one for all churches and essential for new youth ministries.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (30/05/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: January 2011
ISBN: 978-1-854-24903-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dogs’ Tails

- Helping Boys Connect with God

by Carolyn Edwards


The spirituality of a boy’s faith is a challenging thing, so here comes a timely, precious and wise resource. Mindset, resourcing, reason and heart are excellently communicated here by Carolyn Edwards for the sake of a precious generation of boys. The ten spiritual connections that lie at the heart of this title are epic. The dragonfly spirituality and qualities unpacked here are meaty and expressing existence of a child’s formation in God’s likeness. Creativity, theology, sociology and pastoral care are thoroughly explored in this pacey read.
The appendices and other researched notes throughout reflect the depth and trustworthiness of the author. There is conviction: Christ and the child are well integrated for use in schools and children's work across the nation and beyond. Congratulations are due to Edwards and IVP in this valued new offering!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (06/05/11)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-74523-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Lazy, Anti-social and Selfish?

- Stories of Hope From a New Generation

by Gavin Calver & Simeon Whiting


As the title tells you, these are real stories about young people, who in today's society are often seen as uncaring and mindless, even frightening, and certainly not associated with Church. These stories with accompanying comments and thoughts, highlight the difficulties some young people certainly do have, but how they can overcome them and not only help themselves, but also serve the Church and society. Not a “how to” youth work book, but one to inspire a jaded youth worker or to encourage someone to believe youth work is worth the effort. Also, of possible use to hand out to Church Council members considering starting up youth work in their Church.

Review by Carole Burrows  (17/03/10)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-854-24916-6
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Mend the Gap

- Can the Church Reconnect the Generations?

by Jason Gardner


I have to be honest this book is touted as an analysis of the generational gap aimed at youth-workers, Church Leaders and Parents in order to stop the rot, for want of a better term. However for me, though it may be a book for Youth Workers and church -leaders it isn’t one that really helps in the generational rebalance. It is an interesting book for a youth-worker, but (though not simplistic) much of it is obvious and it is biased to the youth with the emphasis being on change being needed within the older generations to solve the problems. Definitely an interesting book for a youth-worker as it does have some good material on youth spirituality and society.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (22/11/08)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: 2008
ISBN: 978-1-844-74284-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Youth Work after Christendom



by Jo and Nigel Pimlott


This is a very helpful consideration of youth work today and a much needed guide. Particularly useful is the exploration of HUP (homogeneous unit principle), which will be useful elsewhere. I love the end about paradox. I think that word opens so many doors and the observations so true and advice helpful. I wrote Grove Paradox in the Gospel and would love to write more about that subject as a means of not only coping about questions of faith, but in finding faith in the first place. So, a book which is most enlightening and full of illustrations about youth work, but with far more implications for other groups of people beyond that.

Review by Jim Currin  (23/10/08)
Jacket
Publisher: Paternoster Press imprint of Authentic Media
Published: July 2008
ISBN: 978-1-842-27605-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Revealed

- A Catholic Youth Formation Ministry Resource

by Karen North, Rebecca Barber, David O’Connell, and John Toryusen


This is an incredible resource to have on hand, aimed at a Catholic market it is nontheless an incrediblly insightful and indepth handbook to have on youth ministry for the sheer view to the contract and strategy that you must now have in any youth ministry. The insight and background material on legal aspects of setting up and running youth ministry is more than ably covered in this book, and the sections on music, media and film use are second to none, going into the copyright issues and more! this book is incredible and worth getting whatever churchmanship you are! oh and the other great thing about it is that it is backed up by a fantastic website with loads more information on it that goes along with the book. Fantastic and comprehensive on all levels.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/04/08)
Jacket
Publisher: Redemptorist Publications
Published: February 2008
ISBN: 978-0-852-31348-0
A4 Paperback
Price: £11.95

Mission-Shaped Youth

- Rethinking Young People and the Church

by Tim Sudworth


In the current climate of Mission Shaped Church this book is an inevitable follow on and necessary addition to that initiative. We can always state that to work with youth and encourage them in their part in the life of the church is vital. This brief yet packed book gives sound advice through case studies, examples, practical exercises and common sense. The book starts with actual stories of young people and their sometimes struggle to make adults understand their special needs. There are examples of working in schools, in clubs, in neighbourhoods, of liturgies which express the needs and desires of youngsters, remembering that young people progress through their understanding of belief and church and have sound ideas of how they wish to worship and express their faith. If you need to discover new ways of youth ministry then this is your book.

