Every Friday we pull our favorite links from across the inter-webs. This week's trending links include a discussion about mentoring across genders, an interview with Andrew Root about his latest book “Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker”, three thoughts on kids and conversion, we share one of our favorite hashtags from this last week, and plenty of…
We have two brand new resources from Andrew Root. The final 2 books in the “Theologoical Journey Through Youth Ministry.” Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry focuses on how to teach and present the Bible in the lives of teenagers. Andrew Root argues that teens are constant interpreters — always asking…
While I try to maintain boundaries on sharing the intimate details of my personal life on my blog, I cannot help but draw connections between my own story and Andrew Root's newest book, The Children of Divorce.
Root's premise is that divorce is not only a sociological or psychological upheaval, but that at its roots has ontological implications. Divorce affects our very sense of being in the world.
My book, When Church Kids Go Bad, was written to help youth workers make our youth ministries safe places for hurting kids. We need youth ministries that are a refuge for kids to feel both physically and emotionally safe. Places for all kids, and especially troubled kids, so they can hear and see the love of God.
Andrew raises the question regarding the purpose of youth ministry, asking “is it for making and keeping kids good?” The simple answer would be “no.” Our goal in ministry is to have students receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. We want students to be embraced by his love. Because of this encounter with Jesus our students’ lives are changed through their relationship with Jesus. We are all to be transformed; there are many examples in Scripture. Saul, who openly persecuted Christians, became Paul—a changed man. The apostle John, who was a violent and angry man before his encounter with Jesus, had an astonishing transformation. He became known as the “apostle of love” because, more than anyone else in Scripture, he both taught and embodied love. Jesus was able to channel that hate into something good. Our goal in youth ministry is not behavior modification, but it seems to occur when we embrace the Holy Spirit and respond to his work in our life. One of the fruits of the spirit is “goodness” (Galatians 5:22).
I’m a book nerd. I never thought I would be such a person. As a matter of fact, most of the people that knew me in high school would never guess that I would become such a book person, or ever even finish reading a book for that matter. But I am. As a book nerd, one of the things I enjoy most is walking through bookstores or rooms filled with books. When I was restless in seminary, bored, or needed a break, I would walk through the used theological bookstore in the town where I lived.
So when I was at all three National Youth Workers Conventions last fall, I would walk the book tables, just looking at them (and of course, I must confess as all other authors should, I was also checking to see how quickly piles of my book were disappearing. I’m not only a book nerd, but also an ambitiously sinful one).
I have always said that relationships are a vital part of an effective youth ministry. Andrew Root, author of Relationships Unfiltered, would partially agree with me. After reading his thoughts, I may need to change my perspective.
Root, who is assistant professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary, wrote Relationships Unfiltered after years of personal and ministry experience showed him that there was more to relationship than trying to influence the person to do what you want them to do. I still think relationships are vital in youth ministry, but how relationships are handled needs to change. But what does that change look like? You will have to read the book to find that answer, but here are a few clues.
Most youth workers are probably familiar with the practice of “relational youth ministry.” They believe that relationships with adolescents are where the bulk of real ministry happens. Most youth workers will say that relationships are indispensable in youth ministry because relationships are the means by which they earn the right to influence the life of a teenager towards the end of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Luther Seminary Professor Andrew Root thinks this popular explanation for relational youth ministry is theologically unsubstantiated. In fact, he calls it nothing less than a way of practicing docetism.