A Culture of the Spirit

The EYM research discovered that it is the pervasive sense of the living, active presence of God at work among the people of the whole congregation, at work in its youth ministry, at work through the ministries of the congregation in the world, and at work with a passion that all peoples will have life and salvation that characterize these churches. It is the exemplary congregations’ communal celebration and practice of the Spirit of God that permeates all the values, relationships and practices that gives rise to an “atmosphere,” a “culture of the spirit” focused on mission and the transformation of life.

Can it be that the prime issues in exemplary youth ministry are as much theological and strategic as they are matters of practice?  EYM findings point in this direction. It seems that the commitments and practices regarding the nature and activity of God and the nature and activity of the church as she participates in the life of God, the body of Christ and the world that make the critical difference in these ministries with youth of vital faith.

The genius of these churches seems best described as something systemic, something almost mysterious. A “culture of the Spirit” emerges with its pervasive and distinct dynamics and atmosphere that is more powerful than its component parts. It’s the unique combination of the theology, core values, people, relationships, expectations, mores, activities etc. that seems to generate this a dynamic and atmosphere, thus pointing to a “culture of the Spirit” as a uniquely helpful image in understanding these exemplary ministries with youth.

–Dr Roland Martinson

In addition to his chair in Children, Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary, Rollie was the team leader of the Exemplary Youth Ministry study.  He currently serves as Luther’s Academic Dean.

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