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Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation Paperback – October 8, 2007


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Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation + The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry + Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn't Last and What Your Church Can Do About It
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (October 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830834885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830834884
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 4.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In Andrew Root's debut, he has produced a book that every youth worker (and every sponsor, volunteer, parent and pastor) should read. With incisive thinking and articulate writing, Root argues that relationships are not a means to a goal--they are the goal. He treats history fairly, develops a compelling Christology and shows how Christ is present within human relationships. Without hyperbole, I predict this book will change the face of Christian youth ministry." (Tony Jones, national coordinator of Emergent Village (www.emergentvillage.org) and author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier)

"In this groundbreaking book, Andrew Root explodes the myth that those involved with youth ministry can be excused from being theologians and that theologians can be exempted from writing a theology for youth ministry. Drawing upon the incarnational and transformational theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, among others, Root argues for a relational ministry that is incarnational rather than merely instrumental. He presents Jesus as a living person rather than merely providing a pattern for incarnational ministry, and shows us how a relational ministry can go beyond merely connecting with others to create and inhabit a transforming space. Andy knows how to enter and interpret the culture of adolescence and youth, and shares this wisdom with us. His case studies and creative scenarios put faces on his facts and lend dramatic life to his theories. The book provides the course on theology of ministry that most youth leaders and pastors never got in Bible school or seminary, and the one indispensable text that professors of youth ministry have been longing for." (Ray S. Anderson, senior professor of theology and ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"Andy Root has unveiled the most significant challenge in youth ministry today--unconditional relationships. Too often we use relationships to achieve our goals and in the process abandon teenagers when those goals are not achieved. Andy has brilliantly laid before us an essential course correction for relational youth ministry that is faithful to the incarnation of Jesus." (Mark W. Cannister, professor of youth ministries, Gordon College)

"Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry establishes Andrew Root as a seminal voice in a new generation of youth ministry scholars. Fresh, wise and disciplined, Root exposes the sand on which much 'relational youth ministry' of the late twentieth century has been based, and recasts the church's ministry with young people in the Christology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In so doing, Root injects youth ministry with both a needed missional direction and a welcome theological humility. Drawing on 'real life' relational ministries, Root offers concrete practices that reestablish youth ministry's footing in the suffering love of God in Jesus Christ. Andrew Root is poised to lead the field in rethinking youth ministry as a practical theological discipline, and this book is a breathtaking step in the right direction." (Kenda Creasy Dean, M.Div., Ph.D., parent, pastor and associate professor of youth, church and culture, Princeton Theological Seminary)

"Andrew Root combines biblical studies, history, sociology and theology in a well-researched mix that, I hope, will drive our youth ministry thought and practice. In a day and age when every youth ministry practitioner owes it to the One who first modeled incarnational ministry and to the kids we serve to be thoughtful about what we do, this is a book that will get you thinking about what you're doing." (Dr. Walt Mueller, president, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, and author of Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture)

About the Author

Andrew Root (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is in the Baalson Olson Chair as associate professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN). A former Young Life staffworker, he has served in churches and social service agencies as a youth outreach associate and a gang prevention counselor.

More About the Author

Hey, my name is Andrew Root (I go by Andy), I teach classes on youth ministry, young adults, family, church, and culture (all with a deep theological bent) at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. I've written ten books that are out (and two on the way). You can see those below. I live in St. Paul, my wife Kara is a Presbyterian minister and we have two kids (Owen and Maisy) and two dogs (that destroy my yard). When I'm not teaching and writing I watch a ton of TV and movies and I'm a huge Twins, Wild, and Gopher hockey fan. Check out my webpage, find me on Facebook, or follow me on twitter.

www.andrewroot.org
www.facebook.com/andrew-root
www.twitter.com/rootandrew

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
Please, read this book!
Thomas L. Welch
The author challenges us to see the relationships we build with youth in our ministry as more than a tool to lead them to Christ.
Seth Vopat
If you work in youth ministry I would highly recommend reading this book...twice.
Lauren N. Gam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Thomas L. Welch on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Please, read this book! This fascinating work represents the cutting edge of thinking theologically about ministry with children and youth (and, really, ministry with all people). Andrew Root's penetrating assessment of popular conceptions of youth ministry speaks with a critical voice that, at the same time it exposes the underlying & unspoken assumptions that have been brought to YM, it also brings freedom, new possibility, & great hope - both to our precious children and to the many weary, burned-out, and guilt-laden youth workers who question the difference they are really making.

