In a post-everything era, is there any hope that teenagers will encounter the Triune God? If history is any indication, the answer is yes. According to veteran youth educator Mark Senter, for more than two centuries Protestant youth ministries have either strengthened teenagers after a special encounter with God or tried to retain them until such a moment when God shows up. This book, When God Shows Up: A History of Youth ministry in America, examines the fascinating journey of church leaders as they seek to capture the moment in life when young people are most open to peak spiritual experiences. As such, it provides the first substantial history of American Protestant youth ministry.
Senter traces the American Protestant church through three cycles of youth ministry, each beginning with a cultural shift that made obsolete the established methods of passing Christian values from one generation to the next. For each cycle, he evaluates innovations made by pastors and local churches in response to cultural shifts and shows how these innovations in youth ministry have impacted broader church life.
Senter also highlights the evolution of adolescent spirituality in America and describes the major shapers of youth ministry over the last century. As he reveals the dynamics of changing youth ministry trends and eras, Senter uses history as a lens for responding to the future.
The book's unique historical foundation makes it relevant for a broad array of youth ministry courses. In addition, youth workers will value Senter's assessment of what youth ministry has been, what it is now, and where it is going.
About the series: The Youth, Family, and Culture series examines the broad categories involved in studying and caring for the needs of the young and is dedicated to the preparation and vocational strengthening of those who are committed to the spiritual development of adolescents.