PART 1: Intro & the “DESCRIPTIVE” The Great Emergence in Youth Ministry

Posted: June 5, 2009 in Thesis, Uncategorized
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https://i1.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/102/295647268_45ec853b07.jpgDawn of Time: God breaths, life begins, relationships are made, broken, and restored. 2093 BC: God calls Abraham, God establishes a covenant, Abraham waits, then goes, Sarah laughs, God is faithful, and Isaac is born. The world has a new beginning. 1089 BC: Hannah brought Samuel to the temple, Eli Mentored him, God called him, Samuel spoke God’s word, the world was changed. 5 BC: Mary says yes, Joseph doesn’t leave, Mary prays, Jesus is born, Jesus mentors, teaches, heals, dies, and is risen, all of history is transformed. 200 AD: Bishops start a 7 year process of education and call it confirmation. Passing on Faith is institutionalized. 1505 AD: There is a thunderstorm in Germany, God call’s Luther, 12 years later Luther reminds us of 95 ways to remember this it’s Christ who changed history, Luther teaches us to tell the story again. The next millennium is reminded to remember. Fast forward: Lutherans in the 20th century take the rite of confirmation back from the Bishops and turn it into the church’s first teenage rite of passage. Fast forward:

Root says we need incarnation relationships. Smith says we need to teach the faith. Martinson says we need to theologically frame our best practices. Dean says we need passion and abandon program. Clark tells us we need to heal the hurt. Oestreicher says we need to shift to affinity. Fields says we have to be purposeful. Devries says we need the family. Griner says we need peer ministers. King says we need a new ‘center’.

Everybody is rethinking youth ministry these days. Everybody says it’s time for a shift. But what does the meta-narrative of God’s history with His people teach us? What does faithfulness to the Gospel look like in 2009? With those questions and histories ringing in our ears we will seek a 2009 AD: Redesign.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/www.filmscorefocus.org/uploads/images/back_to_the_future.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Shift. Move. Transition. Change. These words express the climate of our culture and the earth rumbling under our feet felt by youth ministers today. What has changed? What do we do now? These two questions preoccupy us with publishers pumping out different answers to each. This paper will survey the commentary of experts and suggest each points to a larger landscape of change and momentum in the life of Church today. I propose what Mark Cannister calls the “Back to the Future”[1] approach to youth ministry. But unlike Cannister I suggest going further back than just the short history of youth ministry and offer what I think the meta-narrative of biblical history provides for our culture, a plan for redemption that is repeated throughout human history.

When Josiah was 26 years old and had been King for 18 years his high priest Hilkiah found the Book of the Law (basically Deuteronomy) and after hearing it read to him Josiah tore his clothes in repentance immediately realizing how he and his people were sinning against the LORD. Josiah’s reign after that was a return to God’s Word, a reemergence of God’s Spirit with His people, and a transformation that brought about redemption. Throughout Scripture and throughout history God’s people have forgotten the Word of God and it was always God’s word that brought about transformation. As we’ll read, youth ministers have articulated the symptoms of this kind of God void in youth ministry (and our culture). It’s time now for the church to respond like Josiah with a surprising return to God’s Word, repentance, and turn around.

Our Lutheran heritage with the theology of the cross, unveiled by the Emmanuel whose Word dwelt among us must be our guide. A recent surge and pursuit of a theology of youth ministry I believe is evidence of this deeply felt need, and a place I contend the Spirit calls us to begin.

In his book Youth Ministry 3.0 Mark Oestreicher suggests three eras in the history of modern Youth Ministry. He describes Youth Ministry 1.0 as focus on identity in the shift from the agriculture society to an industrial and the onset of what we now call adolescence. As it’s identity slowly formed in industrial nations youth ministries sought to participate in that process of formation. After youth culture became the norm, Youth Ministry 2.0 shifted with youth who in the 1970 & 80’s pursued autonomy and ministries adopted the “if we build it they will come” Field of Dreams theology. Oestreicher soberly notes YM 2.0 has produced “in pretty much every youth ministry our impact, the transformation of kids’ lives seems less than what we’d hoped. Study after study is bringing this harsh reality into focus.”[2] He contends rethinking youth ministry today includes a shift from autonomy to affinity, that teens are desperately looking for a place to belong and have meaning. This new development is what he calls Youth Ministry 3.0.

