What is youth ministry actually for? And does it have a future? Professor Andrew Root, a leading scholar in youth ministry and practical theology, went on a one-year journey to answer these questions by conducting interviews with parents on their perspectives on what makes a good life. Through a unique parable-style story, Root offers a new way to think about the purpose of youth ministry: not happiness, but joy. Joy is a sense of experiencing the good. For youth ministry to be about joy, it must move beyond the youth group model and rework the assumptions of how identity and happiness are imagined by parents in American society.
Kendra Creasy, dean of Princeton Theological Seminary, author of Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church, and coauthor of Delighted: What Teenagers Are Teaching the Church about Joy, reviews, “After half a century of advice books on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of youth ministry, Root is the first practical theologian to seriously tackle the ‘why.’ Using a Kierkegaardian fable as his foil, Root explores deficient ways we justify youth ministry and then dives headlong into joy as the reason it matters. This is his most important youth ministry book to date.”