Editorial Introduction -- By: Adam Harwood
JBTM 13:1 (Spring 2016) p. 1
Adam Harwood is Associate Professor of Theology, occupying the McFarland Chair of Theology; Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry; Editor, Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
The theme of this issue of JBTM, “Theology of Youth Ministry,” was the idea of Allen Jackson, Professor of Youth Education and Collegiate Ministry and Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to his ministry in local churches, Jackson has trained youth leaders at NOBTS for more than twenty years. In January of 2015, he spoke with me about his vision for an issue of this journal dedicated to the theology of youth ministry which would be useful for readers in the seminary classroom as well among a wider audience in Baptist churches. We worked together to gather content which we hope will aid readers in constructing a solid theological foundation for youth ministry in the local church. This issue in the result of that work.
The first article was delivered as a convocation address at Golden Gate Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California, by Paul G. Kelly, who serves as Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the institution. Kelly constructs a biblical theology of the time of life known as youth, contrasts it with the American concept of adolescence, and considers the implications for ministry in the local church. In the second article, Richard Ross, Professor of Student Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, suggests that Moral Therapeutic Deism is a problem for the entire church, not the teenagers only, and the solution is found in a higher and thoroughly biblical view of the person and work of Christ. In the third article, Walt Mueller, the founder and President of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, explains that engaging teenagers with the gospel necessarily entails engaging their culture and worldview. The fourth article is a reprint of a 1997 essay on theology and youth ministry by Allen Jackson which includes an update written almost two decades later. The fifth article provides the perspective of the recent youth ministry experience of a Millennial (one born in the early-80s to early-2000), James Franklin, with interaction by Allen Jackson. In the sixth article, I address the doctrines of conversion and baptism as well as the implications for young ministry among Baptist (and baptistic) churches. In the final article, Joyce Ann Mercer, Professor in Pastoral Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, surveys recent literature on youth and religions which have implications for youth ministry.
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