Consider the two volume work of Kenda Creasy Dean in the God Bearing Life and Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church who calls us away from the cruise director youth director to a theological passion center shepherd. She identifies the shift as a move away from shaping the right youth event to focusing us on the greatest event in history, Christ’s passion. “We are facing a crisis of passion, crisis that guts Christian theology of its very core, not to mention its lifeblood for adolescents. Teenagers are quick to point out the oxymoron in passionless Christianity, quick to smell danger in suppressing their emotional range, quick to question faith that fails to register on the Richter scale, and quick to abandon a church that accommodates such paltry piety…In short, without passion, Christian faith collapse. And young people know it –”

In his book on roughly the same topic entitled Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students intohttps://www.inspire4less.com/productimages/9780830833832.jpg Spiritual Formation Mike King gives us a vivid image of what this passionless Christianity looks like when he quotes a non-Christian, “How come when I meet a Buddhist leader I feel like I am in the presence of a holy man, but when I meet a Christian leader, I feel like I have met an entrepreneur, a mover and shaker, a wheeler dealer?” Both Dean and King recognize that in our attempt to contextualize we have often neutered the gospel so much so that Dean and co-author Ron Foster say, “Adolescents are looking for a soul-shaking, heart-waking, world-changing God to fall in love with, and if they do not find that God in the Christian church, they will most certainly settle for lesser gods elsewhere. Youth look at the church to show them something. Most of the time we have offered them pizza.”

These authors identify the hunger for meaning and significance that we all hunger for and that youth recognize is missing when we just give pizza. Found only in the one true God who formed us and redeemed us. This takes us towards Josiah’s path of re-discovery.

https://i0.wp.com/i43.tower.com/images/mm101684223/hurt-chap-clark-paperback-cover-art.jpgChap Clark gives us a window into the broken world Christ’s passion seeks to reconcile in his book Hurt. He steps into the world of High School youth and discovers what he calls the “world beneath” which in fact is the world he discovered of loneliness and abandonment. By embedding himself with teens at a southern California high school Clark observes and documents how youth have experienced abandonment by their families, social structures, schools, and society. He writes “Even the most solid students confessed that life is far darker, far more violent, far more difficult, and far more tiring than adults, including their parents realize.” Clark describes the affinity groups that Oestriecher notes is a longing for youth today that go beyond clichés and really serve (albeit often short term) as familial units for support in every area of life, groups he calls clusters. Basically the stability gangs provide for inner city youth are what clusters provide for abandoned teens in the North American high schools today.

Clark reminds us that this abandonment is not “limited to the world but is alive and well in the systems and structures of the church.” The Lutheran church has a name for this like “confirmation” or “Sunday school.” In our faithful desire to do catechesis we often forget going beyond just getting folks to show up and never make the real journey from the head to the heart.

Andrew Root steps into the fray here in his book Revisiting the Relational Youth Ministry. He critiques what we have called relational youth ministry as “instrumental relationalism” whose first concern is getting the youth to show up, or seal the deal, or as Root puts it has an agenda. He contends that this kind of strategy is not theologically sound and removes the cross from the incarnation. In other words unlike Jesus who died “for us while we were yet sinners” youth ministries have only tended kids if or when they show up and respond. Root argues that our concern is based in their response instead of God’s suffering passion to reconcile us unto Himself. Root writes, “Out unwillingness to acknowledge the cross as well as the incarnation has deceived us into believing that we are justified in neglecting a great many adolescents who at first respond to our offers of friendship with ridicule and aggressive rejection…We have offered them trips to Disneyland, silly games and ‘cool’ youth rooms, not companionship in their darkest nights, their scariest of hells.” Like Clark, Root calls us away from program or strategies of influence and towards what he calls “place sharing” an incarnational ministry grounded in the suffering transcendence of the cross.Effective Youth Ministry: A Congregational Approach

In 1988 Dr. Roland Martinson published the book Effective Youth Ministry and quickly became the textbook for youth ministers across the country. Martinson suggested then that youth ministry is theological, relational, includes the family, and is congregational. He noted, “The best indicator of whether or not teenagers will be active worshipers and congregational participants is the past and continuing participation of their parents.” All true still today. However the landscape of youth schedules, weight of authority of the Pastor and congregation in family life, and the systemic failure to catechize our church membership has radically changed the structures he suggests in the book. Though theologically grounded, the program based approach is nearly obsolete because it’s just no longer effective in the context it once assumed existed (a new reality Clark’s book describes as a culture of abandonment).

