This is an online event hosted by The Institute for Youth Ministry, featuring Dr. Andrew Root.
Youth workers know what it is to watch parents and youth participate in multiple activities, even in a season when many organizations have adapted their activities to a digital space. Most families say that they have limited time for connecting to their youth ministry or youth group. This happens even when parent(s) (and youth) express a desire to participate. A parent might even say, “Sorry, we haven’t gotten her to youth group in the last six months, it's just that gymnastics is kind of her thing; it's really who she is.” This can be frustrating for youth workers. Some respond by contending that youth ministry needs to up the commitment level and move higher up the ranking of things. In this presentation, we will together explore how this approach does not work, because the decisions parents and young people make exist inside very deep conceptions of what makes for a good life. With limited time and unlimited options, youth ministry can’t — and, as Root will show, shouldn’t — compete in ranking of important activities. Youth ministry should not be just another thing (like basketball, violin, or debate club). Instead, we should turn toward story to reimagine what youth ministry can be for.
Andrew Root, PhD '06, is the Carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. He is most recently the author of the three-volume Ministry in a Secular Age series (The Congregation in a Secular Age, The Pastor in a Secular Age, and Faith Formation in a Secular Age), and The End of Youth Ministry? He has also authored Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross (Fortress, 2014) and Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker (Baker, 2014). Root puts together theology and storytelling to explore how ministry leads us into encounter with divine action. His book The Relational Pastor (IVP, 2013) as well as a four-book series with Zondervan called A Theological Journey Through Youth Ministry (titles include Taking Theology to Youth Ministry, Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry, Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry, and Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry) break new ground in this direction. In 2012 his book The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry (with Kenda Creasy Dean, IVP, 2011) was Christianity Today Book of Merit. He has written a number of other books on ministry and theology such as The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being (Baker Academic, 2010), The Promise of Despair (Abingdon, 2010), Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation (IVP, 2007) and Relationships Unfiltered (Zondervan/YS, 2009). Root has worked in congregations, parachurch ministries, and social service programs. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Kara, two children, Owen and Maisy, and their dog. When not reading, writing, or teaching, Root spends far too much time watching TV and movies.