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Youth Ministry and Practicing the Way of Jesus

I’ve been re-reading Mark A. Scandrette’s profoundly useful book, Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love. Reading the book today I was reminded of conversations I’ve had with my friend Michael Nevens about why so many high schoolers stop attending church once they go off to college. My hunch is that if more youth groups, college groups, churches, and faith communities of all stripes were doing the kinds of things Scandrette writes about–spiritual formation that is participatory, experimental, risky, rooted in Scripture, trying to actually do the things Jesus said we should do (“whole-person apprenticeship to Jesus”)–I don’t think so many kids would leave the church. It would be too exciting, too playful, too life- and world-transforming, and there would be too much at stake to leave. I love this book. Though it’s not written directly to youth ministers, this is a book I’d turn to often for inspiration if I was doing youth ministry.

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