Dr. Martinson’s work, the Search Institute, and research by the Youth and Family Institute collectively sounded the alarm that we were overlooking the family. From the Scriptures like Deuteronomy 6 to our own Lutheran heritage calling parents the “Apostles, Priests, and Bishops” for their children the family is called to play the central role in faith formation. And yet in our modern euphoria of professionalism we’d undercut the very fabric of how the church passed on faith for nearly two millennium. Even Martinson in 1988 who valued relationships with youth and adults thought the congregation could include adults in a mentoring role with youth only after Church staffing resources were exhausted and “Other adults can be recruited if necessary.”Such an understatement! Something I am sure Dr. Martinson would articulate differently today. Biblical exegesis, history, Church Confessions, modern research, and ancient faith practices have led us back to the future again with faith formation in the home. Mark Devries articulated a new structure for ministry based on this idea in his book Family Based Ministry and David Anderson and Paul Hill of the Youth & Family Institute give us principles and practices to help families make this a reality in their book Frogs Without Legs Can’t Hear.

However as Chap Clark makes clear this isn’t the same pre-industrial, pre- no fault divorce, pre-dual income home mortgage life that Luther spoke into. While the return to the home is evident, with research from Barna, the YMCA, and others telling us that parents are still the chief influencers on their teenager’s life parents today are never-the-less products of ineffective catechesis. Their views on God are more of a product of our culture in North America than that of Scripture or of Christian doctrine and this can not be overlooked. Parents must reclaim their primary role and the Church must engage the task of equipping them. This praxis will need to be as multi-facetted and complex as the issues facing teens are and include deep theological reflection, education, and fidelity in long term partnership as the pragmatic portion of this paper will suggest.

In sum, these vast arrays of experts, practitioners, theologians, and researchers all agree that something is askew in youth ministry and cries out for transformation. I once heard Tony Campolo when talking about Democrats and Republicans say Democrats believe the problems are corporate and that we need systemic change best orchestrated by the government and Republicans believe the problem is individual responsibility best done by empowering the individual and keeping government out of it. Tony pointed out that both are right and both are wrong and that both views need to be understood together to truly tackle the complexity of issues facing the country. I take the same approach in describing the challenges of Youth Ministry today. Exclusively these authors are both right and wrong and what’s needed is to listen to these voices as individual symptoms that must be addressed due to systematic realities.

Clearly Dean, Clark, Martinson, and Root are right that we need a theologically grounded youth ministry understood in the deeply perichoretic reality of a relational God. This sacrificial and suffering God reflected in the Passion that Dean calls us back to and echoed by Root reminds us that incarnation cannot be removed from the cross. Obviously like all sinners we professionals think too highly of ourselves and we must re-center the family as primary agents of faith formation but not as new form of exclusivity but in the context of the Body of Christ. Clark is right that youth have been abandoned and Oestreicher grabs hold of that with the desire for affinity but it can’t be done as a new strategy of influence or more creative contextualization.

Dr. Martinson reminds us that all is not lost and the congregational church is still an outpost for the Holy Spirit for both symptomatic and systematic change. The Exemplary Youth Ministry study that we look at further in the pragmatic gives us a vision for this both/and reality. It must be said however that convergence of these issues point to a major shift not just for youth ministry but for the Church, it’s ecclesiology and our response to imagio dei. With Martinson, Dean, King, and Root we can say with confidence that the road ahead for youth is theological but one not just swept up in the recent history of adolescence rather something much larger. This isn’t the first time God’s people have been faced with such a cataclysmic shift and the Holy Spirit has always provided a response which inevitably returns us to God’s transcendent Word.


