How can responsibility for youth ministry be returned to local congregations? In Practicing Discernment with Youth, White uses historical discernment practices in Christian communities, such as Ignatian contemplative practices, Quaker clearness counsels, consensus decision making, and silence. Biblical reflection that emerged from the Protestant Reformation and social analysis of Latin American base communities are also used. The book is divided into two parts. In Part One, a theologically based youth program is described. In Part Two, a practical program is splayed out so that local youth ministers can engaged groups in reflection and discussion.
"Over the last half-century," says David White, "congregational youth ministry has undergone a separation from its own sense of place. The expectations, imaginations, and practices of youth ministry are more likely to originate in Southern California. Colorado, or denominational headquarters than they are within the unique and particular setting of a congregation." In Practicing Discernment with Youth, White calls for congregations to engage their young people in practices of discernment that involve the gifts and problems of their unique context, bringing their lives more fully into partnership with God's work in their given place. He develops the notion of practicing discernment among youth as a means of returning the responsibility for youth ministry to local congregations and youth groups and provides a new understanding of youth ministry as a way of responding to the particular wounds, blessings, gifts, and charisms of youth and congregations. White uses historical discernment practices of Christian communities such as Ignatian contemplative practices, Quaker clearness counsels, consensus decision making, and silence; biblical reflection that emerged from Protestant reformation; and social analysis of Latin American base communities.
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