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The Secret to Quality Time with Your Kids
by Jonathan McKee

“Dad, do you have to work now, or can you just hang with me?”

Let’s be honest. How often does a 17-year-old girl ask to hang out with Dad? Or let me ask a more important question: how often does Dad say “yes”?

Well, when my daughter Ashley asked me this question this week, all my instincts told me to say no. I had three articles due in the next two days, including one due the next morning. Not to mention a bunch of administrative tasks I needed to accomplish by the week’s end. It would have been very difficult to drop all that and just hang with my daughter. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

JONATHAN'S BLOG: CONTEST- What are your top three?
A few weeks ago I was sitting with a group of youth workers and one of them asked me, “What are the top three youth ministry books you’d recommend we read, if we could only buy three?”

Great question.

This one caused me to pause for a few moments, after all, I’ve read a variety of insightful books that have helped me through my years of youth ministry (that lot in the picture are a pretty good bunch). But which three have proved foundational?

I’ll list the three books I shared with those youth workers that evening, and then I’ll ask you the same. What three youth ministry books have been the most influential and foundational for your ministry? (I’ll even make this a contest—chime in with a comment below sharing your top three and I’ll randomly choose three people as winners next week and they get their choice of any of my books!)

  1. Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, Doug Fields—this book forces youth workers to seek the “why” behind the ministry methods they use. No more Wednesday nights because “We’ve always done Wednesday nights.” What is your purpose behind Wednesday nights? Who will you reach? How? I first read this book before I knew Doug, in fact, before I even knew “of” Doug. I was amazed with its vision and practicality. If you haven’t read it, grab a copy now. Fantastic book! Still as relevant today as the day it was written.

  2. Connect, Jonathan McKee—this book not only lays out the Biblical groundwork for relational ministry, it provides the reader with tools to connect with the different types of young people they’ll encounter in today’s world of growing technological isolation. I’m passionate about this book because I’m passionate about teaching youth workers to recognize six types of kids (you probably have seen the video on YouTube), and seek out venues that put them in contact with all of them. This is the same book that provides youth workers with the stickynote training, a tool that helps us stay accountable to outreach and discipleship in our community. Be sure and grab this one if you missed it.

  3. Dare 2 Share, Greg Stier—maybe it’s the fact that my first 10 years of youth ministry were on the front lines in campus ministry. Maybe it’s the fact that this book is still practical in my adult life sharing my faith with my neighbors and relatives. Maybe it’s the fact that Greg’s passion to share the Gospel is so contagious, it bleeds from the pages and compels you to “always be prepared to give an answer” as well as living a life where people “ask you to give a reason for the hope within you.” (I Peter 3:15-18). This book is truly a field guide for sharing your faith, even providing sections on how to share with people from different religions. Practical, practical, practical. Get this book.

So what about you? What youth ministry books were the most practical and influential… and why?

Don’t forget the contest—chime in with a comment below sharing your top three and I’ll randomly choose three people as winners next week and they get their choice of any of my books!
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Appearance Takes Its Toll on Young Girls
David R. Smith

It’s no secret that today’s girls are bombarded with images and messages about their physique and appearance. From TV and movie icons to magazine covers and popular music, our world has a lot to say to girls about how they look.

Without a doubt, our girls are paying close attention...
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