Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Andrew Root

Andrew Root

Associate Professor and Carrie Olson Baalson Chair of Youth and Family Ministry

  • PhD (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • M.Th. (Fuller Theological Seminary)
  • M.Div. (Fuller Theological Seminary)

Biography

Andrew Root joined Luther Seminary in 2005.  He is often mentioned as one of the leading scholars in youth ministry and practical theology in the world.  His first book Revisiting Relational Ministry (IVP, 2007) presented a new trajectory for youth ministry offering the field one of the first robust theological projects.  Since then, Root has published twelve books, many of which have been found on lists for book of year.  His 2011 book,The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, was awarded Book of Merit by Christianity Today in 2012.  
 
Root has also offered important texts on pastoral ministry more generally, asserting that "the theological substance of youth ministry is no different than ministry generally; my concern is to discuss how real people (whether young or old) experience the living presence of God.”  His books The Promise of Despair, The Relational Pastor, and Christopraxis have all offered new visions for pastoral practice and practical theology.  
 
Andrew Root is a sought after speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches.  He is known for an engaging style that laces together stories, theological depth, and humor.  He has lectured and presented all over the world, including South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and many places in Europe.  
 
His latest endeavor includes being the principal leader for 1.2 million dollar John Templeton Foundation grant called “Science for Youth Ministry.”    

Featured Work

The Grace of Dogs: A Boy, a Black Lab, and a Father's Search for the Canine Soul

The Grace of Dogs: A Boy, a Black Lab, and a Father's Search for the Canine Soul

Penguin Random House (June 2017)

Andrew Root paints a vivid picture of the dog-human connection through history and describes why it’s often the wagging of the pooch at the door that reminds us best that we are worthy of love and created to share love. Root draws on biology, history, theology, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds), paleontology, and a wealth of personal stories to trace how humans and dogs have so often helped each other—emotionally and even spiritually—to become more fully ourselves.

The Grace of Dogs: A Boy, a Black Lab, and a Father's Search for the Canine Soul

Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church's Obsession with Youthfulness

Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church's Obsession with Youthfulness

Baker Academic (Aug. 2017)

The loss or disaffiliation of young adults is a much-discussed topic in churches today. Many faith-formation programs focus on keeping the young, believing the youthful spirit will save the church. But do these programs have more to do with an obsession with youthfulness than with helping young people encounter the living God?

Questioning the search for new or improved faith-formation programs, leading practical theologian Andrew Root offers an alternative take on the issue of youth drifting away from the church and articulates how faith can be formed in our secular age. He offers a theology of faith constructed from a rich cultural conversation, providing a deeper understanding of the phenomena of the "nones" and "moralistic therapeutic deism." Root helps readers understand why forming faith is so hard in our context and shows that what we have lost is not the ability to keep people connected to our churches but an imagination for how and where God could be present in their lives. He considers what faith is and what steps we can take to move into it, exploring a Pauline concept of faith as encounter with divine action.

Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church's Obsession with Youthfulness

Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross

Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross

Fortress Press (April 2014)

Finding practical theology not always able to present frameworks for understanding concrete and lived experience with divine action, Andrew Root seeks to reset the edifice of practical theology on a new foundation. While not minimizing its commitment to the lived and concrete, Root argues that practical theology has neglected deeper theological underpinnings. Christopraxis seeks to create a practical theology that is properly and fully theological, post-postmodern, post-Aristotelian, and that attends to doctrines such as divine action and justification.

Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross

Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together

Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together

Baker Academic (2014)

The youth ministry focus of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life is often forgotten or overlooked, even though he did much work with young people and wrote a number of papers, sermons, and addresses about or for the youth of the church. However, youth ministry expert Andrew Root explains that this focus is central to Bonhoeffer's story and thought. Root presents Bonhoeffer as the forefather and model of the growing theological turn in youth ministry. By linking contemporary youth workers with this epic theologian, the author shows the depth of youth ministry work and underscores its importance in the church. He also shows how Bonhoeffer's life and thought impact present-day youth ministry practice.

Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together

Courses

CY 0515 01THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY IISummer Term 2017-2018

Ministry is a theological task done with and for living persons. Students in this course explore a theology of ministry that helps children, youth, and their families interpret God's action in their actual lives. The course assists students in thinking about ministry from the location of divine action, recognizing how the leader's own theological conceptions fuel his or her imagination for ministry with children and youth. Students are asked to construct their own "theology" of ministry. Each student is encouraged to focus on his or her own area of specialization (children's ministry, youth ministry, etc.) but is also moved into examining a theology of ministry that explores the centrality of God's action in intergenerational dimensions of human communities. SUMMER 2016 INTENSIVE: PRE AND POST WORK REQUIRED

CY 4525 01CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN CHILDREN,YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRYSummer Term 2017-2018

This is a directed reading/seminar collaboration course. Each year a contemporary topic in the area of Children, Youth and Family ministry is chosen. Students will then read from the bibliography associated with that topic and a guest lecturer will be invited to present to students. The student will seek to integrate readings, discussions, and the idea of leading thinking. Because topics change, this course may be repeated for credit. PRE AND POST WORK REQUIRED SUMMER 2018 JUNE 11-14, 2018 GUEST LECTURERS: TBD COURSE FOCUS: EVOLUTION, THEOLOGY, AND MINISTRY TO YOUNG PEOPLE SPONSORED BY THE JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION GRANT FOR SCIENCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY PROJECT THIS CLASS IS PART OF A JOHN TEMPLETON FUNDED PROJECT, SCIENCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY.

CY 0510 01THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY IJanuary Term 2017-2018

Ministry is a theological task done with and for living persons. Students in this course explore a theology of ministry that helps children, youth, and their families interpret God's action in their actual lives. The course assists students in thinking about ministry from the location of divine action, recognizing how the leader's own theological conceptions fuel his or her imagination for ministry with children and youth. Students are asked to construct their own "theology" of ministry. Each student is encouraged to focus on his or her own area of specialization (children's ministry, youth ministry, etc.) but is also moved into examining a theology of ministry that explores the centrality of God's action in intergenerational dimensions of human communities.

CY 4564 01CULTURE AND EMERGING GENERATIONS January Term 2017-2018

Ministries with emerging generations and their families require deep understanding of young people’s cultural engagement. Students learn to read the agency and structures of younger generations in culture. Drawing on this work, and work from other courses, students integrate text and context in developing effective practices in youth and family ministry. John Templeton Foundation Grant for Science for Youth Ministry Project

CY 4570 01RELATIONAL MINISTRY-FUTURE OF CHURCFall Semester 2017-2018

A course that examines the theological, historical and sociological bases for relational/incarnational youth ministry. The course is designed to look at popular understandings of relational/incarnational ministry, assessing them through a theological understand of relationships. Students will be given the tools to use a relational/incarnational approach to youth ministry engendered from theological and strategic perspectives.

CY 0515 01THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY IISummer Term 2016-2017

Ministry is a theological task done with and for living persons. Students in this course explore a theology of ministry that helps children, youth, and their families interpret God's action in their actual lives. The course assists students in thinking about ministry from the location of divine action, recognizing how the leader's own theological conceptions fuel his or her imagination for ministry with children and youth. Students are asked to construct their own "theology" of ministry. Each student is encouraged to focus on his or her own area of specialization (children's ministry, youth ministry, etc.) but is also moved into examining a theology of ministry that explores the centrality of God's action in intergenerational dimensions of human communities. SUMMER 2016 INTENSIVE: PRE AND POST WORK REQUIRED

CY 4525 01CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN CHILDREN,YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRYSummer Term 2016-2017

This is a directed reading/seminar collaboration course. Each year a contemporary topic in the area of Children, Youth and Family ministry is chosen. Students will then read from the bibliography associated with that topic and a guest lecturer will be invited to present to students. The student will seek to integrate readings, discussions, and the idea of leading thinking. Because topics change, this course may be repeated for credit. PRE & POST WORK REQUIRED FOR THIS COURSE - SUMMER 2017 SUMMER 2017 - JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION GRANT FOR SCIENCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY PROJECT - FOCUS: MEDICINE AND DISABILITY. EXPLORE HOW LIVING IN A DIAGNOSTIC CULTURE IMPACTS MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH AND THEIR PARENTS. GUEST LECTURERS: JOHN SWINTON AND BEN CONNOR

CY 0510 01THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY IJanuary Term 2016-2017

Ministry is a theological task done with and for living persons. Students in this course explore a theology of ministry that helps children, youth, and their families interpret God's action in their actual lives. The course assists students in thinking about ministry from the location of divine action, recognizing how the leader's own theological conceptions fuel his or her imagination for ministry with children and youth. Students are asked to construct their own "theology" of ministry. Each student is encouraged to focus on his or her own area of specialization (children's ministry, youth ministry, etc.) but is also moved into examining a theology of ministry that explores the centrality of God's action in intergenerational dimensions of human communities. PRE-WORK REQUIRED.

CY 4560 01FAMILY CHILDHOOD AND CHURCH January Term 2016-2017

A theological framework for home and congregation ministry will be developed in this course followed by practical ministry strategies to provide effective ministries across the generations. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of different family forms, the cultural impact on the conception of family/childhood, and move toward intergenerational approaches for ministry. ELCA RECIPROCITY COURSE; PRE-WORK REQUIRED.

