A few Sundays ago, it was Youth Appreciation Sunday at my church and as the new youth minister I had the privilege and responsibility to preach for all five of our services. I preached out of Deuteronomy 6:4-8 and called our parents to embrace their youth as the primary shepherds of their children (click here if you’d like to hear the sermon). Instead of talking about our church’s youth ministry, I chose to talk about the youth ministries God desires our families to be. Instead of talking about myself as the youth pastor, I chose to talk about the parents as God’s primary youth pastors. I was humbled and thankful for the opportunity.
Although getting to preach at “big church” was very exciting for me, I found myself even more excited about what followed the sermon. After that Sunday my email inbox was filled with emails from parents talking about how God used the sermon to convict them and call them to greater intentionality in discipling their children to know and love Jesus. Their desire to follow God’s Word was the greatest encouragement I could ever have received.
In many of the emails, parents requested resources to help them disciple their children. After sending out numerous emails with resources, I thought it would be prudent to supply a list here of parenting resources I have found to be tremendously helpful. Without further words, here are the 11 best resources on parenting I have come across.
Spiritual Parenting by Dr. Michelle Anthony (224 Pages). I had the privilege of having Dr. Michelle Anthony when I did my undergrad at Biola. She was an excellent professor and, the more I dig into her books, I find her to be a vitally important voice for parents to hear. Spiritual Parenting is a great book that guides parents to create 10 environments within the home that will help to nurture their children’s faith and love for Jesus Christ. There is also an excellent DVD series for small groups or large groups to study together. See the video promo here.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp (215 Pages). The behavior and decisions of your child are only expressions of their heart. Therefore, parenting must not be focused on behavior or decisions alone, but must be directed at the hearts of our children. In this book, Tedd Tripp helps us learn how to do just that.
Big Truths for Little Hearts by Bruce Ware (240 Pages). Do you ever feel under-equipped to teach your kids about the countless truths of the Bible? Well, fear not, this should help. In this book, Dr. Bruce Ware, “encourages and enables parents of children 6-14 years of age to teach through the whole of systematic theology at a level their children can understand.” In this book he, “covers ten topics of systematic theology, devoting several brief chapters to each subject, making it possible for parents to read one chapter per day with their children. With this non-intimidating format, parents will be emboldened to be their children’s primary faith trainers-and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.”
A Neglected Grace by Jason Helopoulos (128 Pages). I believe all Christians see the value in family worship, but most feel unequipped or too intimidated to do it. In this book, parents will find immense encouragement toward cultivating consistent and faithful family worship without any guilt trips. They will be taught the value of family worship and equipped to do it well. Don’t miss this gem parents.
Family Worship by Donald Whitney (63 Pages). Donald Whitney is a master of writing with clarity, simplicity, and profundity. In this little booklet, Dr. Whitney unpacks the Biblical teaching of family worship, the historical practice of family worship, the practical tools for family worship, and common questions concerning family worship. It shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes to read the whole thing.
Gospel Powered Parenting by William Farley (240 Pages). Amazon’s description is a good summary of the book’s aim. “Parents who claim the gospel as their own have an enormous effect on their marriage, their integrity, and their love for their children. Keeping the gospel at the forefront of every aspect of marriage helps parents fear God, sensitizes them to sin, motivates them to enter their children’s world, and causes them to preach the beauty of the gospel to their children through their marriage.” For more information read this review and this review.
The Shepherd Leader at Home by Timothy Witmer (176 Pages). Timothy Witmer looks into the bible’s definition of a shepherd and outlines their main duties. According to Witmer, a shepherd is one who knows his sheep, leads his sheep, protects his sheep, and provides for his sheep. After explaining these biblical responsibilities, Witmer applies them to the relationships a man has with his wife and his children. Don’t miss out on this immensely practical.
Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham Jr. (63 Pages). I love Voddie Baucham and I love this book. Directed at fathers specifically, Dr. Baucham lays down the responsibilities God calls husbands and fathers to and equips them for the task. Filled with immense biblical truths and wisdom to live them out, this book is a must read for the man of the house.
Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp (296 Pages). The teenage years don’t have to be characterized by bloodshed and tears. In this book, “Paul Tripp uncovers the heart issues that affect parents and their teenage children during the often-chaotic adolescent years. With wit, wisdom, humility, and compassion, he shows parents how to seize the countless opportunities to deepen communication and learn and grow with their teens.”
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (216 Pages). A wonderful book that focuses on helping our children avoid being little Pharisees and becoming overflowing lovers of Jesus and celebrators of his grace. As the Amazon description says, “We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.”
Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman (192 Pages). A book for the wives and mothers. I thought this captured the essence of this book well. “Every homemaker, every mother, every woman, has experienced the disconnect between what she knows and what she feels, between knowing that what she is doing is good and the reality that it is exasperating and seems unfulfilling. In Glimpses of Grace, Gloria Furman brings the gospel to bear on a woman’s distinct calling. With precision and grace she shows that the good news of all that Jesus Christ accomplished, when properly understood and carefully applied, will transform the way a woman carries out the task the Lord has given her.”
This list is not complete; not by far. What have been some helpful resources for you? What would you add to this list?
For more resources on other topics in the Christian life, click here.