Theology, as a basic definition, is “the study of God and God’s relation to the world“. As a Christian, we view everything through that lens of discovering God’s relationship to everything. Youth ministry is no different.

Youth ministry is no longer seen as “glorified babysitting”. Youth leaders would rarely call it that. (Some parishoners may have subconsciously viewed it as such.) However, in the last few years, the connection between theology and youth ministry is deepening. In 2011, Andrew Root and Kenda Creasy Dean expounded this notion in The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry.

This isn’t about teaching theology in youth ministry (although it’s vital to help students see God in relation to their world). This is understanding what is the theology of youth ministry itself, the purpose and relationship between God and this particular corner of the world (the demographics, the context, the circumstances).

While your theology of youth ministry may not be as eloquent as the great theologians like Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer or CS Lewis, formulating it gives clarity to this calling God has brought you in. After all, if theology is the study of God and his relation to the world, you’re part of it.