I’m spending the first half of this week attending and participating in FirstThird, a theological dialogue on youth ministry with Kenda Dean and Andrew Root. Follow our conversation on Twitter and #1st3rd
This academic/theological forum is being held at Luther Seminary in conjunction with JoPa productions, SparkHouse, and a few other organizations.
The first session or (better stated) collective discussion was
Theological Dialogues in Youth Ministry-
Each speaker had 3 minutes to share his or her thoughts about a particular word and its association for youth ministry
Tony Jones described “theological” as being both first order as well as second order mode of thought and reflection.
“Everything is inherently theological” and this should radically transform the way we see youth ministry, since the very practice of youth ministry is theological.
He described “theology” not as an academic pursuit, but rather as the nexus of divine action and human activity (intersection)
Doug Pagitt was next speaking about “dialogue”
He envisions truthful dialog as having a beginning with no end in sight.
It begins with an attitude of vulnerability, humility, and openness.
Dialogue is unscripted conversations with no agendas getting in the way of where the conversation can go and how its flows.
Kenda Dean described “youth” as faces; real people in real places.
It is the very paradigm for being very human.
An open-ended future of possibility= youth, and by definition that articulates what Christianity can be as well.
Andy Root concluded the round table chatter with his thoughts on “ministry”
It is not about what we do, rather what God does.
Ministry is not practices and procedures. Rather, it is fundamentally a theological work
Youth ministry cannot be about making kids good or getting students to buy into certain agendas.
Youth ministry is to participate in God’s own action in the world with and for young people
All the participants then divided up into conversation groups around the church to discuss collectively each of those four words and report back.
As a group, we can all see that all 4 words are interconnected and interrelated. They blend into each other in a mysterious, beautiful and powerful way.
A film study on the film American Teen concluded the day 1 happenings, but naturally this was followed by continued late night pub talk.
So far, I have been very impressed with the relational structure, interactive learning platforms, and leadership. Clearly this is not presented as a teacher-student enviroment full of lectures by the “veterans” or “masters”
It feel like a family getting together to discuss our thoughts and learn from each other.
More updates to come tomorrow on days 2 & 3 as well as a final review/recap when I return to NY.