What Root essentially accomplishes is to re-center youth ministry on Jesus Christ, the God who is with us, not off waiting for us somewhere else. Root's argument leads us away from a "relational ministry" that leverages relationships to get kids to sign onto a "third thing" and reframes ministry as "participation in God's presence" here and now, in this human relationship. He is critical of how the incarnation of Christ has so often been reduced to a pattern or strategy that is "goal-oriented" instead of "companionship-oriented". This agenda ends up being more about ideology than incarnation. Instead, resting on the theological foundation of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, he recasts youth ministry as "place-sharing".

What does this mean? Root derives this term from Lutheran Theologian/Martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote of Christ's strellvertretung, or "vicarious-representative-action". This is a more relationally-conceived & dynamic understanding of Christ as our "substitute". What does it mean for a youth worker to be in real, authentic, human relationship with an adolescent?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Johnston on November 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Andrew Root, in his teaching and in this book, genuinely cares about youth. Combining this with a keen intellect and a deep conviction of the power of Christ crucified to answer the deepest aches of youth today. His thinking is a unique and much needed contribution in youth ministry today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Seth Vopat on October 12, 2009
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The author challenges us to see the relationships we build with youth in our ministry as more than a tool to lead them to Christ. He calls us to live out our theology, to see where Christ is present, which is in the center of our relationships with the youth.

While the book is broken into two parts it can really be broken into three. In the first section the author examines a history of how we got to the present culture where often the relationships built with youth are little more than tools to get them to buy into Christ, our ministry, and program. The second part examines three important theological questions we must answer: Who is Jesus? Where is Jesus Christ? What then shall we do? Then the author examines how this theology impacts our practical day-to-day relationships (place-sharing)with youth, parents, and other adults.

While the book is scholarly in nature, it is well written, making it accessible to a wider audience. The author uses multiple anecdotes to help the reader grasp the concepts described in the book. Dietrich Bonhoeffer's theology does play a major role in his book, but he is upfront with it. And rather than just continually spout off his theology the author takes his theology and, in a sense, translates it into a friendly format for youth ministry.

This book is for anyone who desires to live out theology instead of just talking about it; building deeper, more authentic relationships with youth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maria F. Drews on September 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you liked Chap Clark's "Hurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers" or are just looking to get away from a ministry where you feel like you are trying to "sell" teens Jesus, this is an amazing book. Root gives a great history of the development of adolescence and how youth ministry has grown during that time, then takes a look at the faults of "relational ministry" before focusing in on the theology and practicals of incarnational ministry with adolescents. Although this is not a quick read (it will give you plenty to chew on) EVERYONE in ministry should read this. I would put it in my top three of youth ministry books, and I've read a lot!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Casey Mccollum on August 5, 2008
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Look, I am a YM and I read a great deal of YM books, Most are average, there are a handful of good ones, fewer great ones (Contemplative YM being one of these), and then there is this one - I feel THAT strongly about it. This book finally gives YM the theological backbone that it has been sorely missing (or never really had in some circles).
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Andrew Root has a much needed message to all who work in youth ministry in Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry. Why are you in relationship with youth, is it only to influence them? If that is the case, then please take some time to read this for the case why relationships are not (and should not be) a "tool" but are so very important in and of themselves. I strongly recommend this book as a professional youth minister for the last 10 years.
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By Lauren N. Gam on September 28, 2011
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This book is written so well. It's hard to put this read down. If you work in youth ministry I would highly recommend reading this book...twice.
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