Review by Ian Gibson  (09/11/07)
Jacket
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: 2007
ISBN: 978-0-715-14082-6
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Young People + Worship

- A Practical Guide

Edited by Mark Montgomery


This is the next book in the series from Church House Publishing exploring themes of National Youth Strategy. It is not a book for young people, but their leaders, for those who seek some alternative routes to planning and leading worship, always a difficult area, I feel with young people. Many young people have to endure “family services” which are aimed at them but leave them cold; this book connects the Sunday theme and service with what happens for the rest of the week. It also opens a debate about setting aside different days and services for the young, a change from the norm but emphasising the difference of style and content that young people may need to relate to God. Young people do not want to dumb down God but treat their style of worship as a serious alternative. This book gives plenty of resources, ideas, practical hints and tips and case studies of items that have succeeded and some that haven’t. Moreover the book gives us the chance to review what is happening in our neck of the woods and seeing if it is sensible to try something new; I challenge you to read this book carefully and try something different!

Review by Ian Gibson  (09/11/07)
Jacket
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: 2007
ISBN: 978-0-715-14057-4
Paperback
Price: £11.99

Young People + Mission

- A Practical Guide

Edited by Alison and David Booker


This is part one of a series of books which have been commissioned by Church House Publishing to explore the themes of the Church of England National Youth Strategy and are aimed at Youth Workers and leaders who are seeking professional qualifications in this area of work. The contributors are all experienced youth workers and give a breadth of teaching which is full of hints and tips, practical help, guidance for resources, and real life case studies. The mission field for youth is sometimes neglected and treated instead as an add-on to the work in clubs and societies. This book underpins the value of treating young people to work with God in building his kingdom here on earth and tapping the resources and skills of young people. Youngsters work not only in church environments but also in the wider world and to take their mission based belief to others is a vital area of their ministry. As a resource for teachers and workers this series should prove of great value.

Review by Ian Gibson  (09/11/07)
Jacket
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: 2007
ISBN: 978-0-715-14060-4
Paperback
Price: £11.99

Top Tips: On Welcoming Special Children

- Practical Pointers for Anyone Working With Children

by Denise Abrahall


This Top Tips book is excellent indeed, not least because there really is not that much out there on such an important subject, but simply because this book is a short, easy to read and important keynotes booklet on working with Children with learning difficulties and disabilities. It covers all the essentials from understanding what special needs are, the Disability Discrimination Act, and also giving some good ideas on activities to do. It also includes ideas on standard forms to use and a listing of websites for further assistance. This book really is a great book of top tips and recommended for any church or group to use.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/09/07)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 08 August 2005
ISBN: 978-1-844-27126-9
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £2.99

Top Tips: On All-Age Worship

- Practical Pointers for Anyone Working With Children

by Nick Harding


Nick Harding is a well known name in All-age worship materials and this little Top Tips booklet from him really is full of top tips and great ideas. All-age worship can be a bit of a landmine in getting it right for everyone but with the help of this little booklet some of the danger can be removed. It moves from looking at why all age worship, through to the how of all-age worship, and best of all it is in very little chunks making it easy to read and digest for any busy minister or service leader.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/09/07)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 08 August 2005
ISBN: 978-1-844-27125-2
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £2.99

Top Tips: On Handling Difficult Behaviour

- Practical Pointers for Anyone Working With Children

by Graham Finch


This is an excellent and essential little book for any children's or youth worker, or indeed anyone having to work with a group of children (although to be fair some of the tips would work just as well with some troublesome adults as well!). Looking at some of the reasons that may behind the problem behaviour and then how that problem may manifest it then proceeds to give a framework of techniques that can be utilized when dealing with a child manifesting difficult behaviour. This is another hit book in the Top Tips series and an essential tool for anyone coming into working with children.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/09/07)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 10 October 2005
ISBN: 978-1-844-27124-5
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £2.99

Top Tips: On Reaching Unchurched Children

- Practical Pointers for Anyone Working With Children

by Helen Franklin


This is a great little booklet of tips on reaching unchurched children. Written in an informal and yet well presented manner it is a helpful tool for any youth or children’s worker. Including as it does some real life insights as well as ‘how to’ tips it really is a good little tool to have to hand just before trying any outreach. I also liked the little cartoons scattered throughout it that just lift it up a little as well. As part of the Top Tips series it s a great addition to any parish shelf.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/09/07)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: 08 August 2005
ISBN: 978-1-844-27127-6
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £2.99