Sticky Faith 1 (Syler Thomas)

This series on Kara Powell and Chap Clark’s new book, Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids, is by my friend and a local youth pastor, Syler Thomas. What can we do as parents and ministers to help our children find a faith that lasts? That is the question that Kara [Read More...]

Inherit the Earth? The Meek or the Geek?

Every high school teacher, every youth pastor, and every parent of a high schooler should buy, read, and talk about this book with students and with friends: Alexandra Robbins’ The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School. This book is a sketch of what it is like [Read More...]

NAPCE (Nap-see)

My most natural audiences intersect the academy and the church. So when professors are gathering not just to hear a paper about a specialized topic but to ponder, from their angle and the angle of others, what is going on in the church, then I feel like I am with “my people.” Don’t get me [Read More...]

Almost Christian 7

This will be our last post on the fine book by Kenda Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church.

I want to have a conversation today about the most significant element in the development of faith among young adults: parents. The best thing to do to get young adults more serious about their faith is to have more faith-serious parents. (Which is not to blame parents or to shift total responsibility onto parents, but it is to put the gravity where it needs to be.)

One of her themes is “translation” — that is translating the faith from the church to the youth, with the focal point being the family (as Luther famously made clear).

What are the guidelines for this translation? Here are her four points and I’d like to hear your responses: [Read more...]

Almost Christian 6

Youth ministry focuses on the basics, and one of the basics of the entire Christian message and community is missional.

Kenda Dean’s new book, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, examines that theme in chp 5, and her chp is as good a summary of the meaning of “missional” as you are likely to find.

Her concern is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and MTD is inherently individualistic, self-expressive, and selfish. The Story of God in the Bible is entirely other: it is a Story of other-orientation. God sent his Son to be with us and God calls his people to extend that sending-love and dwelling-with-love to others.

She calls parents, churches and youth groups to develop a missional imagination. She calls us to “waste” our life for others — she’s playing with the word “waste,” where she ties Mark 14:4 (the woman’s waste of ointment on Jesus) and Jesus’s use of the same word for his disciples to “lose” [waste] their life for him and the gospel (8:35). In this one finds the essence of a missional imagination. [Read more...]

Almost Christian 5

If you haven’t seen this interview with Kenda Dean by Deborah Arca Mooney, please check it out. Kenda Dean’s new book, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, makes some basic claims: one is that far too many of America’s “Christian” youth have absorbed “moralistic therapeutic deism” and her second is [Read More...]

Almost Christian 2

 Kenda Dean’s new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church , and I will be blogging my way through it. Her fundamental insight is back-logic: we can infer from the condition of our youth’s faith to the faith of their parents and contexts. What do we learn [Read More...]

Almost Christian 1

What does the faith of America’s teenagers tell us about the faith they are being taught? What does their faith tell us about the American Church? Two very good questions, both addressed by Kenda Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling [Read More...]

Missional Campus Ministry 5 (RJS)

It has been a while – but the Missional Campus Ministry series will continue on an occasional basis as resources or topics appear.  Today I would like to focus conversation around a recent blog post by John Stackhouse – Campus Ministry That’s Not for Every One.  Here is a brief excerpt… speaking about a visit [Read More...]

Youth Ministry: “Outcomes”

This post is from Jen Bradbury, and I read this on her blog through a “tweet”. This is one of the very few posts or reviews that have talked at all about the outcome-based education I talked about in The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible , but more importantly, Jen takes it [Read More...]


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