Thursday, January 26, 2012
My Review of THE ADOLESCENT JOURNEY by Amy Jacober
David Kinnaman exposed the widespread inadequacy of many church youth ministries in his book YOU LOST ME. His research revealed that youth ministries struggle to develop teenagers into adults who know how to integrate their whole lives with their faith in Christ. Because of this, teens often become young adults who see their faith and church involvement as irrelevant to their lives. Youth ministries are often focused on being relevant and program-heavy, while youth pastors are rarely encouraged to take issues of practical theology seriously enough. Having been a youth pastor as well as an outside observer, it seems like church youth ministries are often focused on keeping teens entertained and kept out of trouble, while giving all the standard “Christian” rules to live by (i.e. don't cuss, don't drink, don't have premarital sex, and don't hang out with those who do). While some teens find a transformational relationship with Jesus during their stent in youth ministry, we've all seen far too many students graduate from the church at the same time they graduate from high school.
In her book THE ADOLESCENT JOURNEY, Amy Jacober elaborates on this current state of youth ministry and offers hope and encouragement for a better way. Specifically, Jacober reminds youth ministers that their students are on a journey of individuation and finding their identity. They can find that identity in Christ, or they can find it unsatisfyingly in the world. Youth ministry is about the ministry of reconciliation that God has called all believers to. It's about joining God in his reconciliatory work in students' lives.
Jacober walks us through some important findings in teen psychological development, the role of culture in identity formation, as well as issues in practical theology. She makes a great case for the importance of the Christian community in identity formation.
THE ADOLESCENT JOURNEY is about developing teens into young adults who have their identity clearly formed in Christ and make a transformational impact on the world.
I received this book for free for review from Intervarsity Press