Youth Ministry in an Era of Over-Parenting

Youth workers know what it is to watch parents and youth participate in multiple other activities. Most families have limited time and space for youth ministry activities or youth group. Often parent(s) (and youth) express desire to participate, but say they have no time. A parent might even say, “Sorry, we haven’t gotten her to youth group in the last six months, it’s just that gymnastics is kind of her thing; it’s really who she is.” This can be frustrating for youth workers. Some respond by contending that youth ministry needs to up the commitment level and move higher up the ranking of things. In this presentation we’ll together explore how this approach can’t work, because the decisions parents and young people make exist inside very deep conceptions of what makes for a good life. In a time of limited time and unlimited options, youth ministry can’t—and I’ll show, shouldn’t—compete in ranking of important activities. Youth ministry should not be just another thing (like basketball, violin, or debate club). Instead, we should turn toward story to reimagine what youth ministry can be for.

Dr. Andy Root Andrew Root

Dr. Andrew Root is the Carrie Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary, USA. He writes and researches in areas of theology and youth ministry. His most recent books are The Grace of Dogs (Convergent, 2017), Faith Formation in a Secular Age (Baker, 2017), and Exploding Stars, Dead Dinosaurs, and Zombies: Youth Ministry in the Age of Science (Fortress Press, 2018).