What would youth ministry look like if it were based on a pursuit of authentic Christian joy?Joy is not often a word young people associate with church—but it should be. By reimagining three com
What would youth ministry look like if it were based on a pursuit of authentic Christian joy?
Joy is not often a word young people associate with church—but it should be. By reimagining three common practices in youth ministry through the theological lens of joy, veteran youth workers Kenda Creasy Dean, Wesley Ellis, Justin Forbes, and Abigail Visco Rusert demonstrate how to shift this association and become more honest about what youth ministry can, and can’t, do to support young people and their faith. Grounding youth ministry in joy rather than in fear also models a way forward for the church. It reminds us that youth ministry is not a tool for anxious congregations to use to ensure their survival. Rather, youth ministry—like all ministry—is a way to help people name and experience God’s delight, free from fear and anxiety about their futures.
Delighted is the first book to emerge from the Yale Center for Faith and Culture’s Adolescent Faith and Flourishing project, offering a sustained reflection on joy’s practical importance for youth ministry. With reflection questions offered at the end of each chapter, Delighted is easy for youth ministers, volunteers, and pastors to pick up and use immediately—tapping into young people’s instinctive desire for joy for the entire church, as well as for ministry with teenagers.
View Biographical note
Kenda Creasy Dean is an ordained United Methodist pastor and the Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the author of numerous books on faith and young people, including Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church and Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church.
Wesley W. Ellis is a veteran youth worker and the Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Toms River, New Jersey, and a Ph.D. candidate in practical theology at the University of Aberdeen.
Justin Forbes spent ten years in youth ministry working for Young Life in Florida and is now the director of the Youth Ministry Program at Flagler College, and a Ph.D. candidate in practical theology at the University of Aberdeen.
Abigail Visco Rusert is the Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. Ordained in the PC (USA) through the Philadelphia Presbytery, she served most recently as the Associate Pastor at Carmel Presbyterian Church in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
View Table of contents
Table of Contents
Prelude: Kenda Creasy Dean
1. Losing Our Scales: The Adolescent Experience of Joy, Kenda Creasy Dean
Intermezzo: “I Also Had a Friend,” Wesley W. Ellis
2. “Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me”: Rethinking Friendship in Youth Ministry, Wesley W. Ellis and Kenda Creasy Dean
Intermezzo: “From Sorrow to Celebration,” Abigail Visco Rusert
3. Wonder and Onions: Reframing Celebration in Youth Ministry, Abigail Visco Rusert and Kenda Creasy Dean
Intermezzo: “Not a Story About Football,” Justin Forbes
4. Trace My Hand: The Promise of Confession in Youth Ministry, Justin Forbes and Kenda Creasy Dean
5. Enjoying Young Dragons: Snapshots of Joyful Youth Ministries, Wesley W. Ellis, Abigail Visco Rusert, and Justin Forbes
Postlude: Why We Do This: Passion, Joy and Innovation, Wesley Ellis, Justin Forbes, and Abigail Visco Rusert, with Kenda Creasy Dean