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What Teenagers Are Teaching the Church about Joy

PAPERBACK; Published: 4/28/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7780-2
Price: $ 17.99
176 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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What would youth ministry look like if it were based on a pursuit of authentic Christian joy?

Joy is not often a word young people associate with church—but it should be. By reimagining three common practices in youth ministry through the theological lens of joy, veteran youth workers Kenda Creasy Dean, Wesley Ellis, Justin Forbes, and Abigail Visco Rusert demonstrate how to shift this association and become more honest about what youth ministry can, and can’t, do to support young people and their faith. Grounding youth ministry in joy rather than in fear also models a way forward for the church. It reminds us that youth ministry is not a tool for anxious congregations to use to ensure their survival.  Rather, youth ministry—like all ministry—is a way to help people name and experience God’s delight, free from fear and anxiety about their futures. 

Delighted is the first book to emerge from the Yale Center for Faith and Culture’s Adolescent Faith and Flourishing project, offering a sustained reflection on joy’s practical importance for youth ministry. With reflection questions offered at the end of each chapter, Delighted is easy for youth ministers, volunteers, and pastors to pick up and use immediately—tapping into young people’s instinctive desire for joy for the entire church, as well as for ministry with teenagers.

Table of Contents

Prelude: Kenda Creasy Dean
1. Losing Our Scales: The Adolescent Experience of Joy, Kenda Creasy Dean
Intermezzo: “I Also Had a Friend,” Wesley W. Ellis
2. “Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me”: Rethinking Friendship in Youth Ministry, Wesley W. Ellis and Kenda Creasy Dean
Intermezzo: “From Sorrow to Celebration,” Abigail Visco Rusert
3. Wonder and Onions: Reframing Celebration in Youth Ministry, Abigail Visco Rusert and Kenda Creasy Dean
Intermezzo: “Not a Story About Football,” Justin Forbes
4. Trace My Hand: The Promise of Confession in Youth Ministry, Justin Forbes and Kenda Creasy Dean
5. Enjoying Young Dragons: Snapshots of Joyful Youth Ministries, Wesley W. Ellis, Abigail Visco Rusert, and Justin Forbes
Postlude: Why We Do This: Passion, Joy and Innovation, Wesley Ellis, Justin Forbes, and Abigail Visco Rusert, with Kenda Creasy Dean

Word & World
Delighted serves as a reminder that joy is not ours to create. It is to be discovered even in the process of overwhelming and difficult circumstances.”
The Expository Times
“This refreshing volume deserves a place on every youth worker’s shelf. . . . A wonderful piece of practical theology: illuminating the centrality of joy and passion in the lives of young people and those who seek to minister to them.”