For more than 50 years, relational or incarnational ministry has been a major focus in youth ministry. But for too long, those relationships have been used as tools—as a means to an end—where adults try to influence students to accept, know, trust, believe, or participate in something. While our motives may be good, it’s possible that by focusing on these goals, we’re not ministering the whole person. When we choose not to engage in the full life of a student, we run the risk of failing them and our ministry. In this thoughtful and insightful book, Andrew Root challenges us to reconsider our motives and begin to consider simply being with and doing life alongside teenagers with no agenda other than to love them right where they are, by place-sharing. As he shares stories of his (and others’) successes and failures in relational youth ministry, you’ll find practical ideas to help you recreate the role of relationships in your youth ministry. If you’re involved in the lives of teenagers, whether as a youth pastor, volunteer youth worker, church leader, or parent, you’ll want to read this book and work together to discover the value of place-sharing in the lives of teens. You’ll see that it’s time to tear down the old structure of relational youth ministry and start again.
About the Author
Andrew Root (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is the Olson Baalson associate professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, Minnesota). He is the author of several books, including Relationships Unfiltered and coauthor of The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry with Kenda Creasy Dean. Andy has worked in congregations, parachurch ministries, and social service programs. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, Kara, two children, Owen and Maisy, and their two dogs, Kirby and Kimmel. When not reading, writing, or teaching, Andy spends far too much time watching TV and movies.