Frequently someone asks what books I would recommend on youth ministry or parenting. They are generally the same books. While there are some good books on youth ministry, the most helpful to youth ministry are those on the family. Whether you are a parent, a youth pastor, or a pastor, I would urge you to read everything you can on biblical parenting and working with young hearts. Over the years, these are a few books that have been profoundly helpful to me as a parent and youth pastor. I encourage you to read and pass along the information found in these books:
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp—This is probably the best book I’ve ever read on parenting and deserves to be read by parents every couple of years, no matter the age of your children. Portions of this book deal with infancy, childhood, and then teen years, but the entire book teaches a parent how to focus on the heart and not merely the behavior. The strength of this book is that it is thoroughly biblical and that it gives parents a clear understanding of the vital biblical principles that pertain to parenting.
Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp—This book builds on the material presented in Shepherding a Child’s Heart, and focuses specifically on how parents and other influencers can implant biblical truth and a godly though process within the hearts of our children. I love Tedd Tripp’s biblical approach to developing the heart!
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker—This book was given to me by a pastor friend and it deeply challenged me in my relationship with my daughter. Meg Meeker is a physician and the book, though Judeo-Christian in value, is primarily written from the experiences that Mrs. Meeker has had in dealing with families from the view of her medical practice. Every man with a daughter should read this book. It substantiates the principles of Scripture with the real-life experiences of a family physician.
Parenting by the Book by John Rosemond—I purchased this book a few years ago and worked through it in my personal time. The message of the book is that parenting by the Bible still works. The most powerful aspect of this book, in my life, was Rosemond’s explanation of authority and biblical discipline. He explains “the rod” of authority in a way that powerfully impacted me permanently in my own home. He also does a great job in dealing with heart transformation versus mere behavior modification. There were many portions of this book that I underlined, came back to, and shared with my wife.
Parenting Today’s Adolescent by Dennis Rainey—This book has been a standard in my library as a reference for teen parents for years. The book opens with much practical wisdom and then explores the traps of the teen years. As a youth pastor and parent, every page of this book resonated in my heart with wisdom and truth. One of the best aspects of this book is that it helps the parent lead the teen to develop personal convictions! This vital dynamic of training is absent in many Christian homes today.
As with most books but the Bible, I would give a disclaimer that I could not endorse everything about these books or the authors listed. I encourage the reader to read with Holy Spirit–led discernment and biblical wisdom. But generally these books deal with vital parenting issues biblically and practically. I pray they will be helpful tools to your home and ministry.