Dan Haugh Goes Deeper on Youth Ministry

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, I had an essay published in Immerse Journal on youth ministry and practical theology.  One pretty cool feature at Immerse is an online follow-up to journal articles called “Going Deeper.”  Dan Haugh, who blogs at Emerging Youth, has written in response to my essay.  Here’s a selection:

After a few years of actually doing youth ministry, I discovered firsthand the truth of Tony’s statement, “Life and ministry are rarely, if ever, systematic, thorough, comprehensive. Life and ministry are not clinical. Instead, they’re messy and challenging, and they demand ad hoc, on-the-fly decision making.”

My answers were reflections of my limited understanding and experiences and often did not align with the concrete life journeys of my students. The answers I did offer amounted to outdated prehistoric verbiage that had little relevance with where students were living right then and there.

Over time, and through countless hours of reading, conversations, prayer and reflection, I began to transition toward a practical-theological approach with our students. As a result, we don’t tell them what to believe and why anymore. Instead, as Tony suggests, we “catalyze conversations” by creating atmospheres that foster open and honest conversation about the realities of life and the confusion of faith. We encourage our students to think critically so they might arrive at their own independent answers.

via Immerse Journal > Going Deeper with: Tony Jones’s “A Theology Primer”.

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  • Ethan M

    Since you brought it up again, this is a good reminder to me to tell you how much I appreciated your article. As you well know its implications go far beyond youth ministry. I oversee the internship program at my church and one of the mantras I teach is, “No one you meet in ministry ever has a purely theological question. All questions are personal and practical before they are theological.”

    I regularly tell them not to be fooled by someone who just wants to talk about theodicy, or the perseverance of saints, etc. It is so tempting to start doing systematics and they realize that the real issue is suffering or doubt.

  • Dan Hauge

    Good thoughts. (I always do this weird double-take whenever I see Haugh’s name on your blog or tweets :)


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