The ‘incarnational’ theological perspective has had a significant influence upon models of youth ministry since the 1940s. It became a compelling force in the 1990s through the work of prolific voices like Pete Ward in the UK and Dean Borgman in America. More recently it has received renewed focus with a new interpretation offered by Dr. Andrew Root.

This is a question of the theological appropriation of the Incarnation, and why we might speak of incarnational youth ministry but not Trinitarian, atoning, or creational youth ministry. If fidelity to the orthodox doctrine of the incarnation is a measure of the appropriateness of using the word ‘incarnational’ as a praxis, then these approaches come up short. Although many ‘incarnational’ practices should be retained, holding to the term has lasting theological complications.

In: Journal of Youth and Theology