Youth. Where are youth going and how does it impact the foundation? What are youth telling the church?
Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church, by Kenda Creasy Dean. Oxford University Press, 2010.Based on the National Study of Youth and Religion—the same data presented in Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Smith and Denton)—Dean’s book investigates why American teenagers are at once so positive about Christianity and at the same time so apathetic about genuine religious practice. For Dean: http://kendadean.com
Changing Sea. www.changingsea.org
If you have an interest in young adults ages 18-29 and the worlds they inhabit, this website may be of interest to you. The project is looking at the changing spirituality of emerging adults.
Exemplary Youth Ministry Project. www.exemplarym.com
Through quantitative research and qualitative research, the “Study of Exemplary Congregations in Youth Ministry” (EYM) uncovered important findings that affirm the best in congregational youth ministry and provide direction for enhancing and expanding ministry with youth. Results of the study may be read in The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry, by Roland Martinson, Wesley Black, and John Roberto (available on the website).
Greenhouses of Hope: Congregations Growing Young Leaders Who Will Change the World, edited by Dori Grinenko Baker. Alban, 2010.
This book includes profiles of six ministries in which young people experience “vocational flourishing” in churches that attend to the fundamentals of growing up in a global culture. The book identifies four practices that congregations nourishing young people’s vocations have in common: they create hospitable space for young people to explore Christian vocation; they ask self-awakening questions; they reflect theologically on self and community; and they explore and establish ministry opportunities.
Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next. http://pewresearch.org/millennials
The Pew Research Center has initiated a multi-year research project on the Millennial Generation (born between 1981-2000). The complete report on 18- to 29-year olds can be found on this site.
OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook, edited by Kenda Creasy Dean. Abingdon, 2010.
Using six lens, the authors detail current youth practices and tease out underlying questions as youth ministry becomes more self-consciously aligned with practical theology.
Relationships Unfiltered: Help for Youth Workers, Volunteers, and Parents on Creating Authentic Relationships, by Andrew Root. Zondervan, 2009.
Root challenges readers to reconsider their youth ministry motives and begin to consider simply being with and doing life alongside teenagers with no agenda other than to love them right where they are, by place-sharing. As he shares stories of his (and others’) successes and failures in relational youth ministry, readers find practical ideas to help them recreate the role of relationships in their youth ministry.
Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation, by Andrew Root. InterVarsity Press, 2007.
Root recasts relational ministry as an opportunity not to influence the influencers but to stand with and for those in need. True relational youth ministry shaped by the incarnation is a commitment to enter into the suffering of all, to offer all those in high school or junior high the solidarity of the church. Root is also the author of The Promise of Despair: The Way of the Cross as the Way of the Church and The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being. For Root: www.andrewroot.org; www.facebook.com/andrew-root; www.twitter.com/rootandrew
The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, by Andrew Root and Kenda Creasy Dean. InterVarsity Press, 2011.
Root and Dean invite readers to envision youth ministries full of practical theologians, addressing the deep questions of life with an adolescent mix of idealism, cynicism, and prophetic intolerance for hypocrisy.
Youth Ministry Architects. www.ymarchitects.com
Youth Ministry Architects is a coaching/consulting service for churches whose youth ministries are in transition. Founder Mark DeVries is author of Sustainable Youth Ministry (IVP, 2008).
Foundations and Biblical Literacy. How firmly grounded in Scripture are we?
Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding Series. Presbyterian Church, (USA), various years.
A curriculum of biblically-based mini-courses (six sessions each), this series provides adults with a foundational understanding of the Reformed faith. Each session features Scripture, a prayer, and introduction, followed by questions for reflection. Lessons are enhanced through the Leader’s Guide, which provides helpful suggestions and direction for class sessions. Current titles include The Confession of Belhar; Seven Days to Glory (Jesus’ last week); Worship as Evangelism; John Calvin; Theology for Presbyterians; Discipleship: The Way of Jesus; Islam and Christianity; Wisdom from the Early Church; Seeking Social Justice; Stewardship of Creation; A Brief Statement of Faith; Recognizing God’s Grace; Temptation in the Desert; Re-membering Baptism; The Lord’s Prayer; Seeing Jesus in John’s Gospel; Christian Living in God’s Splendor; and Church History: Those Who Shaped the Christian Faith.
The Book That Understands You, by Kevin Adams. Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2009.
Through this adult study, discover how your life story connects with the ongoing story of the Bible.
Daily Feast: Meditations from Feasting on the Word, Year B, edited by Kathleen Long Bostrom and Elizabeth Caldwell. Westminster John Knox, 2011.
The first of three devotionals containing reflections on biblical texts, the book draws from the Feasting on the Word lectionary commentary series.
From Scratch Series, by Donald L. Griggs, Paul W. Walaskay, and others. Westminster John Knox.