Dawn of Time: God breaths, life begins, relationships are made, broken, and restored. 2093 BC: God calls Abraham, God establishes a covenant, Abraham waits, then goes, Sarah laughs, God is faithful, and Isaac is born. The world has a new beginning. 1089 BC: Hannah brought Samuel to the temple, Eli Mentored him, God called him, Samuel spoke God’s word, the world was changed. 5 BC: Mary says yes, Joseph doesn’t leave, Mary prays, Jesus is born, Jesus mentors, teaches, heals, dies, and is risen, all of history is transformed. 200 AD: Bishops start a 7 year process of education and call it confirmation. Passing on Faith is institutionalized. 1505 AD: There is a thunderstorm in Germany, God call’s Luther, 12 years later Luther reminds us of 95 ways to remember this it’s Christ who changed history, Luther teaches us to tell the story again. The next millennium is reminded to remember. Fast forward: Lutherans in the 20th century take the rite of confirmation back from the Bishops and turn it into the church’s first teenage rite of passage. Fast forward:

Root says we need incarnation relationships. Smith says we need to teach the faith. Martinson says we need to theologically frame our best practices. Dean says we need passion and abandon program. Clark tells us we need to heal the hurt. Oestreicher says we need to shift to affinity. Fields says we have to be purposeful. Devries says we need the family. Griner says we need peer ministers. King says we need a new ‘center’.

Everybody is rethinking youth ministry these days. Everybody says it’s time for a shift. But what does the meta-narrative of God’s history with His people teach us? What does faithfulness to the Gospel look like in 2009? With those questions and histories ringing in our ears we will seek a 2009 AD: Redesign.

Shift. Move. Transition. Change. These words express the climate of our culture and the earth rumbling under our feet felt by youth ministers today. What has changed? What do we do now? These two questions preoccupy us with publishers pumping out different answers to each. This paper will survey the commentary of experts and suggest each points to a larger landscape of change and momentum in the life of Church today. I propose what Mark Cannister calls the “Back to the Future”[1] approach to youth ministry. But unlike Cannister I suggest going further back than just the short history of youth ministry and offer what I think the meta-narrative of biblical history provides for our culture, a plan for redemption that is repeated throughout human history.

When Josiah was 26 years old and had been King for 18 years his high priest Hilkiah found the Book of the Law (basically Deuteronomy) and after hearing it read to him Josiah tore his clothes in repentance immediately realizing how he and his people were sinning against the LORD. Josiah’s reign after that was a return to God’s Word, a reemergence of God’s Spirit with His people, and a transformation that brought about redemption. Throughout Scripture and throughout history God’s people have forgotten the Word of God and it was always God’s word that brought about transformation. As we’ll read, youth ministers have articulated the symptoms of this kind of God void in youth ministry (and our culture). It’s time now for the church to respond like Josiah with a surprising return to God’s Word, repentance, and turn around.

Our Lutheran heritage with the theology of the cross, unveiled by the Emmanuel whose Word dwelt among us must be our guide. A recent surge and pursuit of a theology of youth ministry I believe is evidence of this deeply felt need, and a place I contend the Spirit calls us to begin.

In his book Youth Ministry 3.0 Mark Oestreicher suggests three eras in the history of modern Youth Ministry. He describes Youth Ministry 1.0 as focus on identity in the shift from the agriculture society to an industrial and the onset of what we now call adolescence. As it’s identity slowly formed in industrial nations youth ministries sought to participate in that process of formation. After youth culture became the norm, Youth Ministry 2.0 shifted with youth who in the 1970 & 80’s pursued autonomy and ministries adopted the “if we build it they will come” Field of Dreams theology. Oestreicher soberly notes YM 2.0 has produced “in pretty much every youth ministry our impact, the transformation of kids’ lives seems less than what we’d hoped. Study after study is bringing this harsh reality into focus.”[2] He contends rethinking youth ministry today includes a shift from autonomy to affinity, that teens are desperately looking for a place to belong and have meaning. This new development is what he calls Youth Ministry 3.0.

Consider the two volume work of Kenda Creasy Dean in the God Bearing Life and Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church who calls us away from the cruise director youth director to a theological passion center shepherd. She identifies the shift as a move away from shaping the right youth event to focusing us on the greatest event in history, Christ’s passion. “We are facing a crisis of passion, crisis that guts Christian theology of its very core, not to mention its lifeblood for adolescents. Teenagers are quick to point out the oxymoron in passionless Christianity, quick to smell danger in suppressing their emotional range, quick to question faith that fails to register on the Richter scale, and quick to abandon a church that accommodates such paltry piety…In short, without passion, Christian faith collapse. And young people know it –”[3]

