I wanted to share just a few thoughts about the new Immerse Journal for youth workers.
I have been waiting for a publication like this for quite some time, and have been encouraged and inspired so far by what I have read.
For those of who unaware of Immerse, here is some brief information on it.
A note from Chris Folmsbee regarding Immerse:
“Each article is meant to help youth workers in whatever context they might find themselves working to help guide students into spiritual formation for the mission of God. Immerse is about providing youth workers with theologically robust, soul-caring and genuinely practiced tools for contextualizing the mission of God. ”
He could not have said that any better, and three issues from it birth, Immerse has proven itself true to its vision and hopes.
What I have discovered in Immerse is new ideas, theological insights, spiritual direction and formation, and an emphasis on historical and ecumenical Christianity rooted in biblical narrative of missio Dei (the mission of God)
What I also have appreciated is that under the guidance of Chris and the executive director Mike King, Immerse is providing a voice for new thinkers and youth workers. While I have always appreciated the “experts” speaking into youth ministry issues, it has long been an issue of mine that those individuals are “the” voice of youth ministry. They are the ones who speak at conferences and, until now, they are the ones writing for all the youth ministry magazines and books. I get it. They have years of experience and wisdom and we can learn a great deal. But what about younger, fresher voices? There has not been a platform for the unseen youth workers until Immerse jumped into the seen.
Sure, Immerse has and will continue to seek input from veterans (as they should), but will also provide all types of youth workers and thinkers a voice. In the past few years, I have met numerous young youth workers who have amazing theological insights to youth ministry. Some have collaborated on some writing with me and others I hope to work with in the future. Though less “experienced” than even myself, these men and woman understand contemporary teen culture and the interplay of contextual Christianity and, I also believe represent where youth ministry is heading in the future.
Immerse, and youth ministry leaders such as Chris and Mike are progressive, forward thinking, yet still grounded and rooted in historical and biblical Christianity. I appreciate them as friends and as believers in the emerging generation of youth workers. They believe in the Church, the future of youth ministry, and the hope and dream of God for the world.
Immerse is a good read for youth workers of all types, and finally ones who are really interested in the interplay of theology and youth ministry.
Our theology influences and impacts how and why we minister to teens. It helps determine what we teacher, how we teacher, what kind of environment we hope to create, the type of faith community we strive to build with our teens, why we do “missions” or service trips, and what we hope to accomplish while on them.
This past year I attended a conference in MN focussing on this same interconnectedness. You can read my thoughts here
A note about Mike King
*This book sets the bar for creating a theological and historical foundation for God’s presence in youth ministry. The book shows how classic disciplines, symbols, and practices can shape the worldviews, virtues, and habits of young people today. “If Brother Lawrence had been a youth pastor, this book would have been his favorite resource.” – Kendra Dean