Kenda Creasy Dean is an elder in the United Methodist Church and a professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. She also works with the Institute for Youth Ministry. Her books include Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church (Oxford University Press).
The most hopeful message in Greenhouses of Hope is
implicit: your church doesn't have to be large, suburban, white or
wealthy--or even to have an established youth program--in order for
ministry with young people to flourish.
In 1984, Marvel Comics created a new nemesis for Spider-Man. The character would be a symbiote, inspired by what parasitologists call the weaker of two organisms inhabiting the same space. The weaker organism can draw life from the stronger, and in the most dramatic cases it siphons off its host’s nutrients before the host realizes what’s happening.
My friend David Burke, veteran youth pastor and church consultant, met recently with leaders of a midsized congregation to help assess their youth ministry. When lunchtime rolled around, a lanky 20-something pizza delivery guy wandered into the church’s youth room with several pizzas.
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