In his book on roughly the same topic entitled Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation Mike King gives us a vivid image of what this passionless Christianity looks like when he quotes a non-Christian, “How come when I meet a Buddhist leader I feel like I am in the presence of a holy man, but when I meet a Christian leader, I feel like I have met an entrepreneur, a mover and shaker, a wheeler dealer?”[4] Both Dean and King recognize that in our attempt to contextualize we have often neutered the gospel so much so that Dean and co-author Ron Foster say, “Adolescents are looking for a soul-shaking, heart-waking, world-changing God to fall in love with, and if they do not find that God in the Christian church, they will most certainly settle for lesser gods elsewhere. Youth look at the church to show them something. Most of the time we have offered them pizza.”[5]

These authors identify the hunger for meaning and significance that we all hunger for and that youth recognize is missing when we just give pizza. Found only in the one true God who formed us and redeemed us. This takes us towards Josiah’s path of re-discovery.

Chap Clark gives us a window into the broken world Christ’s passion seeks to reconcile in his book Hurt. He steps into the world of High School youth and discovers what he calls the “world beneath” which in fact is the world he discovered of loneliness and abandonment. By embedding himself with teens at a southern California high school Clark observes and documents how youth have experienced abandonment by their families, social structures, schools, and society. He writes “Even the most solid students confessed that life is far darker, far more violent, far more difficult, and far more tiring than adults, including their parents realize.”[6] Clark describes the affinity groups that Oestriecher notes is a longing for youth today that go beyond clichés and really serve (albeit often short term) as familial units for support in every area of life, groups he calls clusters. Basically the stability gangs provide for inner city youth are what clusters provide for abandoned teens in the North American high schools today.

Clark reminds us that this abandonment is not “limited to the world but is alive and well in the systems and structures of the church.”[7] The Lutheran church has a name for this like “confirmation” or “Sunday school.” In our faithful desire to do catechesis we often forget going beyond just getting folks to show up and never make the real journey from the head to the heart.

Andrew Root steps into the fray here in his book Revisiting the Relational Youth Ministry. He critiques what we have called relational youth ministry as “instrumental relationalism”[8] whose first concern is getting the youth to show up, or seal the deal, or as Root puts it has an agenda. He contends that this kind of strategy is not theologically sound and removes the cross from the incarnation. In other words unlike Jesus who died “for us while we were yet sinners”[9] youth ministries have only tended kids if or when they show up and respond. Root argues that our concern is based in their response instead of God’s suffering passion to reconcile us unto Himself. Root writes, “Out unwillingness to acknowledge the cross as well as the incarnation has deceived us into believing that we are justified in neglecting a great many adolescents who at first respond to our offers of friendship with ridicule and aggressive rejection…We have offered them trips to Disneyland, silly games and ‘cool’ youth rooms, not companionship in their darkest nights, their scariest of hells.”[10] Like Clark, Root calls us away from program or strategies of influence and towards what he calls “place sharing” an incarnational ministry grounded in the suffering transcendence of the cross.

In 1988 Dr. Roland Martinson published the book Effective Youth Ministry and quickly became the textbook for youth ministers across the country. Martinson suggested then that youth ministry is theological, relational, includes the family, and is congregational. He noted, “The best indicator of whether or not teenagers will be active worshipers and congregational participants is the past and continuing participation of their parents.”[11] All true still today. However the landscape of youth schedules, weight of authority of the Pastor and congregation in family life, and the systemic failure to catechize our church membership has radically changed the structures he suggests in the book. Though theologically grounded, the program based approach is nearly obsolete because it’s just no longer effective in the context it once assumed existed (a new reality Clark’s book describes as a culture of abandonment).

Dr. Martinson’s work, the Search Institute, and research by the Youth and Family Institute collectively sounded the alarm that we were overlooking the family. From the Scriptures like Deuteronomy 6 to our own Lutheran heritage calling parents the “Apostles, Priests, and Bishops”[12] for their children the family is called to play the central role in faith formation. And yet in our modern euphoria of professionalism we’d undercut the very fabric of how the church passed on faith for nearly two millennium. Even Martinson in 1988 who valued relationships with youth and adults thought the congregation could include adults in a mentoring role with youth only after Church staffing resources were exhausted and “Other adults can be recruited if necessary.”[13] Such an understatement! Something I am sure Dr. Martinson would articulate differently today. Biblical exegesis, history, Church Confessions, modern research, and ancient faith practices have led us back to the future again with faith formation in the home. Mark Devries articulated a new structure for ministry based on this idea in his book Family Based Ministry and David Anderson and Paul Hill of the Youth & Family Institute give us principles and practices to help families make this a reality in their book Frogs Without Legs Can’t Hear.

