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ExtraOrdinaryCoverFRONT3DMIdREs1This last week I picked up (Extra)Ordinary, a one year, 365 devotional book for students.

I have been looking for a while for a devotional resource that meet my students where they are and be relevant to the felt needs that are impacting and shaping their lives.  And as I read through it, I could not be more impressed with this book, and even more so, be excited for our students to have a resource that will give shape to their times with God and that will be challenging, relevant, and timely.

It is harder than you would think to find a devotional book that is both relevant as well as actually helps students move closer to Jesus.

This book really is like no other devotional book I have come across.

It is like an old skool, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.  They devotions are not laid out by day, or by week, but by life circumstance.  Depending on what  is happening in the life of the student, they can choose a devotion that speaks about and into that particular circumstance.

Stephen Ingram is the brains behind this creative approach.  He is a both an excellent writer, as well as a veteran youth pastor who has spent over 15 years in the trenches with real students.  He isn’t remembering back to what he think students need back when he was a kid, but he is daily walking through life and faith with students and this proximity to students comes through in this devotional.  (You can check out more of his writing on his fantastic blog,

This book is just one of a number of great resources from the good people at

I am encouraging my parents to pick this up for their kids, and I would encourage you to pick up a few for your students as well.



Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Oh, wait, read the next line then close your eyes and take a deep breath. When you think of student ministry, who is the student that you imagine? Ok, now close your eyes and imagine those students.

When I do this exercise I imagine my upper-classmen. The students that I have knowns their entire adolescent careers. The students who I have the most invest in and the ones who are either starting to show some good fruit or have really dramatic stories as they spiral out of control.

Middle School youth group

The reason this exercise is important is because this is the demographic we program for and teach to. But the reality is that student ministry is not just these upper-classmen. They are the 11 and 12 year olds who are just starting the process of individuation, who have much less dramatic stories, who are still concrete thinkers, and are showing little spiritual fruit.

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