- Paperback: 114 pages
- Publisher: Eerdmans (June 11, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802867219
- ISBN-13: 978-0802867216
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amplifying Our Witness: Giving Voice to Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities Paperback – June 11, 2012
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"In Amplifying Our Witness, Conner expounds on the challenges and joys of gospel fellowship with young men and women uniquely burdened, and, perhaps, uniquely gifted. Drawing upon scholarly resources and his own experiences ministering to developmentally disabled adolescents in Williamsburg, Virginia, Conner calls upon the church to `create spaces' where mutually redemptive relationships can flourish."
"A profoundly theological discussion that reads like a call narrative for the church. . . . Conner argues that this holy encounter with God occurs not in establishing new outreach programs for disabled adolescents, but in electing to practice friendship with them."
"One of the most astonishing books on Christian formation, youth ministry, and mission that I have ever read. . . . This is not a book about how to do ministry with youth with disabilities; it is about how they are in ministry with us. Brimming with stories of young people you might have overlooked, Amplifying Our Witness reads effortlessly yet plunges us into the deepest questions of what it means to be human, to be Christian, and to be someone who bears God's image. This book did not just move me -- it changed me."
-- KENDA CREASY DEAN
author of Practicing Passion and Almost Christian
"Benjamin Conner here calls attention to what it means for the church to minister to and receive the ministry of adolescents across the ability spectrum. This powerful book will transform the way we think about the missio Dei in a world of differing abilities!"
-- AMOS YONG
author of The Bible, Disability, and the Church
"Amplifying Our Witness combines sound theology with compelling personal stories to offer an image of the fullness of the body of Christ when individuals with disabilities are included. Anyone who wants to create a church culture that honors and receives the gifts of all God's people should read this book."
-- AMY JULIA BECKER
author of A Good and Perfect Gift
"Disability theology hasn't had a serious conversation with missiology -- until now. . . . With scholarly sensitivity and missiological precision Conner offers an important contribution not only to the fields of practical theology, mission studies, and disability theology but also to the life of the whole church as it seeks to be a community of friendship and faithfulness. This book will make a difference."
-- JOHN SWINTON
University of Aberdeen
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Ben's book explains WHY the church is called to serve kids with developmental disabilities while leaving the HOW to our God-given imagination and the working of the Holy Spirit. Given the explosion of kids diagnosed with developmental disabilities, Amplifying Our witness is a worthwhile read for any church leader interested in the spiritual development of our youth.
Amplifying Our Witness: Giving Voice to Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities
Conner's key concepts are reflected in the title: As the faith community needs to hear all prophetic voices in order to bear full witness of Christ, the role of the youth minister is to ensure that those not normally respected must be given opportunity to fully participate and be heard. He takes a practice centered approach, advocating the creation of appropriate environments and welcoming spaces for faith to be nurtured by the Spirit. Recognizing that many with development disabilities have difficulty keeping up with the pace of youth culture, he challenges the notion that faith development and human development are in strict tandem alliance.
Conner urges fellow ministers to seek the Visio Dei - seeing life through God's images. That approach peers beyond impairments and gives new imagination in doing relational ministry of friendship. He continues by exploring the Imago Dei, asserting the face of God is more about encountering Him through friendship than conceptualizing Him through reason. Similarly, as agents of Christ, we are called to be sacramental by developing intentional grace filled friendships as opposed to instrumentally utilizing people to fulfill ministry responsibilities. He challenges our incomplete understanding of the Missio Dei - the role of the church in participating in God's redemptive story . We must allow those with profound disabilities to transform our faith and witness by offering them a place to appear. He concludes by articulating the Opus Dei - the work of God - as it relates for mutual ministry with adolescents with disability. Here he turns from a theoretical structure and outlines practical steps for implementing changes in youth groups and their hosting congregations.
Conner's work engages the best in current evangelical and pentecostal scholarship. Those within the reformed tradition will feel especially at home. Those outside that tradition will only need to extract the intentions behind his analysis of the sacraments and redesign the application to fit their communities.
Amplifying Our Witness is an excellent readable resource for any minister or lay youth worker and should become an essential supplemental text in any introductory youth ministry course.