Each volume in this series contains a leader’s guide and a participant section for adult study. The latest volume, Luke’s Gospel, joins Old Testament for Beginners, New Testament for Beginners, Genesis, Mark’s Gospel, and Matthew’s Gospel.
Jesus Teaches: Build on This Foundation (We Believe Workshop). Presbyterian Church, (USA).
This workshop rotation unit, studying Matthew 7:24-29, emphasizes that Jesus’ teachings provide a firm foundation for life.
Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year, by Philip F. Reinders. Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2010.
This book contains an entire year of daily prayers and readings, each featuring seven elements, including an opening prayer, a Psalm and Scripture reading, suggestions for personal prayer, a prayer based on a classic creed or confession, and a closing blessing.
We: The Epic Story, by Laura Keeley and Bonny Mulder-Behnia. Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2011.
Participants trace the narrative of God’s big story from creation to new creation with these ten intergenerational events. Everything you need to plan and implement the events is contained in one box.
The Year of the Bible (Revised), by James E. Davison. Presbyterian Church, (USA), 2011.
Newly revised, this comprehensive Bible-reading program for individuals and group study offers a sweeping introduction to biblical themes and concepts. Complete with a detailed reading schedule for every day of one year, it leads participants to a better understanding of Scripture and a greater sense of community within the church.
A Changing Landscape? Is it a new day or a new season or a new creation?
The Church and the Crisis of Community: A Practical Theology of Small-Group Ministry, by Theresa F. Latini. Eerdmans, 2011.
Latini lays out both a theoretical groundwork and a practical guideline for successful small-group ministry. Examining the latest sociological research and the real-life practices of small groups in six congregations, she shows how well-developed groups—those with mission statements, leadership training, and solid organizational structure—can be an effective tool in the church’s work of transforming broken and shallow forms of community into life-giving, life-sustaining relationships with God and others.
Church in the Inventive Age, by Doug Pagitt. Sparkhouse, 2010.
Pagitt looks at the values of inclusion, participation, collaboration, and beauty as churches are challenged to examine how cultural change impacts the church.
Friending: Real Relationships in a Virtual World, by Lynne M. Baab. IVP Books, 2011.
Baab helps readers understand the impact of new media and other cultural realities on their relationships, and shows them how they can continue the timeless discipline of friending in this time.
A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists: Musings on Why God Is Good and Faith Isn’t Evil, by David G. Myers. Jossey Bass, 2008.
Acknowledging the faults and failings of religion and the sins committed in its name, Myers presents a well-reasoned case for the many benefits of faith—for individuals and for society at large.
God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, by John F. Haught. Westminister John Knox, 2007.
In this book, Haught provides responses to the charges against religion laid out in the recent writings of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens.
The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why, by Phyllis Tickle. Baker, 2008.
Observing that massive transitions in the church happen about every 500 years, Tickle demonstrates to readers that we live in such a time right now. Combining history, a look at the causes of social upheaval, and current events, Tickle shows readers what the Great Emergence in church and culture is, how it came to be, and where it is going.
How Are the Children? Presbyterian Church, (USA), 2011.
This six-segment DVD (with additional bonus material) is designed to help congregations minister with and for children in their church, neighborhood, nation, and the world. Through worship, education, service, and advocacy, Christians are called to respond so that we can answer the question, “How are the children?” confidently with, “All the children are well.”
Living into Hope: A Call to Spiritual Action for Such a Time as This, by Joan Brown Campbell. Skylight Paths, 2010.
Campbell names current issues—renewal, reconciliation, forgiveness, love, justice, and community—and asks, “Who is my neighbor?” She calls us to life lived fully—not carefully or cautiously, but fully engaged with the world and with the messiness of humanity. And she dares us to act as the one people we are called and created to be—to claim our freedom to care, to risk, and to step out into the unknown.
Old Turtle, by Douglas Wood (illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee). Scholastic, 2007 (original 1992).
What happens when creation begins to argue about the nature of God? Listen as quiet Old Turtle is the one with wisdom to share. This children’s picture book is appropriate for adults.
Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation, by Carol Howard Merritt. Alban, 2010.
Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation, examines what ministry in, with, and by a new generation might look like. Merritt writes with the understanding that Christians are not creating from nothing the vital ministry of the next generation. Instead, they are working through what they have, sorting out the best parts, acknowledging and healing from the worst, and reframing it all.
As this is my final resource listing for APCE Advocate I want to say what a joy and privilege this opportunity has been for me—thank you! Over the time, some readers have contacted me with questions, suggestions, and more. I have deeply appreciated these conversations and friendships. Continue to follow God’s call by nurturing and guiding other’s faith in God’s Son, our Good Shepherd and Savior, Jesus Christ. God bless you!
“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Jane Schuyler responds to resource inquiries through the Reformed Church in America Helpline and coordinates the children and worship program. [email protected]; (800) 968-6065