State of Youth Ministry

An IYM Blog Series

For the past 21 years, the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary has been the leading convener of conversation on theologically-informed youth ministry. Over these years, the IYM has hosted events, developed resources, created networks, and highlighted voices vital to the hard and holy task of nurturing young people in Christian faith and life. We have been immensely honored and inspired by these conversations and relationships, and we remain as committed to this work—and as convinced of its necessity—as we were the day we began.

In December 2016, we gathered a distinguished group of IYM stakeholders—professors, practitioners, and thought leaders—to the seminary campus for a few days of strategic imagination about the future of youth ministry and the IYM. We asked these friends to bring with them their openness, wisdom, and courage as well as a brief description of today’s state of youth ministry from their perspective. Coincidentally—or perhaps Providentially—the Barna Group had just published its findings, The State of Youth Ministry, the previous month, which contained “the findings of three nationwide studies among youth pastors, senior pastors and parents of teens.”

This practical and straightforward research provides insightful data on youth groups, leadership, and programs, and we are grateful to our colleagues for this very useful resource. Staying true to our mission, we want to offer a theological framework for this conversation, and we are therefore pleased to share this blog series on The State of Youth Ministry. These posts are drawn from the original documents our stakeholders wrote for our December meeting, and as such, they represent the kind of raw and challenging conversation that is helping to shape the next 21 years of the IYM and, God willing, of the wonderful world of youth ministry.

Kermit Moss

Pizza Parties and Pneumatology

Kermit Cornell Moss, Sr. is a Ph.D. student in Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and serves as senior pastor of Manhattan Bible Church in Northern Manhattan.

Alaina Kleinbeck

Beyond Formation

Alaina Kleinbeck is the Director of the Duke Youth Academy at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.

Josh Rodriguez

Making Space to Dream

Josh Rodriguez is the Outreach Director of Young Adult and Youth Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

Katherine Douglass

Cultural Engagement

The Rev. Dr. Katherine Douglass is an Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry at Seattle Pacific Seminary in Washington and is the co-director of The Confirmation Project.

Annie Lockhart-Gilroy

Thinking Broadly, Going Deeply

Dr. Annie Lockhart-Gilroy is the Assistant Professor of Christian Education and Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey.

Reginald Blount

Transmit, Transform, Transgress

The Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount is the Assistant Professor of Formation, Youth, and Culture at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

Nathaniel Brooks

Ready, Aim, Focus

Rev. Nathaniel Brooks is the Executive Pastor at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Herndon, Virginia and serves as a consultant for Ministry Architects.

Michael Ozaki

The Age of Anxiety

Rev. Michael Ozaki is the Associate Pastor of Youth and Mission at State College Presbyterian Church in Central Pennsylvania.