A have been re-reading Andrew Root‘s Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry. This book has spoken to me on so many levels. My basic take away from the reading is that relational youth ministry is often seen as a means to an end instead of an end in itself. When relationships are attached to influence or come with agendas, they are never able to escape the contrived notion of that relationship. Root’s book moves relational youth ministry from the agenda of getting them to accept the presentation we give of Christianity, to a participation in being involved in Jesus and his message of hope.
“The incarnation is not about influence but accompaniment. It is not about getting us right but bearing what is wrong with us, so that we might find that we are only right in the embrace of a God who loves so much to be with us!” p. 79
Root suggests the move from ulterior motives as a relational ministry to relationships that are the ends and the means. This relational ministry informs a transcendent incarnation of God’s work in individual and corporate lives that is transformative.
If you are in youth ministry, and especially if you are working in discipling youth, I would say this book is a must read. For a lite version also check out Relationships Unfiltered. I am planning to us this as a training tool for my leadership team.