For more than two centuries, youth ministries have either strengthened teenagers after a special encounter with God or tried to retain them until such a moment when God shows up. Here veteran youth ministry expert Mark Senter provides the first substantial history of the phenomenon of American Protestant youth ministry. More than a history, this book highlights the evolution of adolescence and adolescent spirituality, outlines three distinct cycles in the history of youth ministry, describes the major shapers of youth ministry over the last century, and helps readers understand trends and changes in youth ministry and their connections to broader church life.
Things have changed. The Truth has not. The 1950's are gone forever. The days of the Sunday school attendance award and the much-loved Sunday school picnic have faded into oblivion. Yet some youth ministries still operate as if today's kids are living in a vacuum, unaffected by the changing morals of today's society. How can we reach these kids with the truth of the gospel? More than fifty of America's youth experts give advice and encouragement to those who long to see this generation know the love of Christ. They help readers think through their philosophies of youth ministry, break down barriers that impede progress, and maximize their own gifts and the gifts of those who work with them. They answer tough questions such as: How can leaders build a relational youth ministry? How can we find and support volunteers? What are the issues women face in youth ministry? How do we minister in ethnic communities? How should we respond to popular culture? How can we help hurting adolescents? You can have a vibrant youth ministry even in these uncertain times. You can reach this generation for Christ.