emerging youth ministry recommended resources

These are not listed in any particular order. I hope you may find some of these resources beneficial in the ever-changing climate of contextual youth ministry.

I have benefitted from these organizations, curriculum, and networks both in New York and now in an international setting in France.

Barefoot Ministries  http://barefootministries.com/

Recommended:  “Missio Life”, Immerse Journal, Credo, “A World Unbroken”

http://www.immersejournal.com/

http://barefootministries.com/aworldunbroken

Sparkhouse    http://wearesparkhouse.org/

“SPARKHOUSE CREATES RESOURCES FOR CHRISTIANS THROUGH COLLABORATION AND IMAGINATION. OUR MISSION IS TO SPARK NEW LIFE IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES.”

Recommended:

Re:form curriculum (Confirmation, Ancestors, Traditions)

Echo the Story

The United Church of Christ  http://www.ucc.org/

“Our Whole Lives” Justice and Sexuality Education series

http://www.ucc.org/justice/sexuality-education/our-whole-lives.html

Paraclete Press  http://www.paracletepress.com/

The Jesus Creed (student edition)  http://www.paracletepress.com/the-jesus-creed-for-students-loving-god-loving-others.html

YouthFront– spiritual formation and camps

http://www.youthfront.com/

The Youth Cartel

http://theyouthcartel.com/

“Instigating a Revolution in Youth Ministry”

Recommended:

The Good News Curriculum

http://theyouthcartel.com/products/good-news-in-the-neighborhood-a-6-week-curriculum-for-groups/

Open YM events

http://youthwork-magazine.co.uk/main/index.php

Short-term missions:

Envision   http://envision-culture.com/

Habitat for Humanity   www.habitat.org

Group Work Camps  http://groupmissiontrips.com/workcamps

Academic and Theological Training:

Princeton Theological Seminary

*Institute for Youth Ministry  http://www.ptsem.edu/iym/

Fuller Theological Seminary

*Fuller Youth Institute http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/

International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry (IASYM) http://www.iasym.net/

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“Youth Ministry Theology”- an Immerse Journal article

Picture this: You are staring at a dusty old bookshelf in a library with a codex, of sorts, as your guide. You scroll through each section then each aisle, until finally you come across a small book that you carefully and reverently remove. The dust is whisked away, and with great care the cover is opened to reveal a table of contents you have rarely observed before. This is the hunt for theology in youth ministry.

Over the years, conversations have circled around regarding the importance, or lack thereof, of theology in youth ministry. For some youth workers, this discipline is viewed as archaic and unnecessary while, for others, yearly curricula are structured around theological treatises. So which is it? Is theology important in youth ministry or not?

Here is perhaps a better question: Do students need to learn theology (i.e., learn about God) in order to follow him? Or can students begin to follow and then learn to trust and believe? Are students’ experiences more important than their beliefs? If we believe the answer to be yes, then how important is theology in youth ministry?

*To read the rest of the article, please click on the following link:

Immerse Journal-featured article

Going Deeper with: Tony Jones’s “A Theology Primer”

Tony Jones, author of Postmodern Youth Ministry, wrote an excellent and thought-provoking article for the latest edition of Immerse Journal.

I have known Tony for a number of years and very much appreciate his friendship as well as  theological insights, passion, and innovation in ministry.

His focus was on practical theology in youth ministry.  I was asked to write a reflective companion piece for Immerse Journal sharing the implementation of these ideas in my context.

Here is a sample of the article:

When I first arrived at my church, I was fresh from a college education steeped in systematic theology. I was schooled in theories of understanding attributes and characteristics of God. So naturally, some of my first teachings with high school and middle school students were based on intellectual assertions of Christian doctrines. I taught lessons such as the doctrine of humanity, the revelation of God, the nature of sin, conceptions of salvation, the role of the church and so forth.

I had a clear structure and system for my teachings. Everything fit neatly into this theological package, of sorts. Of course, I tried my best to use clever illustrations to make my point so students would not fall asleep.

After a few years of trekking down this path, I began to make important observations.

