I’ve recently read Andrew Root’s, Faith Formation In A Secular Age: Responding To The Church’s Obsession With Youthfulness.
It was a dense read. As a result, it has triggered numerous thoughts about how we engage students, helping them to form faith in the current cultural era. I think this book has been very helpful in thinking through the way we approach discipleship, particularly in youth ministry. But, at the same time, I found that it raises unsatisfactory answers in its conclusions.
Having read the book, and thought through some of Root’s ideas I have written a fairly comprehensive review. It was accepted by The Gospel Coalition Australia editors and published on their site.
You can read the whole thing here.
“This has resulted with churches increasingly viewing youth ministry as a “saviour” for their church. While the church youth movement has historically been there, it is really only in the last fifty years that this area of the church has risen to the level it is today. There was actually a time when churches didn’t have a youth pastor and where the work toward the young people was driven by a group of volunteers. The striving after a pastoral staff position specifically for youth ministry is something new, relatively speaking.
A by-product of this is churches increasing their value for and commitment to keeping young people in the church. This increase in attention has also created youth ministry and youth focussed para-church organisations that seek to hold a young person in the orbit of faith. This kind of thinking hopes to see more kids, and particularly kids of church families, stay in church life instead of walking away and becoming one of the ‘Nones’ who are now self-identifying in surveys and census data. As Root remarks, “Even today, study after study in youth ministry seems to define faith primarily through institutional participation.” (p30)”
Andrew Root has also been doing the rounds on various podcast episodes. If you’d like to have a listen to what he says then head to one of these:
Youthscape are a youth work organisation in the UK and interviewed Root about his book in episode 41.
Homebrewed Christianity interviews Andrew Root about Faith Formation In A Secular Age. I haven’t listened to this but will do in coming days or weeks.
The Distillery Podcast is an initiative by Princeton Theological Seminary. They interviewed Root about this book and I found it to be a good insight into his thoughts.
When You Gonna Be A Real Pastor is a fun podcast by two youth pastors in the USA. Here they interview Andrew Root before the book was released, partly on his previous book and partly on this one.