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The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry Paperback – September 18, 2011
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"This book has much to commend itself. It both offers fresh approaches to issues the church has thought about often, and addresses new areas about which the church has not thought enough. . . . Having read this book and absorbed the depth and vision the authors present, I find myself hopeful. . . . If youth ministry is the research and development department to the church, then this product is ready to launch for the sake of the world." (Philip L. Ruge-Jones, Word & World, 33/3, Summer 2013)
"It is time to turn to theological substance and faith formation. This book talks about why this is true, and more important, it demonstrates how it may be done. The closing postscript on youth ministry as practical theology is worth the price of admission." (The Christian Century, October 17, 2012)
"Andrew Root and Kenda Creasy Dean invite you to envision youth ministries full of practical theologians, addressing the deep questions of life with a wonderfully adolescent mix of idealism, cynicism, and prophetic intolerance for hypocrisy." (Youth & Discipleship Leadership, Summer 2012)
"Root and Dean invite readers to envision youth ministries full of practical theologians, addressing the deep questions of life with a wonderfully adolescent mix of idealism, cynicism, and prophetic intolerance for hypocrisy." (YouthWorker Journal, July/August 2011)
"The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry is a practical theology winner. Newcomers to practical theology will applaud its interplay of experience, reflection and action. Veterans to the field will give its masterful synergy of breadth and depth a standing ovation." (Kara Powell, executive director, Fuller Youth Institute, Fuller Theological Seminary)
"I am euphoric over Kenda Creasy Dean and Andrew Root's book, The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry. We have been perplexed by decades of accumulating and overwhelming data indicating that the Christian church in North America is failing to form disciples among adolescents who stay connected to their churches. Root and Dean skillfully illustrate the essential role practical theology plays as an imperative correction toward authentic Christian formation of young people. The authors describe and advocate for a theological turn that will not only prove to be a key factor in transforming the way we engage youth ministry but also result in widespread ecclesial change. Today's young adults are eager to engage in deep theological reflection that allows them to wrestle with the issues that can truly bring meaning to their lives. The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry is a seminal work that will stir up the prophetic imagination of youth workers." (Mike King, president of Youthfront and author of Presence-Centered Youth Ministry)
"An important step in the right direction. Who says teenagers can't understand the theological thrust of, say, Karl Barth? They can and they must." (Christian Smith, University of Notre Dame, author of Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers)
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.
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I found particularly helpful the second part where youth ministry practices and topics are interpreted and evaluated through a theological lens. The authors address how we speak to teens about Jesus and sin, as well deepen our theological understanding of events such as summer camp, missions trips, wilderness adventures, and confirmation.
Anyone interested in how to take teens deeper into God's Word should read this book!
IVP has published a potentially useful tome that could fuel discussion, but it remains for history to judge if "The result is a more rigorous and meaningful youth ministry, and a more theologically grounded and engaged church." (Back cover.)