First, I began to struggle with certain “proofs” and ways of attempting to articulate and define the mysterious and indefinable. I wondered if God could, in fact, be simplified to a bulleted list. It seemed to me that God was becoming who I wanted him to be and how I wanted him to work. These attempts are often seen by students as trying to figure out God or box God in. This can minimize the majesty and wonder of our Creator. Rather than come to the conclusion that we can fully understand what God is and how God operates, our practical theological hope has been to discover how God is at work in our lives.

Second, it was increasingly difficult to discern or qualify spiritual transformation in the lives of my students. Sure, I could gauge thought processes and intellectual affirmations, but were these beliefs really making a concrete difference in their lives? Were these ideas helping them become better people who desired to use their lives to bless and serve others?

I learned that what was really happening was that my students began believing that defending these particular “proofs” about God was their purpose; thus, they spent more time apologizing for God than promoting his love.

Third, my students’ life experiences were seldom matching up with the faith-in-a-box presentation. Kids struggled with their parents’ divorces while we read Bible passages about God hating divorce. Students questioned the morality of war or the divinely commanded genocide in the Bible and were left with no real answers. We taught that all people were created in the image of God, yet we had no idea how to be in dialogue with students born with a complex and confusing sexualities.

After a few years of actually doing youth ministry, I discovered firsthand the truth of Tony’s statement, “Life and ministry are rarely, if ever, systematic, thorough, comprehensive. Life and ministry are not clinical. Instead, they’re messy and challenging, and they demand ad hoc, on-the-fly decision making.”

To read the rest of the article, click on this link  Immerse Journal-featured article

Top Ten Youth Ministry bloggers

As we close out another here I wanted to give a shout out to the youth ministry bloggers out there.

This is my own personal list, not intended to be “the” list.

For a great list of youth ministry bloggers check out the Youth Specialties link below

Top 20 youth ministry blogs of 2010

*and by the way YS, no hard feelings that this blog didn’t make your list…maybe next year (hint)

I am not sure how these numbers are calculated.  Hits to site?  Readership?  Subscriptions? Impact?  Name recognition?

Here is how I created my top ten:

People that I actually read, value, and learn from their thoughts in youth ministry.  I have chosen a few “outside of the box” writers and thinkers.  Some of these men and women you have heard of and probably read, others maybe not.  Personally I don’t care as much about the statistics of certain blogs, but more about the ideas presented.  If I can bring some new, progressive, and emerging voices into the realm of youth ministry that would be great.

Clearly there are so many great bloggers out there.  My list will look very different from Youth Specialties or your own..and that is a very good thing.  Each one of us in on a different journey, and so diverse types of thinkers and bloggers will impact us and our ministry.  Here are the thinkers, writers, practitioners, activists, and bloggers who have impacted me this past year.

Top Ten Youth Ministry Bloggers

A new kind of youth ministry–   Chris Folsmbee (author, trainer, and director of Barefoot Ministries

Youth Specialties blog– Adam Mclane and an “assortment” of other youth workers and thinkers

Rethinking Youth Ministry-Brian Kirk and Jacob Thorne (mainline/progressive youth pastors offering new perspectives)

ReYouthpastor– Jeremy Zach (trainer and innovator in youth ministry w/ XP3 students

Mike King (author and director of Immerse Journal and Youthfont)

Why is Marko– Mark Oesteicher (author, speaker, YS emergent brain child)

evolitionist– Neil Christopher (activist and progressive youth pastor in TX)

Lars Rood (author, speaker, youth pastor in TX)

pomomusing– Adam Walker Cleaveland (theologian & “postmodern” youth pastor)

Peter Waugh (progressive and creative youth pastor in Belfast, Ireland)

Now I wish I made my list top 15 or 20 because there are so many other great youth ministry blogs out there.

For more of a fuller and broader list of youth ministry bloggers that I read, please scroll down the right of the home page of Emerging Youth

and find the RSS feeds under “Who I read”. That section is my personal blogroll for youth ministry people.

*Please comment with ones that you follow and read and I will probably add a few more as well!

Happy blogging and Happy New Year



Immerse Journal

I wanted to share just a few thoughts about the new Immerse Journal for youth workers.

Immerse Journal home page

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

First Third

A note about Mike King

Mike King is the CEO of Youth Front Youthfront and author of Presence-Centered Youth Ministry.  Presence Centered Youth Ministry

*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