I just finished my last paper for this semester and I’m finally done. It was for my Advanced Studies in Youth Ministry course with Kenda Dean and was entitled “Pneumatology as a Theological Foundation for Youth Ministry in the 21st Century.” I used pneumatology (theology of the Spirit) as the theological
backbone underpinning, basically, for a proposed philosophy of youth ministry. Drew heavily on the pneumatologies of Jürgen Moltmann (Reformed theologian) in his book The Spirit of Life, and Elizabeth Johnson (Catholic feminist theologian) in her book “She Who Is.” Here is my conclusion (because I *know* you’re interested):
Is this a perfect model for ministry? No. Does it have its own theological and methodological flaws? Probably. But I think that a youth ministry that is centered and oriented around the unrestricted movement of the Spirit is a welcome alternative to other current models of youth ministry. The Holy Spirit has been avoided for long enough in theology and the church. Incorporating a robust and open theology of the Holy Spirit as a theological foundation for youth ministry will radically change the way youth groups look, act and function in society. Students will become more open to the presence of the Spirit in all people and in the world, more passionate and desiring of personal encounters of the Spirit through spiritual formation and relationships and more willing to work hard for authentic community that seeks to exemplify the community and relationality found in the triune God.
“What is most baffling about forgetfulness of the Spirit is that what is being neglected is nothing less than the mystery of God’s personal engagement with the world in its history of love and disaster; nothing less than God’s empowering presence dialectically active within the world in the beginning, throughout history and to the end, calling forth the praxis of life and freedom. Forgetting the Spirit is not ignoring a faceless, shadow third hypostatis but the mystery of God closer to us than we are to ourselves, drawing near and passing by in quickening, liberating compassion” (Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is, 131).
If you want to read the whole paper, click here.