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How Youth Ministry Can Change Theological Education - If We Let It
POD; Published: 3/29/2016
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7193-0
Price: $ 31.50
331 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Since 1993, forty-nine theological seminaries have created opportunities for high school students to participate in on- campus High School Theology Programs (HSTPs) that invite them to engage in serious biblical and theological study. Many of the young people who take part in these programs go on to become pastoral or lay leaders in their churches. What has made these programs so successful — especially given the well- documented "crisis of faith" among young people today?

In this book thirteen contributors — many of whom have created or led one of these innovative theology programs — investigate answers to this question. They examine the pedagogical practices the HSTPs have in common and explore how they are contributing to the leadership of the church. They then show how the lessons gleaned from these successful programs can help churches, denominations, and seminaries reimagine both theological education and youth ministry.
Journal of Religious Leadership
"Contagiously inspiring and hopeful."
Theological Studies
“A valuable read for any reader looking to develop a HSTP, but also for anyone engaged in the sacred work of ministerial formation.”
Jeffrey Conklin-Miller
— Duke Divinity School
"Attention, seminary presidents and divinity school professors, senior pastors and denominational leaders: read this book! Read it not because it offers the secret of institutional survival (it doesn't) but because of the hope it speaks for the work of theological education and the ministry of the church in the world. Having learned from years of experimentation within seminary-embedded youth theology programs, these authors offer crucial resources to renew and to expand our theological and pedagogical imagination."
Frank Mercadante
— Cultivation Ministries
"A deep, evocative, challenging book that has much to say to anyone who ministers to the young church or is concerned about the future of the church. This forward-thinking, insightful work rouses the reader to reexamine how we do ministry with our young. I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who wants to deeply reconsider our prevailing youth ministry methodologies."
Robert J. McCarty
— National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry
"Youth ministry often plants the seeds of innovation in the church, and this book captures the integral components of effective faith formation, not just for young people but for all disciples. Kenda Creasy Dean and Christy Lang Hearlson provide a blueprint for disciple-making that is comprehensive and effective."
Don C. Richter
— Louisville Institute
"In these chapters you'll meet a cadre of the church's wisest, most creative theological educators on the scene today. With our culture's miserly investment in the faith formation of teens and young adults, theological programs for teens are a crucial and timely intervention. Kudos to Dean and Hearlson and company for showing us a more excellent way as youth and adult leaders together imagine and practice what bearing witness to Christ in the twenty-first century requires."
David McAllister-Wilson
— Wesley Theological Seminary
"If only a few of the 'right people' in theological education read this book, it won't change anything. But if enough church leaders and the people who care about them read it and talk about it and remember our call together, it will make a big difference."
Mike Carotta
— author of Teaching for Discipleship
"We have long underestimated the capacity of adolescents to engage and thrive in theological education run by talented teachers who believe in them enough to open the door of the theological and take them forward. This book makes us reimage the possibilities of our ministry among the young — and among ourselves as religious educators."