CY 4597 98 RSGUIDED READING AND RESEARCH - CHILDREN,YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRYJanuary Term 2016-2017

An independent study/guided reading in Children, Youth and Family Ministry.

CY 4597 99 RSGUIDED READING AND RESEARCH - CHILDREN,YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRYJanuary Term 2016-2017

An Independent study/guided reading in Children, Youth and Family Ministry.

CY 4566 01DIETRICH BONHOEFFER: YOUTH WORKERFall Semester 2016-2017

From 1927 to 1938 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s central pastoral ministry was with children and youth. This course examines Bonhoeffer’s biography, looking in-depth at his lectures, sermons, and essays on youth work. Through Bonhoeffer’s writing and history students are given an example of a theological thinker in children’s and youth ministry to emulate. The course particularly explores confirmation using Bonhoeffer’s work in Wedding 1932 and Pomerania 1938 to reexamine our practices today.

CY 4566 99 RSDIETRICH BONHOEFFER: YOUTH WORKERFall Semester 2016-2017

From 1927 to 1938 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s central pastoral ministry was with children and youth. This course examines Bonhoeffer’s biography, looking in-depth at his lectures, sermons, and essays on youth work. Through Bonhoeffer’s writing and history students are given an example of a theological thinker in children’s and youth ministry to emulate. The course particularly explores confirmation using Bonhoeffer’s work in Wedding 1932 and Pomerania 1938 to reexamine our practices today.

CY 0515 01THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY IISummer Term 2015-2016

Ministry is a theological task done with and for living persons. Students in this course explore a theology of ministry that helps children, youth, and their families interpret God's action in their actual lives. The course assists students in thinking about ministry from the location of divine action, recognizing how the leader's own theological conceptions fuel his or her imagination for ministry with children and youth. Students are asked to construct their own "theology" of ministry. Each student is encouraged to focus on his or her own area of specialization (children's ministry, youth ministry, etc.) but is also moved into examining a theology of ministry that explores the centrality of God's action in intergenerational dimensions of human communities.

CY 4525 01CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN CHILDREN,YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRYSummer Term 2015-2016

This is a directed reading/seminar collaboration course. Each year a contemporary topic in the area of Children, Youth and Family ministry is chosen. Students will then read from the bibliography associated with that topic and a guest lecturer will be invited to present to students. The student will seek to integrate readings, discussions, and the idea of leading thinking. Because topics change, this course may be repeated for credit. GUEST LECTURER: DR. TINA PAYNE BRYSON COURSE FOCUS: NEUROPSYCHOLOGY AND CHILDREN THIS CLASS IS PART OF A JOHN TEMPLETON FUNDED PROJECT, SCIENCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY.

CY 0510 01THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY IJanuary Term 2015-2016

Ministry is a theological task done with and for living persons. Students in this course explore a theology of ministry that helps children, youth, and their families interpret God's action in their actual lives. The course assists students in thinking about ministry from the location of divine action, recognizing how the leader's own theological conceptions fuel his or her imagination for ministry with children and youth. Students are asked to construct their own "theology" of ministry. Each student is encouraged to focus on his or her own area of specialization (children's ministry, youth ministry, etc.) but is also moved into examining a theology of ministry that explores the centrality of God's action in intergenerational dimensions of human communities.

CY 4570 01RELATIONAL MINISTRY-FUTURE OF CHURCJanuary Term 2015-2016

A course that examines the theological, historical and sociological bases for relational/incarnational youth ministry. The course is designed to look at popular understandings of relational/incarnational ministry, assessing them through a theological understand of relationships. Students will be given the tools to use a relational/incarnational approach to youth ministry engendered from theological and strategic perspectives. PRE-WORK REQUIRED BEGINS JANUARY 2, 2016.

CY 4564 01CULTURE AND EMERGING GENERATIONS Fall Semester 2015-2016

Ministries with emerging generations and their families require deep understanding of young people’s cultural engagement. Students learn to read the agency and structures of younger generations in culture. Drawing on this work, and work from other courses, students integrate text and context in developing effective practices in youth and family ministry.

CY 4564 02CULTURE AND EMERGING GENERATIONS Fall Semester 2015-2016

Ministries with emerging generations and their families require deep understanding of young people’s cultural engagement. Students learn to read the agency and structures of younger generations in culture. Drawing on this work, and work from other courses, students integrate text and context in developing effective practices in youth and family ministry.

View new and notable publications from our faculty.

Faculty Publications