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This Isn’t Rocket Surgery: 5 Books Every Youth Pastor Must Read by: Dr. Jay Strack

During a recent SLU a young man gave me what I think was a great compliment, Your sessions this week have shown me that this isnt rocket surgery, even I can be a leader. Well, I had to agree it wasnt rocket surgery. In fact, Ive never heard the term, and I remember thinking that he may have needed a couple more sessions. But as we seek to reach and keep this millennial generation, its not rocket surgery but I do believe we need to definitely sharpen the saw both professionally and personally.

Id like to recommend five books that may seem unusual to recommend to youth pastors but these books have imprinted my life and I promise they could do the same for you. These recommendations are based on a grand assumption, that youre rooted and grounded in the Scriptures and as the result; youre bearing fruit that lasts.

1. The One-Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

This book is a concise, easily read story that reveals three secrets: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands. By the book’s end you will know how to apply them to your own situation and enjoy the benefits. The great takeaway for me personally was to quit moving pieces of paper around and if possible touch something only once.

2. Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard

This is a simple parable that will rock your world. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want in life, whether its a good job, loving relationship, money, possession, prominence, health or a spiritual peace of mind. Its the most effective book Ive read on dealing with change. Since we deal with constant and turbulent change, this is a stress reliever.

3. Thinking for a Change – John Maxwell

This amazing book is a whack upside the head that will help you unleash the ability to focus, enthusiasm and the power of shared thinking. A special note: I would read anything John Maxwell writes, his fingerprints are all over my life and ministry.

4. The Little Red Book of Wisdom – Mark DeMoss

DeMoss, in this most practical and motivational book allows us to think clearly and deeply. It lists 23 habits that must be in your DNA. I know, because unfortunately my gene pool was awfully shallow in some of these most critical areas.

5. A Team of Rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin

An amazing insight into Lincolns political genius, how a prairie lawyer rose from obscurity and won the nomination over the far more highly gifted and educated national figures. The bottom line is, Lincoln had the extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of others to, experience what they were feeling and to understand their motives and desires. For the greater good he laid aside pettiness, revenge and his own hurt. They created the most unusual cabinet in history and marshaled their talents to preserve the union and win the war. These former competitors became loyal and crucial friends and shaped the most significant presidency in our nations history.

I strongly recommend these books because our team is down three to one in the playoffs.

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