If You’re In Ministry…

A few weeks back, I got a call from one of the guys at our local Baptist Association asking me if I would help teach some volunteers about student ministry. I thought to myself, “What do I have to give? I’ve only been in ministry for about a decade. Surely there are folks out there more equipped than I am.”

As I prepared for the 2-hour session, I realized that I could give them this:

Even though I’m not as equipped as other veterans in the ministry (not saying I’m a veteran by any means!), I am more equipped than the guy who gets the call at 9pm the night before, saying, “Hey, Fred, the other guy called in sick. Can you speak to the students tomorrow morning?”

So, that’s a list of books that I think that anyone starting in ministry should own, read, and take notes on.


Look at ’em.

If you’re in ministry, you need to know how to effectively communicate.

A lot of people think that they can “wing it” when they’re speaking, but you and I both know that wastes our time and theirs. Hot air is only useful for balloon races. So, if you’re in ministry, you better learn how to speak to people. What better way than to use a clear, concise method?

If you’re in ministry, you’ve got to have a strategy.

I’ve seen people “fly by the seat of their pants” before (heck, I was one when I first started out). They’re the ones who say “That sounds great! Let’s do that.” Every time. There’s no direction. There’s no strategy. And then ministry becomes disconnected. Fields’
Purpose Driven Youth Ministry and Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry help combat that.

If you’re in ministry, you’ve got to know how to minister.

That’s where Group’s Emergency Response Handbook comes in. When I first started in ministry, I never could have imagined what to do in certain situations. Topics like, “What to do if someone is considering suicide” or “How to love students through a crisis pregnancy” and “Ministering to people who are stressed out” can be really overwhelming if you’ve never experienced that before. Thankfully, Group has a book to help you.

Finally, if you’re in ministry, you’ve got to be in love with Jesus and grounded in your faith.

If you’re in ministry, you’ve got to develop (and have) a passionate journey with Jesus. That’s a must. People can tell what’s important to you, and if Jesus isn’t important to you, they’ll notice. Crazy Love helps you navigate through your spiritual journey.

And Dug Down Deep helps you get grounded. Not many people have a weekend free that they can read Grudem or Hodge or any other systematic theologian. If you want a quick, easy-to-read book on theology, pick up DDD.

Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive. What would you include?


2 thoughts on “If You’re In Ministry…

  1. I would include “Let the Nations Be Glad” by John Piper. As ministers, it’s important for us to remember that we’re not just called to a localized mission at our respective churches; we’re a part of God’s global mission to save a people for Himself from all nations. It’s easy to lose sight of that in the busy and sometimes hectic life of the minister.

    • Cody, I agree! Before I started at William Carey, I had never heard of John Piper (crazy, I know!). But I am so glad that I read that book. His take on missions and ministry (as discussed in that book) is invaluable to ministers. A great read! (and thanks for pointing that out)

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