View these resources created by Youth Mission Co Staff.
Critical Conversations, Part 1: Guiding Youth in Navigating a Divided World
How to talk with youth about the division and trauma in our country, where it all comes from, how we are part of the problem, and how to be part of the solution. To view this webinar, CLICK HERE.
Critical Conversations, Part 2: Strategies for Inter-Generational Dialogue: Truth Across Generations
A panel discussion regarding how to create healthy church environments for cross generational dialogue. To view this webinar, CLICK HERE.
In general, these books are recommended for adults who work with youth more than for youth themselves. Some portions of the books may be suitable for direct use with youth.
If you are looking for a book that can help you navigate a discussion on racial equity the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo is a great resource. Diangelo works for an organization that goes into workplaces and dialogues with the employees about race. She has countless examples and practices that are helpful to start these difficult conversations and how we can move forward together. She points to the fragility of being white, through our guilt and shame, and our unwillingness to admit that white people benefit from the systems that have been put into place long ago. Then she interrupts that white fragility in ways that are helpful to everyone.
This book points people to what they might encounter as they begin conversations about race and how we can overcome those challenges. Diangelo, however, does not leave us there. She reminds us to take a look at our conversations and our reactions as people who are white and helps us to name those places as we move forward with those whom we engage. If you want to begin conversations on race with youth, parents, and your church, this is a great read to assist you before those conversations take place.
Why Jesus Crossed the Road: Following the Unconventional Travel Itinerary of Jesus, Bruce Main
If you are looking for a resource to help answer the question “Why Mission?” The book “Why Jesus Crossed the Road” is excellent. The book discusses the importance of getting out of our comfortable spaces in order to listen and learn from others. In the first section of his book, Main, the author, discusses the Transformational Learning Theory by Jack Mezirow and the process which can lead to real and lasting transformation. In the second section, he breaks down social justice issues and how when we cross the road and engage with others who are unlike us, we create an opportunity for real change. In the third section he discusses the roadblocks to crossing the road and how we can move through those obstacles. In the fourth and last section, he shares stories of lasting transformation.
Throughout each section the writer lifts up Biblical examples of the ways that Jesus crossed the road; the social, religious, cultural, economic, and gender boundaries Jesus crossed in order to hear the voice of another. These examples are helpful for answering the question “Why Mission?” This is an easy read and can be a great resource as we seek to follow the life and teachings of Jesus.
iGen, Jean M Twenge
A portrait of the newest generation, born after 1995. Dr. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, examines the traits and trends of young people today and discusses how they relate to the world around them. They have surprising attitudes toward religion, sexuality and politics. It’s a must read for those involved in youth ministry as we consider ways to connect with young people in our churches.
Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair, Otis Moss III (for preacher types)
A collection of lectures and sermon transcripts from Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. He discusses the need for a “blues sensibility” in preaching, recognizing the pain of social injustices present in our land, particularly among African-Americans, while also holding up the power of the gospel to bring about God’s kingdom of peace and justice. The book provides a great backdrop by which to approach issues of social justice with young people.
God of the Oppressed, James H Cone
An in depth discussion of Black Theology (Liberation) by Dr. James H. Cone, who served as a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He weaves the experience of African Americans from time of slavery forward and the narrative of Scripture, concluding that God’s focus is on the liberation of the oppressed. He then contrasts this to white European theologies, which, in his view, seem focused on the philosophical and on maintaining the status quo.
Faith In The Face of Empire, Mitri Raheb
A correlation of the story of Jesus in Scripture, a Palestinian Jew living in the Holy Land occupied by the Roman Empire, with the present situation of Palestinians living under occupation in the Holy Land. Mitri Raheb is President of Dar al Kalim University in Bethlehem.
So You Want to Talk About Race? Ijeoma Oluo
A best selling book discussing a wide variety of topics regarding race, including white privilege, cultural appropriation, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Many have found this to be the most straight-forward and helpful book on issues of race in America.
Dear White Christians, Dr. Jennifer Harvey
Raising White Kids, Dr Jennifer Harvey
Doing Good Is Simple Chris Marlow
My Name is Child of God… Not “Those People”: A First Person Look at Poverty, Julia Dinsmore
Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World, Elexia Salvatierra & Peter Heltzel
The Racial Wealth Gap in 10 Charts (The Washington Post)
Causes of Homelessness (Homeward Bound of Western NC)
The Price of Power, Diana Butler Bass
The Poor People’s Campaign Fact Sheets Information about the state of poor Americans on a variety of topics from health to homelessness. Also divided into information by state.
Privilege Walk An activity for youth to help them recognize their levels of privilege
Racial Disparties & Covid-19 A Resource by Natalily Kyremes-Parks
TheNation: The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today.
This is a documentary film by Tom Shadyac, who directed several comedy films such as Bruce Almighty, Ace Ventura, and The Nutty Professor. In the film, Shadyac reflects on his life, and after a near death experience, decides to go on a quest to understand what makes us human and what our responsibilities are to one another. There are a number of great interviews in the film, including Bishop Desmond Tutu, a leader in the movement to end apartheid in South Africa. Available on Google play, Amazon Video, and iTunes. (Suitable for middle school and high school groups)
(Pair with Ephesians 4:1-6)
13th (available on Netflix)
This is a documentary film about the history of disproportionate numbers of African-Americans in our nation’s prisons. It goes back to the institution of slavery and how the passing of the 13th Amendment to the constitution gives a kind of loophole for the continued slave labor situations found currently in our prison system. Currently on Netflix. (Due to subject matter, it’s probably best suited for high school groups.)
(Pair with Proverbs 28:3-28)
The Hate You Give (currently on Netflix)
A film directed by George Tillman Jr. It is the story of Starr, a teenage African-American girl who is caught between two worlds– the world of her mostly white wealthy private school and the world of her African-American working class neighborhood. The film does a great job of exploring the nuances of various characters, covering issues like privilege, tokenism, “colorblindness” and more. The film is rated PG-13 and includes some (not graphic) violence such as a shootings, and references to beatings. There is some mild adult language, and no nudity. This is a great film to discuss race history and current race issues in America, along with the connection of race to equity.
A 14 episode season by podcaster and documentarian John Biewen, of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Biewen, along with regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, look into the history of race in America, how it was constructed, and how white supremacy is perpetuated within our institutions.
A New York Times short series that looks at the history of slavery in America and how it shapes the economic and social condition of African-Americans today.