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Winter 2012/Pasadena








DESCRIPTION: This course provides the foundational concepts and best practices to prepare the student for ministry to the young in both a church and non-church setting in any context. The course will provide a basic understanding of adolescent development, contemporary culture, and historical and contextual models of youth ministry thinking and practice. The course is designed to help the student to think and respond theologically to the needs and expectations of the young and their families in a church or organization, and provides practical tools enabling the student to design a theologically sound youth ministry program suitable in any context.


SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: From a human perspective, the future of the church rests in the hands of the next generation. How those in power pass on the Christian faith to children and adolescents will determine the shape of the church for years to come. By understanding the nature of human and spiritual development, how to read a culture, how to solicit support and adult ownership and how to develop programs and models that reach an adolescent subculture so the young are effectively and practically adopted into the community of faith, this course will enable the student to lead a congregation or organization into reaching the next generation for Christ and his kingdom.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students will (1) understand cultural trends that influ­ence and affect adolescents and their families; (2) develop a comprehensive theology and philosophy of youth ministry that produces a ministry of adoption into a local church body; (3) understand the different ministry needs of early, middle, and late adolescents; (4) create multi-generational relational programs and curriculum that enable discipleship and Christian nurture within a theologically driven framework of congregational ownership and strategic adoption of the young.


COURSE FORMAT: The class will meet weekly for nine three-hour sessions of lectures and class discussion. For the final three hours of content, each student will be required to attend one of a list of presentations by a youth ministry expert or other ministry leader, participate in an online discussion group of other class students concerning the presentation, and produce a group project reflecting the learning outcome experienced. Each student will also complete a contextualized final project.


REQUIRED READING: The texts below and 250 pages from the recommended reading are required.

Clark, Chap. Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of TodayŐs Teenagers. 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2011. ISBN: 978-0801039416. List Price: $18.

Clark, Chap, Kenda Dean, and Dave Rahn. Starting Right: A Practical Theology of Youth Ministry. Zondervan/Youth Specialties, 2001. ISBN: 0310234069. List Price: $35.

Clark, Chap, and Kara Powell. Deep Ministry in a Shallow World. Youth Specialties/Zondervan, 2006. ISBN: 978-0310267072. List Price: $19.

Emerson, Michael O., and Christian Smith. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN: 978-0195147070. List Price: $20.


RECOMMENDED READING: See the course syllabus.


ASSIGNMENTS AND ASSESSMENT: (1) Five 3-4 page reflections on the readings (25%). (2) An exam on the lectures and reading (25%). (3) A creative project reflecting the learning from the observation and online small group experience (15%). (4) A 15-page final project that reflects a programmatic interpretation of the course content in a given context (35%).




RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Meets the MDiv core requirement in General Ministry & Spirituality (MIN 1), MDiv core requirement in Christian Formation & Disciple­ship (MIN 4), or Ministry Foundations requirement (MIN F) for other masterŐs degrees. Required course for MDiv concentration in Youth, Family & Culture; and for MA in Youth, Family & Culture.