Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together

Andrew Root. Baker Academic, $19.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-8010-4905-7
Root (The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry) shines a light on an under-examined aspect of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life: his work as a youth pastor. This omission in the literature surprises: up until the Nazis made youth ministry impossible for him, it was central to Bonhoeffer’s mission. The Lutheran pastor and theologian thought deeply about the role of youth in church, and his ideas, expressed most succinctly in eight theses, provide a corrective to current youth ministry issues, such as an overemphasis on numbers and growth, the isolation of youth within churches, and the treatment of youth itself as somehow special. Bonhoeffer argued that young people must be centrally integrated into the life of the church community and find their distinctiveness in being part of the body of Christ. Most importantly, as Root emphasizes, Bonhoeffer’s approach was experiential: Christian life could only grow through “concrete and lived experience.” Using Bonhoeffer’s rich and varied work with youth, as well as his books Life Together and Discipleship, Root makes a thoughtful and compelling contribution both to Bonhoeffer studies and youth ministry. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Ebook - 222 pages - 978-1-4412-2133-9
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4412-2131-5
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