This post is part of a series of guests posts entitled “Favorite Things”. We talked to a bunch of youth ministers across the country and got them to send in some of their favorite tools and resources they’re using in their ministry.
Want to submit your own? Send them to [email protected].
This is in no way an exhaustive list, but three things that have made me a better youth minister are:
The Soul of the Apostolate
This book by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard has been on my shelf since my second year in ministry, when I found it in a pile of books my mother had scavenged from the local thrift store. (She goes in and purchases everything that looks good, fearing that censorship of good religious books is just around the corner. Should that ever happen, the piles in her laundry room could replenish a seminary library.) It’s by far the best book on personal spirituality for those in ministry and the first thing I suggest to everyone because no other resource will be any good for you to use if you lose your soul.
This isn’t so much a resource as an organization, but I think it’s one that anyone in ministry should be aware of. It’s an international network of clubs who seek to improve the communication skills of it’s members through peer evaluation. This is done through prepared and extemporaneous speeches. This group gives anyone an opportunity to work on their weaknesses in public communication and, in the case of youth ministers, this is something that we need to be constantly seeking to improve so that we can more effectively share the gospel.
Rediscover Catholicism or The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality
I keep multiple copies of both this book and DVD/CD by Matthew Kelly in my office to give to parents, older teens and volunteers who have basic questions about “Why be Catholic?” Kelly gets right to the heart of how Catholicism helps us to be the best version of ourselves– not starting from the point of apologetics (which certainly has a place) but from the desire we all have to be happy and how Catholicism is the answer to that. You can actually get the book FREE from DynamicCatholic.com. (While you’re there, check out another great book that can be purchased in bulk, “How to find your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul” by Jason and Christelina Evert– a great book for every girl you know, teen or adult).