Workshop Details

2012 Youth Ministry Forum

re:imagining youth ministry

Keynote Speaker: Andrew Root

"Youth Ministry and Identity in a Digital Age"

Andrew Root Black & White Bio Photo

Andrew Root serves in the Olson Baalson chair as associate professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Root earned his Ph.D. at Princeton Theological Seminary and has since worked in congregations, parachurch ministries, and social service programs.

He is the author of several books, including The Promise of Despair: The Way of the Cross as the Way of the Church (Abingdon, 2010), Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being (Baker Academic, 2010), and Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation (IVP, 2007). He lives in St. Paul with his wife Kara and their two children.




Breakout Session Presenters

Luke Vanderleest, Sioux Falls Christian High School Chaplain

Tanner Smith, First Reformed Church pastor in Sioux Center
Action and Reflection: A Practical Discipleship Model

This presentation focuses on the way Jesus lived, taught, and caught the hearts and minds of those who followed him. Also, how his teachings sparked a movement which became the church. We will be looking into the way people learn. And the way our minds work confirms what Jesus put into practice some 2,000 years ago; people learn best when they are immersed in an ongoing pattern of hearing, doing, and reflecting. In this breakout session, we'll unpack a simple and intuitive model of discipleship that is appropriate for all ages and doesn't require you to use anything other than the Bible, your brain, and the world around you.

Erik Leafblad, Youthfront
Can These Dry Bones Live? Sunday School, Confirmation, and the Missional Formation of the Church

Traditional forms of Christian education appear dry and lifeless. Picture kids sitting in a classroom, replete with felt boards and worksheet hand outs. This is the skeleton upon which theological formation often rests, and yet many churches still ask youth ministers to lead these kinds of programs. Can these dry bones live? Are they capable of sustaining the formation of theological and missional identity for young people? Can they achieve the kinds of educational ends toward which they are aimed? Instead of dismissing the format of such programs, this workshop will explore how to breathe new life into apparently dry and lifeless programs through integration into a missional, theological framework.

Sarah Mulder, Sioux Falls Christian High School art teacher
Creativity and culture

In this session we will discuss and examine the role creativity plays in our culture along with how we have responded to its characteristics. How has creativity changed in the past few decades? Have we as a society become more or less creative? How can we equip our children to appropriately interact with imagination, play, and the sense of wonder? Come with an open mind as we begin to explore how creativity has helped mold today's culture.

Neal De Roo, Dordt University philosophy professor
Fight the Powers that Be

In this workshop, we will explore how Paul's notion of "the powers" offers us a new paradigm for youth ministry: Engaging in a struggle against the deep-seated cultural forces that shape our youth in non-biblical ways during their most formative years. We will examine briefly what Paul meant by "the powers," and then begin to discern "the powers" in our current culture and how they manifest themselves in the products of popular culture (e.g., movies, music, clothing styles).

Mark Tazelaar, Dordt University philosophy professor
Parables and Stories: A New Kind of Chapel

Mike King and Kurt Ritema, Youthfront
Flourish: Curating Environments for Vibrant Faith Communities

How do we move from being programmers who do events and programs that tend to create mere connections with adolescents to youth workers who craft environments where young people inhabit transforming space and sustained Christian formation? We will consider situated learning theory in the context of youth ministry and faith communities. Serving as a curator requires deep theological reflection, an inclusive posture, along with the acquisition and development of skills to shape an environment of transformation where young people can thrive in their faith formation. Curating environments for flourishing faith communities involves careful attention and intentionality to not only the explicit realities but also the implicit dynamics that shape who we are as a community of believers.

Morgan Attema

Tim Keep, youth pastor

A Hopeful Approach to Youth Ministry
Students often live in a chaotic world - a world of struggle, confusion, and pain. However, rather than turning to Jesus Christ, to Christianity, or to the church, students narratives offered by their surrounding world and culture. In youth ministry, we must communicate a message of hope grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This hope is naturally forward-looking, but must and does have direct implications for our world right now. Because of this hope, we can find grace; we can see the sacred; we can move through the struggle, confusion, and pain.


Culture Is Not Optional

Holy Pizza: Eating Together and Other Ancient Practices
Some youth programs practice a bait-and-switch model that lures students in with diversionary entertainment like pizza and video games toward the ultimate end of getting them to swallow a moral code and win maximum conversion points. This session will offer a modest proposal for slow alternatives rooted in ancient practices that can help students cultivate justice, imagination, and mindfulness in themselves and their respective communities over time as they wrestle with their doubts and deepen their faith.



Andreas Center