What to Expect at the Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry

The Princeton Forums on Youth Ministry are an uncommon blend of theological and practical exploration of ministry with young people. We bring together scholars and experienced practitioners to teach and uplift leaders in youth ministry. At the Forum you will find scholars in practical theology, biblical studies, culture and theology, along with veterans in youth ministry, engaging preachers, and innovative church leaders, all offering their gifts to strengthen the Church’s ministry with young people. At the Forum you will connect with others in youth ministry, reflect, rest, worship, play, and be renewed.

Who Comes to the Forums?
The Princeton Forums on youth ministry are for anyone seeking to inspire young people to serve Jesus Christ in the world today. Participants may include youth directors, Christian educators, pastors, associate pastors, campus pastors, academics, volunteer youth leaders, judicatory leaders, and staff from youth serving agencies.

The Princeton Lectures on Youth, Church, and Culture, are delivered at the Forum and published annually. The lectures are designed to foster original scholarship pertaining to youth and the contemporary church. Lecturers include scholars who are not directly involved in the practice or study of youth ministry, but who can bring the fruits of their respective disciplines to bear on ministry with the young. Past lecturers have included Kenda Creasy Dean, Peter Gomes, Douglas John Hall, Arun Jones, Martin E. Marty, Jürgen Moltmann, Richard Osmer, Evelyn Parker, Katherine Patterson, Harold J. Recinos, Andrew Root, Christian Smith, Marianne Mey Thompson, Miroslav Volf, and William Willimon. Past lectures are available here.

Extended seminars are three-session courses meeting for 75 minutes each day. These courses provide in-depth study relating theological disciplines to youth ministry. Forum participants enroll in one extended seminar.

Electives are one-session courses that meet for 90 minutes. These courses focus on specialized subjects in practical theology. More than simple “how-to” workshops, electives offer significant theological reflection on ministry, as well as practical applications. Participants may select four electives.

Worship occurs each day of the Forum and provides the opportunity for participants and leaders to gather as a community and offer prayer and praise to God. The theme of the Forum will be addressed through the reading of scripture, proclamation of God’s word, prayers, music, and drama. The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at closing worship.

Theologians-in-Residence lead extended seminars at the forum and are also available for casual conversation at meals or around the coffeepot. Many serve as faculty at a seminary, and their fields include biblical studies, Christian education, pastoral care, and theology.

Faculty members lead the elective courses at the forum. Forum faculty includes scholars, pastors, youth directors, and representatives of agencies that serve young people.

We seek to provide time and space for connecting with others in ministry at the Forum. That’s why we include a few communal meals and the coffee breaks. Friendships are nurtured and ideas are exchanged over the coffee pot and at table. We’ve also carved out some free time at both Forums to allow folks to explore the area and hang out with new or old friends. There will also be some activities offered during the free time.