The role of the family in youth ministry: an assessment of current approaches
Willemse, Jeremiah Jonathan
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This study focuses on the field of youth ministry as a sub-discipline of Practical Theology. It will offer a survey of current literature in the field of youth ministry in order to identify some of the current issues in this discourse as well as some of the approaches which may be followed in Christian ministry to the youth. This study focuses, more specifically, on an approach to youth ministry which seeks to integrate the role of families and family life in Christian ministry to young people. This thesis will offer a survey of contemporary literature in youth ministry, with specific reference to literature from the evangelical and Pentecostal traditions, in which the role of family life is emphasised. It will identify, describe and assess the different ways in which family life may be integrated in the context of youth ministry. The main aim of this thesis is therefore to describe and assess the current state of the debate in this regard and to classify the different ways of integrating family life in youth ministry. The thesis is structured on the basis of an introduction dealing with methodological aspects and four further chapters. Chapter 2 will offer reflections on the nature and composition of the “family” as well as a brief description of the challenges facing contemporary families (in South Africa). This will be done on the basis of a survey of the relevant literature, including literature from the fields of sociology and social work. Chapter 3 will describe the challenges faced by ministries to the youth and will discuss seven approaches to youth ministry as identified in the book Starting Right (edited by iv Dean Kenda and Clark Chap). One of these approaches is one where family life is emphasised and regarded as an appropriate point of departure for adequate ministries to the youth. Chapter 4 will focus on especially three strategies which may be employed in order to integrate family life in youth ministry, namely the prophetic stance, the family-based youth ministry approach and the ministry to youth through family ministry. A description and comparison of these strategies will be offered while the strengths and weaknesses of each of these strategies will be identified. Chapter 5 will summarise the state of current discourse on the role of family life in youth ministry and will offer some recommendations in this regard.