Save the date for our last training session of the school year! Dr. Jason Lief will be with us to talk about "Poetic Youth Ministry," and will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church.
Don't miss this opportunity and register now for this session!
I've always wanted to sky dive but haven't worked up the courage, YET, to jump out of an airplane. Experience iFly just might help me cross the line to courage. I'm excited about this Youthfront event coming up on May 5th because it will also help send lots of kids to Youthfront camps that otherwise couldn't afford to come. Check it out and come join us.
Jason Lief teaches Theology and Youth Ministry at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. He is also the founder and director of The Prairie Project—a week long ministry event that introduces high school students to the diverse culture of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Jason is the author of the book Poetic Youth Ministry: Learning to Love Young People by Letting them Go and is currently writing a book focusing on the intersection of Theology and Heavy Metal music. Jason is married to Tamara and they have three kids: Naomi (13), Christian (11), and Savannah (8).
Session 1: “I Didn’t Know we had a Pool”: Taking WALL-E to Youth Ministry
This session will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church. Using the film WALL-E this session with explore the social and cultural issues that impact religious belief. This discussion will provide the framework for a “poetic” form of youth ministry that is informed by a particular way of thinking about what it means to be the “church”.
Session 2: The Politics of Poetic Youth Ministry
This session will focus on the practical side of a “poetic” approach to youth ministry. What are the issues young people struggle with in the West? How do young people form and shape an identity? How can the Christian community engage in a form of ministry that invites young people to embrace their humanity in the new humanity of Jesus Christ? Using insights from theology, cultural theory, and philosophy this session will explore the practical wisdom at the center of a poetic approach to youth ministry that provides the basis for formative practices and a political approach to pastoral care.
Date: Thursday, April 7, 9:00a – 1:00p, lunch included
On Thursday, February 25th, Ian Cron will be our guest speaker for our third 2015-2016 Youth Worker Training. From 9a to 4p at Christ Community Church Brookside Campus, Ian will be sharing about "An Enneagram Experience for Ministry Leaders." Don't miss it!
I spent some time reflecting over the weekend on what a great year 2015 was. For me, the year was EPIC. Here are the top ten reasons why 2015 will be long remembered. I did not list these ten in order of significance (that would have taken several more days to contemplate that) although #1 is pretty much #1.
#1 – Vicki and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We were high school sweethearts and got married at semester break during my first year in college. I married my best friend and she is still my best friend today… that makes for a great life.
#2 – I celebrated my 40th anniversary of being on the staff of Youthfront. I came on staff part-time right out of high school and soon became a full-time staff member while I finished college and earned two Masters degrees. I am so fortunate to get to work for such a great organization with amazing and wonderful friends.
#3 – Our oldest granddaughter, Lexi, attended Youthfront camp this summer for the first time as a camper. That was awesome.
#4 – Our son, Daniel married Mariel, this year and we are happy to have her as a daughter-in-law.
#5 – The San Francisco Giants paid travel and lodging for Vicki and me to come to the Giants final game of the season at AT&T Park to be with the Affeldt Family on the field for a forty-five minute retirement celebration ceremony for Jeremy Affeldt. I met Jeremy when he played for the Royals and we became close friends and partners in ministry. Our friendship survived Jeremy being the winning pitcher in Game Seven of last year’s World Series when the Giants beat the Royals. Jeremy was the first to call and congratulate me when the Royals won this year.
#6 – Several days after returning from the amazing experience at AT&T Park with Jeremy Affeldt and the Giants, the Royals called and informed me that they were honoring me for my 40 years of public service by having me sit in the Buck O’Neil seat behind home plate. The Royals produced a video of my Youthfront ministry highlights, provided premium seats for my family, and treated me like royalty. And this all happened as the Royals won game five against the Houston Astros. Watching Johnny Cueto pitch his masterpiece behind home plate was extraordinary. Twice during the night they put my family on the Jumbo tron and ran the video about my ministry. What an amazing night.
#7 – The Kansas City Royals win the World Series. I’ve wanted my family to experience what it’s like to win the World Series like I did thirty years ago in 1985. The parade in 1985 was great but the celebration in 2015 with 800,000 people gathered downtown was EPIC.
#8 – For the last couple of years I have served as a Senior Advisor Consultant for the Museum of the Bible that will be opening in Washington, D.C. in November of 2017. Recently, I secured a significant and generous planning grant from the John Templeton Foundation on behalf of the Museum of the Bible. I will be able to lead a process to explore the issue of science and the scripture as literature. Here are excerpts from the executive summary, “A narrative has developed in the Western world that scripture and science are incompatible. Many believe science has shown the Bible to no longer be relevant and even responsible for holding back human progress. There are also those who believe that scripture necessitates an adversarial position against science. While elements of this narrative are certainly understandable in our current cultural milieu, we believe they are mistaken and damaging. The MOTB has an opportunity to help overcome these misleading views. This project will produce a detailed plan for compelling exhibits focusing on science and the Bible and create a fully developed proposal for the John Templeton Foundation requesting support to implement the plans. We believe the stakes are high if the presentation of the Bible and Science relationship is not informative and intelligent.” I feel this has potential to change the conversation about the relationship between scripture and science.
#9 – In June we completed a four-year, $4.5 million capital campaign at Youthfront Camp West. This will go down as one of the biggest highlights and most significant accomplishments of my lifetime. My spiritual life was transformed at this camp forty plus years ago. I’m so thrilled that the facilities are so amazing and well constructed that young people will be transformed at Youthfront Camp West long after I’m dead and gone. I feel so fulfilled and blessed by the success of this campaign and construction completion.
#10 – There were too many other great things from 2015 to just pick one, so here is my miscellaneous category. * I made my 22nd visit to the Middle East in May, this time on a VIP trip with a small team from Museum of the Bible. * The Chiefs make the playoffs. * In December, Vicki and I visited Micah and Samantha, who are now living in Cabo San Lucas. * In January, I attended the International Association of Youth Ministry Educators Conference in Cambridge, UK. * Featured in a Cover Story in the Youthworker Journal. * Just about every time we are with our grandkids is a GOOD TIME.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the most beloved Christian pastors and theologians of the 20th century, often being listed on the top of everyone’s most influential Christians. Yet, there has been a major oversight when it has come to exploring his life and thought, this omission has been the centrality of Bonhoeffer youth work and children’s ministry. Between 1925 and 1939 all of Bonhoeffer’s direct ministry practice was with children and youth, leading the experience of children and youth into his well known theological works, as well inspiring him to write much less known pieces and sermons about and for young people. This presentation will look to right this biographical wrong, by exploring Bonhoeffer’s work with young people, seeing how he might inspire our own ministry, giving us new perspectives on our own work with young people.
Andrew Root, PhD (Princeton Theological Seminary) is the Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. He is most recently the author of Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross (Fortress, 2014) and Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker (Baker, 2014). He has also written The Relational Pastor (IVP, 2013) as well as a four book series with Zondervan called A Theological Journey Through Youth Ministry (titles include Taking Theology to Youth Ministry, Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry, Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry, and Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry). In 2012 his book The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry (with Kenda Creasy Dean, IVP, 2011) was Christianity Today Book of Merit. He has written a number of other books on ministry and theology such as The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being (Baker Academic, 2010), The Promise of Despair (Abingdon, 2010), Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation (IVP, 2007) and Relationships Unfiltered (Zondervan/YS, 2009). Andy has worked in congregations, parachurch ministries, and social service programs. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Kara, two children, Owen and Maisy, and their two dogs. When not reading, writing, or teaching, Andy spends far too much time watching TV and movies.