Featured Reviews, VOLUME 6

Andrew Root – Four Books on Theology and Youth Ministry [Part 2]

Page 2: Andrew Root – Four Books on Theology and Youth Ministry [Part 2]


Root does a great job of connecting biblical stories with the issues he brings up about mission. I cannot stress enough how impressed I am by Root’s ability to get to the heart of theological issues in the midst of ordinary church ministry. Through the context of a frequent occurrence, the short term mission trip, Root reflects about the deeper theological concept of “mission.” He extrapolates that mission trips should not be just about kids “getting” something out of an impoverished area without encountering their humanity (Unlocking Mission, 19). Instead, young people should recognize their actions as participating in the work of God; mission is something God does (Unlocking Mission, 112). And since God chooses the cross as the place he acts (book 2), we participate not by bringing the resurrection to others, but by participating in the nothingness and pointing toward the possibility of resurrection (Unlocking Mission, 78). I’m not doing justice to the very nuanced and complex doctrine Root brings the reader in a comprehendible way; he connects the resurrection with the reality of a Trinitarian God, God’s Shekinah glory, and Sabbath rest, just to name a few.


*** [easyazon-link keywords=”Andrew Root” locale=”us”]Other Books by Andrew Root[/easyazon-link]

Although these doctrines are clearly Root’s “theological rocks” (atonement, revelation of Scripture, mission, eschatology, etc.) I am sure he would agree that it is not an all encompassing treaty of every theological issue that will come up in ministry! However, by giving us these examples, Root allows us to extrapolate and consider other theological doctrines that might have bearing on our church contexts. Book four ends with a student asking about the Holy Spirit, which would probably be wishful thinking to hope Root plans to write something similar again. Ultimately, any youth minister or adult volunteer who works with youth would benefit from having these books on their shelves. Perhaps Root might even persuade any non-theologically inclined readers to pick up Jurgen Moltmann or Karl Barth! (who are both referenced frequently in the footnotes for further reading).


In the words of Nadia: “This maddening theological journey I’ve been on has tripped me up again! Can’t I do anything in ministry without being thrust into contemplation?” (Unlocking Mission, 15). Thankfully, Andrew Root makes the theological journey for those in ministry a joyful maddening contemplation!



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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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