Archive for the ‘Ministry Resources’ Category

I Am Second has been making its way around the blogging community in the past few days.  If you haven’t been there, check it out.  It’s a really powerful collection of testimonies from some pretty influential people.  They get real, talking about their struggles, burdens and faith.  They deal with some pretty relevant issues in today’s world: addiction, pride, prostitution, abuse… it’s powerful stuff.  And not only is the content incredible, but the presentation is fantastic as well.

Here’s one of my favorites from American Idol contestant Jason Castro:


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How To Think TheologicallyThis book was required reading for Introduction to Theological Education.  I found it to be a pretty thorough overview on the topic of theological reflection.  The authors begin by laying a solid foundation for theological reflection, stressing the fact that everyone is a theologian, because everyone (particularly anyone who follows Christ) has to engage in theological reflection as part of their daily lives.  They discuss some basics of theological reflection, such as the difference between embedded theology and deliberative theology and using the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, tradition, reason, experience) as a resource for theological reflection.  Following this foundational work, the authors seek to engage their readers in the practice of theological reflection through a series of exercises dealing with various theological topics.

I’d probably give this book a four-ish star rating (out of five) as a resource.  The authors lay out the topic well, but the subject matter can come off as confusing and frustrating if you don’t know much about theology before picking up the book.

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Having done some extended research in the area of Faith Development and Young Adult Ministry for my senior thesis at Ashland University, I find this interview to be very interesting – it’s worth the time to listen to the whole thing.

Kara Powell interviews Chuck Bomar on “College Transition and Identity Development”.  You can listen to the interview here.  The accompanying article, Riding the Highs and Lows of Teenage Faith Development by: Kara Powell & Meredith Miller summarizes well the research that is referred to in the interview.

Chuck has some really interesting thoughts on the transition in faith development that occurs when students graduate from high school and move on to college.  He talks about youth ministers automatically teaching youth from our own “conclusions” rather than teaching them how to come to their own conclusions.

“There’s a danger in that we are teaching Christianity as behavior management, not necessarily a faith – and by teaching conclusions we are keeping it there” (Chuck Bomar)

I think this is a huge contributor to the dropoff that the church experiences after high school.  Are we teaching our youth a wrong view of Christianity?  What do you think?

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Starting Right Starting Right: Thinking Theologically about Youth Ministry could, quite possibly be the best book ever written on the topic of youth ministry.  At the very least, it is the best academic text book (partly because it is the only one) on youth ministry.  It had been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year before I picked it up, and I find it rather unfortunate that it took me that long.  It was the first of three required reading books for my seminary course on Ministry to Students in the Church.

The entire text of the book is based upon the premise that in order to effectively minister to youth in any setting, one must be firmly rooted in their theological beliefs.  Kenda Creasy Dean refers to these foundational beliefs as our theological rocks and defines them as “the convictions about who God is and what God is about that are normative for everything we do” (Dean 2001, 17).  In other words, our theological rocks are those beliefs we hold that are absolutely essential to our Christian faith and practice.  These core beliefs affect everything we do in youth ministry:  “Our theological rocks affect how we develop an evening youth program, approach a sermon, handle conflict, engage parents, plan a retreat, counsel teenagers, [and] relate to our own families” (Dean 2001, 17).  Everything that follows in Starting Right builds off of this foundational premise of firmly rooting ourselves by identifying our theological rocks.  Building on this theological foundation, Starting Right is developed into a well-organized manifesto of practical theology for those who minister to youth, beseeching them to put their core theological beliefs into practice as they minister to adolescents.  My own ministry practices in youth ministry have been greatly tested and affected by the ideas presented in this book.

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