This article, departing from the ambition of IASYM to be “completely ecumenical,” discusses the importance of “confessionality” in youth ministry and youth ministry research. As a pre-text to analyzing how confessional tradition and context plays out in some key youth ministry publications, the author points out how youth ministry historically emerged within a mission paradigm where the urge to guard and reproduce confessional identity was crucial. Following this analysis, the article sets out to develop an ecumenical understanding of “confessionality,” rooted in the ancient question “what do Christians do?” The author, emphasizing that the crux of Christian identity is worship, concludes that “confessionality” in the context of youth ministry from this perspective is confessional, catholic, and missional. Therefore, even in the IASYM, being “completely ecumenical” also involves being “confessional” in a certain sense.
This article explores the ecclesiological and missiological context of post-soviet Estonia. Drawing from the perspective of the evangelical church in this nation, the author proposes a paradigm and perception shift is required to help the church re-imagine its future as a missional communitas. This discussion makes use of sociological and missiological notions of liminality to present a vision for a church that embraces the transitional nature of contemporary society and in particular the uncertain futures of nations such as Estonia. Having discussed these issues, the author presents three pen portraits of visions for the church and youth ministry in this context.
The rationale for a special ministry to and with young people has often been rooted in narratives of culture or developmental psychology. This article argues that the Christian story of the body as it is unfolded in most Christian funeral rituals should be the story that orders youth ministry. Based on an understanding of youth as a phase of transition, a reading of the narrative of the Hunger Games trilogy, ritual theory, and contemporary theological engagements with the body and embodiment, the article argues that youth ministry should be ordered by the Christian story of the body as created, finite and living under the hope of resurrection. Making this story the ritual plot in youth ministry turns youth ministry into a catechesis of hope.
This article outlines a public rhetoric for youth ministry in an era of ecclesial agoraphobia. The article draws on the findings of a larger research project titled The Four Speeches Every Leader Has to Know. With the use of rhetorical theory, analysis of actual speeches, and a phenomenological and narrative approach to leadership and speaking, this research project has developed a four speeches-typology – the opening speech, the executioner speech, the consolation speech, and the farewell speech. The article uses this typology within the framework of a biblical rhetoric, looking at the speeches of Jesus, to analyse how the four speeches of Jesus may help the youth leader to address the transitory lives of young people in a credible way.
This article investigates what kind of vision should be cultivated when studying the church, as the church is the place where the un-knowable, and un-seeable is made known. By drawing upon hermeneutical questions evolving from ecclesiological fieldwork, and recent contributions to the epistemological framework of ecclesiological research (among others Hegstad and McGrath), the article makes a case for developing an ‘apophatic mode’ in ecclesiological research. Utilizing Martin Luther’s epistemological framework in De Servo Aribitrio the article argues that such ecclesiological research, should be understood as a struggle, a tentatio. This struggle is not something external to the being of the church, understood as participation in God, but is actually a mark of the church itself. Fundamentally, ecclesiological reflection as cultivation of theological vision is the cultivation of a dialectic struggle, as the church, the mother of faith, in eschatological perspective is both re(ve)al(ed) and hidden under the cross.
This article analyses and discusses what constitutes the central difficulty (crux) of a surrogate apology – a corporate apology where a leader apologizes vicariously on behalf of an organization. Starting with a rhetorical analysis of the surrogate apology given by Norwegian mission leaders to children going to mission boarding schools (2009), the article proceeds to evaluate the theological status of such a surrogate apology in the light of forgiveness as a key practice in a theology of missio Dei. Drawing on rhetorical and theological analysis, the article concludes that the central difficulty lies in the aporetic nature of the response. It is therefore essential to acknowledge and address this aporia, even as a theological challenge.