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In his 33 years as a professor at Luther Seminary, Roland Martinson has seen many changes in the way youth ministry is studied and practiced.
Now, as he prepares to publish his next book, "The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry," Martinson sees youth ministry at Luther changing once again.
The upcoming book will detail the results of Martinson's national Exemplary Youth Ministry study. The three-year study concentrated on 131 congregations across seven denominations, all of which developed thriving youth ministries over the last 10 years.
"It's becoming more difficult for congregations to do ministry with young people," said Martinson, academic dean and Carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Children, Youth and Family Ministry. "We wanted to know what was happening in those congregations where, in spite of the difficulties, they have done exceedingly well with young people."
These churches' successful approaches to youth ministry will not only inform congregations across the country but also direct the way Luther trains future youth and family ministers.
"What these congregations did differently is they created a spirit and culture that was transformative of families and young people even as these churches were adapting their ministries to the families' and young people's lifestyles," he said. "We need to see that these congregations' discoveries are in fact transferred to the ministries of our students and pastors."
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