The Theory of Youth Ministry

We have theories of education,  of adolescent development, of groupwork, of faith development.

We have ecclesiology, theology, missiology,

We know the history, purpose and community of the local and universal church,

So whats the theory of youth ministry?

It does involve groups, education, local church, adolescent development, but it also seems to involve subcultures of music, festivals, large gatherings, and an odd adherance/connections/ pathways to another group, that is the group of adults known as ‘real church’. Where they are also educated, inspured and collectively gathethered in ceremony,  sacrament and decision making.

What proof is there that is tried and tested that suggests that youth ministry has a universal theory? Or is that a myth?

Given the changing factors, it would be hardly surprising that there isnt one, and that it would then be down to the individual in the specific context to shape work, but do so not from a theoretical framework but a practice / experience one, or one cobbled together from all the other theories going ( such as the above) added to that the complexities of expectation and ecclesial position of the local church/management group and all of a sudden the potential theories do go out of the window, usurpped by the ‘everyones been a young person’ syndrome. (Its like the everyone could be a better england manager syndrome but without an alf ramsey to be the ultimate burden, though do things like Soul Survivor have the same effect?)

whereby often then its the youth minister that leaves the position, because the academic understanding carries far less weight that local expectation and direction. However without a tested theory, the youth minister has little to rely on aside from experience.
So – open question- if Youth ministry needs a theory – its not just about ‘what works’ but what is its theory?  And if it doesnt have a theory – what is Youth Ministry at all?
Without a theory is it just a label, a culture or a myth to be maintained with organisations, publications, resources and materials , festivals and books keeping it, whatever it is, going.
If the local church drives the local youth ministry – then what is the theory of the local church ministry? should one not outwork from the other, and can it be proven anyway?

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