Summer is upon us! Depending on where you live, the weather may still be a little iffy (we’ve had everything ranging from cold, rain, scorching heat, thunderstorms and even a tornado watch here in upstate New York the last couple of days.) But summer is on its way.
Summer is a great time for rejuvenating, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s the time of year when I read the most books. I remember one two-week trip where I read 45 books! Granted, that was before kids, but still.
The thing is, summer reading doesn’t happen by itself. Especially if you’re tired, you’re gonna go for the easy route. A magazine, a light read, watching TV. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to get serious about some summer reading, a little bit of preparation may go a long way.
Set a Goal
Being a competitive type-A personality, I like to set a goal for myself. It may be a specific book, or a number of books, or simply to immerse yourself in a certain topic. This can insire and stimulate you to really make it happen.
Pick your Books
What I always do, is prepare a stack of books I want to read and put them on a seperate shelf. This way, I don’t have to think or search for a book whenever I want to read, but can simply grab one from the shelf. Plus there’s something quite satisfying in seeing the number of books on the shelf dwindle.
I read tons of books throughout the year, but for my summer reading I usually choose books that will make me think, that are provocative, or run contrary to my current opinions. That means taking the time to process what I’ve read is important. I do this by discussing it with friends, or by writing (journaling) or blogging about it. This also ensures the content becomes more ‘sticky’.
As you may know, we usually choose four books each month for the DYM Book Club, one for each of our categories (leadership, youth ministry, discipleship/Christian living and young adult fiction). For the summer, we’ll do two in each category and we’ll be back in september with the next round! Here we go:
- Victor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning (technically not a leadership book, but you’ll learn tons from this powerful book)
- Brené Brown – Daring Greatly (I love Brené Brown, can’t wait to read this one!)
Young adult fiction:
- Lois Lowry – The Giver (this one has been made into a movie as well, which I haven’t seen because I want to read the book first)
- Michael Grant – Gone (this is the first book in a series I just finished reading. I wanted to include this one because it’s a prime example of how violent young adult fiction has become in some instances. The first book is brilliantly written, but the other books get more and more gloomy and violent, with tons of kids dying. Be warned!)
- Francis Chan – Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples (I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while, but never got around to reading it. I’ve never read one of his books, so I’m curious!)
- Eric Metaxas – Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (this is exactly the kind of challenging summer read I was talking about!)
Quick observation: there aren’t many new youth ministry books coming out, unfortunately. If you have suggestions for great books for this category, even self published ones, let me know!
- Jen Bradbury – The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus (this book is a game changer for youth ministry! Read and apply…)
- Mark Oestreciher and Kami Gilmour: The Skinny on Parents: A Big Youth Ministry Topic in a Single Little Book (a super quick read by the looks of it (96 pages))
That’s it! Happy summer reading and don’t forget to connect on the DYM Book Club Facebook Group and share your thoughts on the books we’re reading and books in general!