However as Chap Clark makes clear this isn’t the same pre-industrial, pre- no fault divorce, pre-dual income home mortgage life that Luther spoke into. While the return to the home is evident, with research from Barna, the YMCA, and others telling us that parents are still the chief influencers on their teenager’s life[14] parents today are never-the-less products of ineffective catechesis. Their views on God are more of a product of our culture in North America than that of Scripture or of Christian doctrine and this can not be overlooked.[15] Parents must reclaim their primary role and the Church must engage the task of equipping them. This praxis will need to be as multi-facetted and complex as the issues facing teens are and include deep theological reflection, education, and fidelity in long term partnership as the pragmatic portion of this paper will suggest.

In sum, these vast arrays of experts, practitioners, theologians, and researchers all agree that something is askew in youth ministry and cries out for transformation. I once heard Tony Campolo when talking about Democrats and Republicans say Democrats believe the problems are corporate and that we need systemic change best orchestrated by the government and Republicans believe the problem is individual responsibility best done by empowering the individual and keeping government out of it. Tony pointed out that both are right and both are wrong and that both views need to be understood together to truly tackle the complexity of issues facing the country. I take the same approach in describing the challenges of Youth Ministry today. Exclusively these authors are both right and wrong and what’s needed is to listen to these voices as individual symptoms that must be addressed due to systematic realities.

Clearly Dean, Clark, Martinson, and Root are right that we need a theologically grounded youth ministry understood in the deeply perichoretic reality of a relational God. This sacrificial and suffering God reflected in the Passion that Dean calls us back to and echoed by Root reminds us that incarnation cannot be removed from the cross. Obviously like all sinners we professionals think too highly of ourselves and we must re-center the family as primary agents of faith formation but not as new form of exclusivity but in the context of the Body of Christ. Clark is right that youth have been abandoned and Oestreicher grabs hold of that with the desire for affinity but it can’t be done as a new strategy of influence or more creative contextualization.

Dr. Martinson reminds us that all is not lost and the congregational church is still an outpost for the Holy Spirit for both symptomatic and systematic change. The Exemplary Youth Ministry study that we look at further in the pragmatic gives us a vision for this both/and reality. It must be said however that convergence of these issues point to a major shift not just for youth ministry but for the Church, it’s ecclesiology and our response to imagio dei. With Martinson, Dean, King, and Root we can say with confidence that the road ahead for youth is theological but one not just swept up in the recent history of adolescence rather something much larger. This isn’t the first time God’s people have been faced with such a cataclysmic shift and the Holy Spirit has always provided a response which inevitably returns us to God’s transcendent Word.


[1] Mark W. Cannister, Back To the Future in Youth Ministry, 13 April 2009 .

[2] Oestreicher, Mark Youth Ministry 3.0 A Manifesto of Where we’ve been, Where We are and Where we need to Go Zondervan Publishing Grand Rapids, MI ©2008 by Mark Oestreicher pg. 24

[3] Dean, Kenda Creasy Practicing Passion Youth and the quest for a passionate Church ©2004 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, MI

[4] King, Mike Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students Into Spiritual Formation ©2006 by Mike King Published by InterVarsity Press Downers Grove, IL pg.68

[5] Dean, Kenda Creasy and Foster, Ron The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry ©1998 by Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster Published by the Upper Room Books Nashville, TN

[6] Clark Chapman Hurt: inside the world of today’s teenagers ©2004 by Chap Clark Published by Baker Academic Grand Rapids, MI pg. 55

[7] Ibid pg. 186

[8] Root, Andrew Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry ©2007 by Andrew Root Published by Intervarsity Press Madison, WI pg. 72

[9] Romans 5:6

[10] Root pg. 96

[11] Martinson, Roland D. Effective Youth Ministry ©1988 Augsburg Publishing House Minneapolis, MN pg. 103

[12] Luther, Martin Large Catechism

[13] Martinson pg. 130

[14] The Barna research as reported by the Family Based ministry organization at http://familybasedyouthministry.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=39&Itemid=47 Last accessed on April 22, 2009

