A few years ago I walked into my college classroom toting three different books, all them large and heavy. As I waddled in, working to keep a book falling from my arms, I realized that all of them had copyrights that were at least ten years old.
I put the books on the desk. Well, they kind of fell onto to the desk, though it sounded like a slam. I looked at them and thought there has to be a better way. The content of the books was great, but I needed to use all three books bring together and serve the class on teaching and learning. Some books included chapters on history, developmental psychology, and administration that I didn't use. One book had just two chapters that I needed to use, but could only find there.
So, I had this large stack on my desk that seemed overwhelming. I just wanted to help my students become better teachers and none of these books as stand-alone texts could do it well.
I wasn't alone in my thinking.
As director of the Youth Specialties‘ Academic Support Network, every year I'd hear other professors ask, “What books are you using in your teaching class?” As a field, we just didn't have the right central text for courses on teaching and learning in children's ministry, youth ministry, and “next gen” ministry. .
I began to ask, “What if?” questions about creating a new text. What if we as a field created a central text for courses on teaching in Christian ministry. The response was overwhelmingly positive from my peers. I made a list of who would use the text in their courses. Buoyed by this, I approached two major publishers, each of whom were interested in publishing the text.
Baker publishing has been a consistent publishing force in Christian education, youth ministry, pastoral leadership, children's ministry, and theology. Bob Hosack and his team were very interested and jumped at the chance to publish the book. I was thrilled that Baker was interested. They know how to produce and promote books that matter.
So, I began to pull together the top teachers and thinkers in the field to create a text that would have the following qualities:
- Each chapter was written by a recognized expert for that chapter's content.
- Chapters would be short, allowing professors who used the text to use supplemental readings.
- The book would be written so as to be attractive to veteran youth leaders and not just for use in academic settings only.
- The book would focus on teaching and learning and not try to achieve anything beyond that.
- The authors would come from a wide range of Christian denominational backgrounds, but have a history of participation in SPCE or AYME.
I couldn't be more pleased with how TEACHING THE NEXT GENERATIONS (published in October 2016) turned out. Not only is the content rock solid, but the look and feel of the book is impressive too. Believe it or not, how a person responds to the physical book's look connects to how well they respond to the content.
I will talk more about the teaching and learning in future blog posts and we'll be doing a 4-week series on teaching (not just in ministry or in colleges) on my podcast in October. If you're in ministry, you'll want to get this book. Quite a few of the chapters take some pretty complicated subjects and explain them in understandable ways.