the books college ministers would buy

One of the top questions I get asked is about good curriculum for use in campus ministries. And at various times, college ministers (and others) have asked me about books they’re considering writing. Other times, I’m asked to review books that have already been penned for a collegiate audience or a minister audience.

But part of the problem for our field, in its underdeveloped state, is that most publishers don’t get to know the field well enough to know what we need. (And it’s a tricky field, so it’s understandable.) And often individual authors face the same issue. They know what they want to write about, but not what might actually be beneficial (or what might sell).

Of course, I’m not a publisher. Those guys know their field a lot better than I do. Still, there are some volumes that would prove most mutually beneficial for both our field and those producing books for us.

1. Ministry curricula that target college students well. It was fascinating a few years ago to watch a group of college ministers tell a major publisher that their young adult material wasn’t “collegiate” enough. College ministers recognize they’re dealing with a very unique lifestage. Youth materials or Young Adult materials may not hit the target closely enough (although perhaps they could with some wise tweaking).

2. Collegiate study guides / collegiate discussion guides for Christian classics, new and old. Pursuit of Holiness, When Helping Hurts, and anything else that makes good small group material would probably fit in this category. I’d love to see publishers package classic Christian works with well-written, student-oriented guides (for a lot of the reasons I typed for #1 above).

3. A College Ministry Reader. As for a book on the work of collegiate ministry itself, our very best bet is a broadly authored reader on many major topics. (It’s very much my dream to edit something like this someday.) This format avoids the traps single authors can fall into – chief among them, unfamiliarity with the variety of college ministry contexts and practices beyond their own. Chi Alpha’s classic Reach the U was certainly structured this way. But I’m thinking even bigger: I’d love to see something akin to Perspectives on the World Christian Movement compiled for the field of North American College Ministry.


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