- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Baker Academic; 2 edition (October 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801049016
- ISBN-13: 978-0801049019
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,083,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Foundations for Youth Ministry: Theological Engagement with Teen Life and Culture 2nd Edition
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From the Back Cover
"In his capstone work, Foundations for Youth Ministry, Dean Borgman draws together a lifetime of engagement with theology and youth ministry to provide a vista from which to view the diverging and converging streams of youth ministry philosophy and practice. The book clearly establishes Borgman as the dean of youth ministers."
--Mark H. Senter III, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Truly a giant in youth ministry, Borgman offers theological depth, years of experience, and contextual integrity. Weaving together a tapestry of theology, anthropology, and culture, Borgman reveals the essential foundations that shape every aspect of youth ministry. Processing these fundamentals provides the firm foundation on which youth ministry is properly constructed."
--Mark Cannister, Gordon College; author of Teenagers Matter
"Dean Borgman's When Kumbaya Is Not Enough was foundational for me at the beginning of my career as a youth ministry educator. My own interests in youth, theology, the arts, and social sciences meant his book was a touchstone for many of my courses. So naturally I am thrilled about Borgman's newest work picking up where Kumbaya left off. Foundations for Youth Ministry is a bold project that considers holistic theology in the context of persons, relationships, and place. As a trailblazer who remains cutting-edge, Borgman challenges much of our traditional thinking about youth ministry. And he remains a must read."
--Calenthia S. Dowdy, Eastern University
"If there is one person who has led the way in careful study of youth ministry, it is Dean Borgman. He has faithfully and consistently worked to remind the world that youth ministry matters. In this magnum opus, Dean has brought together decades of experience in direct ministry, teaching, and consulting to produce a grounding resource that summarizes the best contemporary thinking about the call of the church to kids. He is thoroughly current, thoughtfully integrated, and carefully critical, all while communicating a single message: God cares about young people, and so should we."
--Chap Clark, Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers
About the Author
Dean Borgman (MA, Fairfield University and Columbia University) is the Charles E. Culpeper Professor of Youth Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and teaches at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary. An internationally recognized authority on y
Top customer reviews
Several years ago, my church was going through a new youth pastor about every 6 months: a frightening turnover in any environment. While this problem only lasted a couple of years, it was stressful and disconcerting to say the least. What we noticed was that many people were not equipped to do what is required of an effective youth pastor in this current political and sociological environment. In several different board meetings, mounting frustration was shared that there needed to be a resource that new and struggling youth pastors could turn to. I, as one of the pastors, poured over the materials that were available at the time.
In looking at the materials that were available 4-5 years ago, what I found was that a small percentage were good, but overly academic and with very little application. What's more, few if any of them took into consideration to modern social climate either out of neglect of the author or out of age of the text. The remainder of the books I found were rife with psychotherapy babble and extra-biblical ideas. What I was looking for was a baseline for youth pastors not an inspirational novella or a how-to book on how to improve my youth ministry through social networking, yikes!
What we find in Dean Borgman's book Foundations for Youth Ministry is the book I need a half-decade ago. The author lays out a clear, easy-to-follow theological foundation that informs a new youth pastor about the ideas, approaches, and doctrines that are out there in addition to providing a step-by-step form of exegetical interpretation that remains biblical while allowing enough room to show the youth of the church how scripture is not just applicable but fundamental in their day-to-day lives.
Borgman then goes into many of the common apologetic and application issues that teens run into (family, peers, sexuality, culture, technology) and offers pastors a way to show how each is addressed in the Bible. Perhaps the most valuable element Borgman shares is his demonstration of how we are not to make the everything Bible applicable to the world but instead how everything in the world is applicable to the Bible. This consistent, scripture-oriented approach to youth ministry is truly the foundational element of this book.
If the book stopped here it would be good, but Borgman goes on to show how the lessons for both youth and the pastor branch off into other elements of ministry. The ideas of team-building, relationships, and outreach are, while not keystone to the text, clearly implied throughout. Above all, the author stresses the high calling of youth ministry and ends with this thought "I am convinced that God wants us to be as wise as possible about ourselves, young people, families, and cultures around us. God also wants us to understand both the heavenly, spiritual side of the church and its human, institutional realities."
Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert Bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson's blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
The book for this review was provided free of charge by Baker Academic through NetGalley.com. This book was provided without the expectation or requirement of a positive response. Thank you to both the publisher and NetGalley.com for the opportunity to both read your advanced copy and to provide this unpaid evaluation. All opinions in this review reflect the views of the author and not DBI, NetGalley.com, or the publisher.
The book is divided into 4 parts. In Part 1, entitled Practical Theological Foundations, Borgman introduces readers to practical theology by getting them used to asking questions and thinking about interpretation. In Part 2, called Theology of Persons, the reader looks at the different influences that shape a person. Part 3—Practical Theology Engaging Culture—gives youth workers advice on evaluating and interpreting cultural influences on students. Finally, in Part 4, labeled Practical Theology for Holistic Youth Ministry, Borgman summarizes his findings while providing a vision for how this book can impact a youth ministry.
Every part has between 2–5 chapters, each covering a relevant topic in that part. The chapters cover relevant research and writings in the area, along with anecdotes from Borgman’s years of ministry experience. Footnotes provide ample opportunity for further reading.
In Part 1 Borgman lays a theological foundation for the rest of the book. He is more concerned with practical instead of systematic theology, mainly because he wants the book to be read by youth workers from all Christian denominations and affiliations. Rather, he focuses on doxological theology—theology that worships God as it explains him.
He challenges readers to begin thinking as theologians, processing and interpreting culture around them and their students. Borgman notes that he is not trying to completely reject culture. Rather, "This book seeks God’s wisdom to explore the complex and subtle ways culture promotes and hinders youthful growth" (page 8)
Much of Part 1 is introductory theological work; it is foundational and necessary for those without formal training, and helpful for those with biblical or seminary education. Most of all, he wants all readers to be thinking critically, to evaluate why and how they teach and relate to students.
In this part, Borgman turns to discussing theologies of the self. As a large part of youth ministry is building influential relationships with students, it is important to understand what makes and shapes them. He walks readers through the processes of growth and development (chapter 6), along with how students are shaped by their community (chapter 7), family (chapter 8), and sexuality (chapter 9). In each chapter, he highlights recent research and developments in these areas.
For Part 3, Borgman turns to the various ways students are impacted by culture. Again, he is not rejecting culture outright, but wants readers to interpret and analyze the good and bad influences of culture. He provides some more thinking about the nature of culture (chapter 10), followed by a journey through history to see how the church has engaged with culture in the past (chapter 11). This is followed by two chapters looking at specific 21st -century cultural influences: the digital revolution (chapter 12) and the consumerist age (chapter 13).
Borgman concludes this part by discussing the theology of humor (chapter 14). Not often found in systematic theologies, Borgman is right for covering this subject in a youth ministry theology book! In this chapter, he provides a balanced look at humor—giving reasons for the necessity and importance of humor, as well as the reasons for caution and limits to types of humor.
In Part 4 Borgman seeks to tie in the whole book into a final bit of encouragement for youth workers. He provides a few thoughts on the different types of methods or models in youth ministry, and how this theology would work in them (chapter 15). Finally, in the last chapter (chapter 16) he reminds youth workers of their sacred calling, writing: "You are indeed called to what might be considered the church’s most neglected mission. [Students] are the church’s closest and most critical unreached people group" (287).
Dean Borgman has done youth workers a great service by producing a well-written book on practical theology. By focusing on the theology behind youth ministry, he gives readers a chance to think through the implications of youth ministry, especially in interpreting and evaluating cultural influences on teens.
Part 1 is by far the strongest of the entire book. These chapters would be helpful for any church leader or aspiring theologian, as their content is not exclusive to youth ministry. His thoughts on doxological theology alone are well worth the price of the book.
The chapters are thoroughly researched, with plenty of footnotes and citations to serve as starting points for further research. The chapters cover a wide variety of topics, several of which could be lengthened to book-length. Some chapters try to cover too much, making them feel like disjoined essays rather than a unified chapter. A few other chapters are weaker than others, consisting of little more than a review of relevant research. The final two chapters of the book do a great job of concluding the book by encouraging youth workers to be thinking theologically about teens and culture.
In Foundations for Youth Ministry, Dean Borgman has left generations of youth workers with a mighty fine tool to help shape their thinking about ministry. He builds a theological framework which youth workers can use to process developmental, cultural, and social influences on teens. This is an excellent book for all youth workers to work slowly through, thinking about the implications in their current ministry context.
I received a complementary review copy of this book from Baker Academic in exchange for an unbiased review.