Date of Award
Dr. Houston Heflin
Dr. Frederick D. Aquino
Dr. Christopher L. Flanders
There seems to be a disconnect between the practice and scholars of youth ministry. Historically, the practice of youth ministry has been overly concerned with method, creating multiple approaches, each with its own inherent shortcomings. Responding to this overemphasis on method, scholars of youth ministry have argued for a more theological framework, assuming that the problem lies within a lack of theological education among youth ministry practitioners. In 2001 youth ministry scholarship made a case to place the field of youth ministry under the discipline of practical theology in hopes of grounding the practice of youth ministry in theology. Over the past twenty years, however, practical theology has failed to penetrate into the average youth ministry programs in North America, causing some to claim that the problem with practical theology in youth ministry is that it is not, in spite of its name, practical. Youth ministry scholars have failed to tap into the greatest resource practical theology has to offer: Practical theology as a way of life, which, in the case of youth ministry, is essentially adolescent spiritual formation. This project worked with a group of seasoned youth ministers to create a working document of shared wisdom by taking six principles of practical theology as a way of life and applying them as a type of filter for the scholarship and practice of youth ministry. This filter argues for a more holistic understanding of the purpose of practical theology in youth ministry scholarship and a more pragmatic use of practical theology by youth ministry practitioners.
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Smith, Jeremy, "Adolescent Spiritual Formation: Practical Theology as a Filter for Youth Ministry" (2020). Doctor of Ministry Theses. 37.
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