Youth Ministry in Modern America, by Jon Pahl

If we pay attention solely to popular media's portrayals of youth, we might be tempted to believe that adolescents are more free and powerful today than ever before. But some have detected a cultural hostility toward young people, manifested as blaming them for everything from rising crime rates to cultural decline. Since the early 1970s the real earning power of youth has diminished by approximately 30 percent, while requirements for securing middle-class employment have escalated, leaving the young less free to explore vocation and make their mark on history.


This marginalization of youth is reflected in recent legislation in which over 15 states have criminalized what were once considered experimental behaviors--public mischief, minor vandalism and gang affiliation. And the church has relegated youth to the periphery of congregational ministry. Theological scholarship has, with few exceptions, failed to offer critical perspectives or constructive approaches.

 

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