8 Books I Constantly Give Away In Ministry

My bookshelves are sometimes just for show, as most of my reading nowadays is either digital or audio. But I still give books away since that’s usually easier than sending someone a download code.

These are some of the books I try to keep stocked on my shelves for various occasions:



Passionate ParentingBy Cary Schmidt. I have given this to almost all my teens’ parents. I particularly like that Bro. Schmidt wrote this book having parented teenagers, and I can always recommend it as a lighthearted but important read for families. I particularly emphasize the section in the book on praying together.


Calvary Road. By Roy Hession. This book has an old-timey Puritan feel to it, but, strangely, I only give it away to some of those “fringe” teens, often with a personal note in the front cover. The book is so short, I challenge them to complete it in two weeks. Whether they read it or not, it will likely sit on their shelves for later. I think it paints such a vivid picture of Jesus Christ, written in such an important tone, that a seeker will immediately sense the gravity of the words once they pick it up. I like that.


Life Quest. By Cary Schmidt. This is my gift to our graduates every year. It is directed specifically toward those leaving high school, and sets them up to think Scripturally about the life-defining decisions they are about to make.



Finally Free. By Heath Lambert. This is a grace-driven approach to spiritual change, particularly with sexual addictions and mistakes. It is more than a book on statistics or practical suggestions (although it includes both), but it is a good biblical manual on drawing closer to God solely through the power that He provides by His grace. It is an uplifting and helpful book. (Thanks to Pastor Tyler Prater for the recommendation)


Boundaries. The Boundaries series of books (by Henry Cloud and others) are devoted to almost every area of counseling: families, marriages, business, kids, teens, and more. These books encourage clarity in both rules and consequences, and help families remove emotional decision-making from discipline. Instead of “You’re grounded from your phone until I say!” It is, “You broke ______ rule that you agreed to, and you know the consequence is _____.”



I found it’s just cheaper to write my own books rather than buy everyone else’s! I sell my books at market costs so that I can use the proceeds to give a bunch away. I am proud to say that I’ve made dozens of cents off my book sales, and a lot of it goes back into my donation shelves. I am a local church youth pastor first, so most of my books have come from what we have done in our youth ministry, and “my kids” get first dibs. They’re also my lab rats.

Beyond our local church, though, I always try to bring books to any conference or school chapel or youth rally or church event I am preaching at. These are the books I give away the most:


A Case For Bible College. If there’s a junior or senior who is not already dead-set on secular college, with acceptance letter in hand, he’s getting this book. It summarizes why we think Bible college is a good idea for all high school graduates to at least consider.


BIBS. The BIBS series of books and daily devotionals have been the biggest pleasant surprise to me… people want to be able to read and understand their Bible, and a format like BIBS has seemed to help those dedicated Christians. BIBS is not for a lazy seeker who’s looking for an easy process (it is not a 5-minute readthrough of someone else’s thoughts on the Bible), but it is a simple framework that forces the Bible student to think for himself.


The Christian Teen Devotional (and Journal). I have become an advocate of articulating one’s thoughts through writing. We can all feel this vague “something” about God, but until we wrap them up in words, the feelings are pretty worthless. These journals and devotionals are mere supplements to a person’s Bible reading, and are the result of seven years of weekly notes from a youth pastor to “his kids.”



I use both personal and church finances to give books away, and the monies run out faster than the needs run out—know what I mean? Such is life and ministry until I lead that trillionaire to the Lord.

I do not give these books away in equal proportions, nor are these the only books I give away, but I have always felt obligated to provide resources for the families I bump into along this awesome road of ministry.

What are your favorite giveaways?