The YMCA report was reported to the Clinton White House Conference on Teenagers and can be found: http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/EOP/First_Lady/html/teens/survey.html Accessed on April 22, 2009

[15] We’ll note examples of this reality when we discuss Christian Smiths’ research shortly

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Comments
  1. Jim says:

    I too have read and thought through these different philosophies on youth ministry. I’m looking forward to see if you tie them all together or do you side with a few or maybe you toss them all aside?
    I also think that your youth ministry philosophy may rely on the years of youth ministry experience. If you are new and young it may be more relational or if older with many years of experience you may be more program driven or parent driven.
    Great stuff to talk about. Thanks Jerry.

    • reformthis says:

      Thanks Jim. I appreciate your interest and I’m excited to hear your thoughts. It’s one thing to write a thesis its another thing to open it up to the the world and see if it resinates with real life.

    • Jerry Watts says:

      one more thought on your comment. You’ll find as I lay out the thesis. I neither tie them together or throw them away. But rather see them as voices pointing towards a larger shift.

      I think the many different views on youth ministry give us hint not about about the specific context they are in but also about the larger climate. Some questions I still have are does this have traction outside of North America? If we don’t have leaders like Luther or Calvin in this shift, what does it mean to arrive? Have we already shifted and are now just living out what this transformation looks like in the pragmatic? Finally how will we understand the authority of Scripture afterwards? I pray (and suggest) it requires the same kind of passion and fidelity to the Scriptures like previous shifts led us to.

  2. […] The Great Emergence and Youth Ministry – My friend Jerry has just started a blog based on his thesis for his Masters of Arts degree from Luther Seminary. I will likely be posting on this more later. For now, take the time to read what he has written. […]

  3. […] Thesis Youth ministry first began to notice Youth Ministry 2.0’s (see what Marko calls this in Part 1 or check out his book here) failure when one of it’s champions Mike Yaconelli told us, “the […]

  4. Jolene says:

    WOW!! I always new you were a deep and reflective person with so much to offer the kingdom of God – you blow me away! Blessings as you continue the journey God has placed you on! And can i say “WOW” again!

  5. Anastasia says:

    Jerry – This is phenomenally good so far. You have really hit the nail on the head with the “we give them pizza but not Christ” stuff. My youth group experience (in the late 70s and early 80s) was more profound. We did a lot of bible study and not so many activities – except in summer. We read and discussed Bonhoeffer and Lewis in addition to the Bible. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your thesis!

    • Jerry Watts says:

      Thanks Anastasia. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ways you’ve noticed God has done transformational work in your life. Those stories are important for us to hear!

  6. Andy Brown says:

    Jerry, I really enjoyed reading this. While I admit that I haven’t read the books you list here, I am intrigued with them. From my own personal experience, we as a church are beginning to minister to the kids of the 70’s/80’s, who wee given ” Pizza not gospel” They were a product of numbers-vs- substance. The gospel gets its power from its truth, but its truth is based on faith, grace, and love. Till our relationships with students is based on the same we will never have the genuine relationships it takes to show the kids a ” holy-man, not a used car salesman”– worried about final numbers. All I can say Jerry is. I am excited to see you working through this and look forward to reading the rest of this.

    • Jerry Watts says:

      Thanks Andy it seems like both you and Anastasia have resonated with the desire for deep meaning. I look forward to hearing ways you see this transformation happening too!

  7. […] lives of youth and our youth ministries? What does it mean in light of the Great Emergence? (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 where I’ve written about the Great […]

  8. […] New Testament it’s always talking about life in Christ.  Imagine a youth ministry for the Great Emergence that is built around relationships and not program.  Imagine empowering families, teachers, […]

  9. […] first wrote this in 2007 parts of which are included in my thoughts on the Great Emergence: intro, part 1, part 2, part 3, & part […]

  10. […] Descriptive, Part Two is Empirical, Part Three is the Normative, and Part Four is the Pragmatic. part 1, part 2, part 3, & part […]

  11. […] with part 1) in 2007 parts of which are included in my thoughts on the Great Emergence: intro, part 1, part 2, part 3, & part […]

  12. […] part 1, part 2) in 2007 parts of which are included in my thoughts on the Great Emergence: intro, part 1, part 2, part 3, & part […]

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