Hello. My name is Josh Watford and I’m a “small” church youth pastor.

I put small in quotation marks because small is bigger than you might think. From several different sources, we have found out that the average sized church has around 75 people sitting in the pews on Sunday mornings. My church has more than that, however, most people would still call it a small church. Other studies have found that the average youth group size is 8. I have more than that yet many people would still call it small.

I say those things to encourage you. Your church and youth group are most likely normal sized. Don’t be discouraged because you don’t have as many people in chairs as the church down the street. There some incredible strengths of small church ministry.

The following books have been extremely helpful in understanding the strengths of small church youth ministry and allowing me to do small church youth ministry. Some are specifically for small youth groups but others are really helpful and practical. I have chosen to link the books to where you can buy them, look at reviews, and decide if they are best for you and your ministry. These are in no particular order.

Youth Ministry Philosophy

  1. Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide edited by Cameron Cole and Jon Nielson


  2. Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches: Secrets for Cultivating a Dynamic Youth Ministry by Rick Chromey and Stephanie Caro


  3. Sticky Faith: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers by Kara Powell, Brad Griffin, and Cheryl Crawford


  4. Adoptive Youth Ministry: Integrating Emerging Generations into the Family of Faith edited by Chap Clark


  5. Simple Student Ministry: A Clear Process for Strategic Youth Discipleship by Eric Geiger and Jeff Borton


  6. Make It Last: Proven Principles for Effective Student Ministry by Jeff Lovingood


  7. As You Go: Creating a Missional Culture of Gospel-Centered Students by Alvin Reid


Practical Helps

  1. Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A Personal and Practical Guide to Starting Right by Doug Fields


  2. 99 Thoughts for Smaller Church Youth Workers: Doing More with Less by Stephanie Caro


  3. Youth Ministry Management Tools 2.0: Everything You Need to Successfully Manage Your Ministry by Mike Work and Ginny Olson


  4. Youth Ministry Nuts & Bolts: Organizing, Leading, and Managing Your Youth Ministry by Duffy Robbins


  5. The Handbook on Counseling Youth: A Comprehensive Guide for Equipping Youth Workers, Pastors, Teaching, Parents by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler


Teaching (For You)

  1. The 7 Best Practices for Teaching Teenagers the Bible by Andy Blanks


  2. The Youth Worker’s Guide to Creative Bible Study by Karen Dockery


  3. Do It!: Active Learning in Youth Ministry by Thom and Joani Schultz


  4. Choosing to Preach: A Comprehensive Introduction to Sermon Options and Structures by Kenton Anderson


Discipleship (For Them)

  1. Experiencing God: Student Edition by Henry Blackaby and Claude King


  2. 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders


  3. I Am A Disciple: A 40-Day Student Discipleship Journal by LeaderTreks


  4. Multiply: Disciples Making Disciple by Francis Chan


I hope these have been helpful. There’s so much I could say about all of them and the impact they have had on me and my ministry. However, I will allow you to sort through them yourself and come to your own decisions about them.

What are some of the books that have most impacted your ministry? Let us know!


Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s