This Year… The Year of YL Books!


Over the summer I normally try to post a couple things that I learned over the previous school year. If you have anything you learned from last year that you would like to tell me about, send it my way smcgever (at) pv dot younglife dot org.

Since college I’ve always been a bit of a bibliophile (also a logophile if you want to look it up). So I was disappointed that at one of my first all staff YL trainings an experienced staff person stood up and told us all, “One thing YL staff are not known for is writing books… as a group we like to be with people!” He asked us all if we knew of any good YL books. Other than one or two of the YL published books, I could not think of any at that time. That was a while ago, but sadly, in my opinion, not much has changed.

In the past year a few books have come up through the YL sources, which was music to my ears. I’ve read them all, except one, and just wanted to bring them to your attention.

The most obvious YL related book is Love Does by Bob Goff. I don’t need to say much more about it because you probably know all about, if not you can follow his Twitter feed and get frequent updates. It is certainly a fun read.

The book I wish more YL people knew about is Letters to a Young Life Leader by Bob Mitchell. If you don’t know, Bob Mitchell was a past president of YL and a living legend. If you are looking for a great resource for your leaders for the upcoming year, this would be my top recommendation. The chapters are short, clear, challenging, and important. If you don’t already have a plan for next year, I’d suggest you use it for your team meetings each week before club, just read one chapter aloud and ask a follow up question. What Jesus Calling has done to simply being a summer staff coordinator (instant SS meeting prep!), Letters to a Young Life Leader has done for team meetings. 😉

The only book I haven’t read on this list is Prized Possession by Alan Smyth and Kristy Fox, but I would like to! The authors are great people and have written this book to help the relationship between fathers and their daughters. They also have a twitter feed, blog, both of which are great, and even a t-shirt that went viral! It technically is not about YL, but any YL leader, or father, would certainly benefit from their writing.

The last YL related book is by Bill Starr, the second president of YL (and not too long ago was my neighbor!). It is called A Season for Reflection. This would be a book more for those who are already familiar with the history of YL, and those who know they are part of the YL legacy of Bill. It is a memoir of sorts, of YL, but also of his family and life lessons.

One last book I’d like to mention is not from a YL person, but a friend of YL, What it Means to Be a Man, by Rhett Smith. Rhett was a college minister at Bel Air Presbyterian and now is a marriage and family counselor. I was privileged to read an advanced copy of this book and write a recommendation for the back cover. The chapters are short, the content is solid, and it moves beyond simply trying to “man-up”. It could be good for a senior guys campaigner group or a small group of guy leaders.

I hope this trend continues! I know there is a lot of wisdom out there in our mission that would bless others significantly… maybe you should start writing now!

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