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Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation
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Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Relational youth ministry, also known as incarnational ministry, can feel like a vicious cycle of guilt: I should be spending time with kids, but I just don't want to. The burden becomes heavy to bear because it is never over; adolescents always seem to need more relational bonds, and once one group graduates there is a new group of adolescents who need relational contact. ...more
Paperback, 221 pages
Published October 8th 2007 by IVP Books
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Jun 04, 2010 added it
Shelves: christianity
Use this book as a conversational tool. It's fabulous for that because it is provocative--some aspects I agreed with and other parts could lead an impressionable ministry leader astray. I read this not a guide for how to do ministry but a way to reflect and wrestle with my justifications for doing ministry in the way that I currently do it. ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ministry
I'm confused about the intended audience of this book. The focus of the book is definitely quite evangelical, but Root also distances himself from evangelical practices, so it's unclear who he's really talking to. The first two chapters provide a historical overview of the development of youth ministry, which was interesting, especially because of the way it follows normative (white middle class) US culture. The focus here is also evangelical, but it's unclear whether that's really reflective of ...more
Jared Townley
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Using Bonhoeffer, Root puts forward a relational ministry that is focused not on using a relationship as a means to the end, but the end in itself. He says that the goal of youth ministry is to enter into what he calls “place-sharing” relationships with youth. He describes how it is in these relationships that both parties encounter Christ. His argument is well thought out and very appealing to someone who is not interested in large programs focused solely on numbers. Yet, to shift from current ...more
Jesse Kane
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was the best book on ministry I've ever read, even after getting my degree in Christian ministry. It has transformed my personal philosophy of ministry and put words to things that were only present as a seed in my heart. If you're sick of institutionalized, consumer youth ministry that peddles a divine commodity, this book is for you. ...more
Annie Beckstrand
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A transformational book for me. Written more as a research paper than a book, but filled with stories and metaphors for you to cling onto. Root gracefully and firmly challenges our ideas of youth ministry claiming that they are more based on cultural needs than theological reflection. Pulling from the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Root establishes youth ministry must be more than fun, exciting groups. It must be based and following (not just using Jesus as a “model” but as the Sustainer) the ...more
JJ Vancil
This book "revisits" and challenges the status quo of relationship-driven youth ministry by digging into Dietrich Bonhoeffer's theology of relationships as understood in the human-God, Jesus Christ. While this book is deep, rich, insightful & theologically sound, the reader gets lost in a slew of overly complex writing and intellectual mumbo-jumbo. Most of the concepts could be worded in ways that made sense, yet it appeared the author wanted everyone to know just how smart he was. ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was definitely an interesting book. I liked the overall thesis, but it did read more like a phd dissertation or academic paper than like a book written for the general public. The first two chapters with the history lesson about the last hundred years was also a bit dry. However, I do think that I learned a lot in the book about the open-closed principle and about how to love people without judging or manipulating them.
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are some aspects of this book which I would reject, but overall very useful for youth ministers. There are concepts in the book that can relate to any specialized area of ministry which I greatly appreciated. It is a book that is relevant for youth ministry today.
This book explains the history of evangelism, fundamentalism & adolescence. Anyone who works with young people in the church should read this for the background information.
Jonathan Mays
Mar 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Love the premise of this book. It's how I've been thinking about youth ministry for a long time now. ...more
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book described the background and belief structure of evangelical Christian youth ministry.
It's incredibly well written and academically well researched.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
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Andrew Root joined Luther Seminary in 2005 as assistant professor of youth and family ministry. Previously he was an adjunct professor at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington D.C., and Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J.

Root received his bachelor of arts degree from Bethel College, St. Paul, Minn., in 1997. He earned his master of divinity (2000) and his master of theology (2001) d

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50 likes · 13 comments
“Ministry, then, is not about "using" relationships to get individuals to accept a "third thing," whether that be conservative politics, moral behaviors or even the gospel message. Rather, ministry is about connection, one to another, about sharing in suffering and joy, about persons meeting persons with no pretense or secret motives. It is about shared life, confessing Christ not outside the relationship but within it. This, I learned, was living the gospel.
“Ministry is not about helping these kids be better Christians; it is about helping them be what God created them to be-human. And it is the degradation of their humanity, brought about by broken and abusive families, violent neighborhoods, failing schools and poverty, that caused them to lash out so forcefully. Ministry is about suffering with them in their dehumanization, celebrating their human endeavors and in all things pointing to the true human, Jesus Christ our Lord.
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