The End of Youth Ministry?: Why Parents Don't Really Care about Youth Groups and What Youth Workers Should Do about It
What is youth ministry actually for? And does it have a future? Andrew Root, a leading scholar in youth ministry and practical theology, went on a one-year journey to answer these questions. In this book, Root weaves together an innovative first-person fictional narrative to diagnose the challenges facing the church today and to offer a new vision for youth ministry in the 21st century. Informed by interviews that Root conducted with parents, this book explores how parents' perspectives of what constitutes a good life are affecting youth ministry. In today's culture, youth ministry can't compete with sports, test prep, and the myriad other activities in which young people participate. Through a unique parable-style story, Root offers a new way to think about the purpose of youth ministry: not happiness, but joy. Joy is a sense of experiencing the good. For youth ministry to be about joy, it must move beyond the youth group model and rework the assumptions of how identity and happiness are imagined by parents in American society.
From the Back Cover [Root's] most important youth ministry book to date After half a century of advice books on the 'what' and 'how' of youth ministry, Root is the first practical theologian to seriously tackle the 'why.' Using a Kierkegaardian fable as his foil, Root explores deficient ways we justify youth ministry, and then dives headlong into joy as the reason it matters. This is his most important youth ministry book to date. -- Kenda Creasy Dean , Princeton Theological Seminary; author of Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church and coauthor of Delighted: What Teenagers Are Teaching the Church about Joy Root takes us on a historic and self-reflective tour to demonstrate how youth ministries reveal what motivates parents and church leaders. I saw myself among those unknowingly promoting a new hedonism: helping young people find their 'thing' in order to feel happy. Andy reminds us that it is at the cross where young people--and our communities--find themselves transformed. -- Sharon Galgay Ketcham , Gordon College; author of Reciprocal Church Root is a trustworthy guide for any youth minister who is fatigued by the expectations placed upon them to be programmers of fun or spiritual marketers vying for space in an oversaturated world of extracurricular activities. This book speaks to new youth ministers who want to start their ministry right and to youth ministry veterans craving realignment. -- Steven Argue , Fuller Theological Seminary What Root has produced here is a page-turning look at the theological foundations of youth ministry. He has provided a way forward--one we can grow into, all the while pointing us in the direction of the good life. -- Amanda Hontz Drury , author of Saying Is Believing: The Necessity of Testimony in Adolescent Spiritual Development Root is among the finest theologians working in the area of youth ministry today. Here he tells the story of a young man named Andrew on a journey to answer the question, 'What is youth ministry for?' The conversations at each stop along the way serve as a kind of Socratic method. So what is the end of youth ministry? Read this book and Root will show you the way. -- Bryan C. Hollon , Malone University