The purpose of this project is to explore how youth ministry at Sequim Community Church (hereafter, SCC) can counter systemic abandonment of adolescents by instituting a church-wide holistic praxis of adoption. Part One of this project defines the “youth” of youth ministry. It discusses the current youth culture and the psychosocial development of adolescents, and it provides a baseline for understanding the youth of Sequim, Washington. This is the context in which this project tries to define a ministry method that can be implemented cross-culturally and cross-generationally to counter what adolescents experience as abandonment.
Part Two presents a theological exercise regarding how to counter systemic abandonment with the redemptive power of adoption, addressing the “ministry” of youth ministry. An ecclesiology of the local church as a family of families is explained. Churches have the ability to adopt young people into the church family with the hope of adoption into God’s eternal family. Adoption is associated with particular ministries and calls the Church to focus on the whole family. The hope of adoption when associated with the stages of discipleship outlines a new model for ministry that can guide SCC and other youth ministries into a more holistic praxis of ministry.
A strategy for SCC is developed in Part Three. The youth ministry at SCC was critiqued using an evaluation tool specifically designed to see if, as a ministry, it is providing movement towards abandonment or adoption. Adaptive problems require everyone in leadership to participate in finding solutions together; therefore, a plan for creating holding environments of discussability concerning a new model of ministry is planned for SCC. Potential changes for SCC are offered with the knowledge that community input might shift the final outcome.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
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Toth, Anthony J., "Adjusting the Course of Youth Ministry" (2013). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 129.