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Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus with Young People Paperback – 17 Feb 2006
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Mark Yaconelli is co-director of the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, which over the last 8 years has gathered together churches and youth ministers from across North America to explore contemplative prayer, discernment, spiritual direction, covenant community, spiritual practice and Sabbath-living as a way of resourcing ministries with youth. This book offers some of the experience, teaching, praying and thinking behind the project.
About the Author
MARK YACONELLI is the son of Mike Yaconelli, founder of Youth Specialities and, until his untimely death in 2003, one of the most popular ever speakers at Greenbelt. Mark has an MA in Christian Spirituality and a Graduate Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction. He has contributed chapters to Starting Right: Thinking theologically about youth ministry (Zondervan 2001) and Way to Live: Practicing our faith with youth (Upper Room 2002). Interviews and profiles of his work have appeared in the national American media, and there has been increasing interest in his work in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
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He talks about how to facilitate a group that allows God to be the centre, the initiator of ideas, and encourages the young people to fully express themselves.
I particular appreciated the approach of 'being' rather than 'doing', of enjoying the presence of Jesus and young people. Of not feeling the responsibility to 'go' anywhere but of opening yourself to Him and the young people.
This 'contemplative' approach is not new but is interesting as it is adapted as an approach to Youth Ministry.
Overall, a useful but not must-read.
It is an absolute must for those involved in christian youth work, as it seeks to do away with the trappings of activity from which most christian youth work and youth workers gets their worth. Instead it focuses on introducing young people to the presence of Jesus - which is what I now hope to do.
Buy this book - worth every penny.