Podcast: The Past, Present and Future of Youth Ministry Research

1 December 2021

How do you start youth ministry research from scratch when there is hardly any theological research tradition and academic knowledge base in the field of children and youth in your context?  

Investing in research on children and youth

In this episode of the Faith in Youth - podcast a conversation with Professor Marcel Barnard, a professor of Practical Theology at the Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam. He is the director of the OJKC, the Dutch Research Centre for Youth, Church and Culture. In this role, he has been involved in many academic theological researches and publications regarding youth and youth ministry.

In this podcast you will hear conversations on starting youth ministry research; how do you start youth ministry research from scratch when there is hardly any theological research tradition and academic knowledge base in the field of children and youth in your context? Marcel Barnard describes the start of the OJKC and the process of investing in research on children and youth in liturgical and other faith practices, peer-learning in small groups and how children ‘learn’ about faith. Of course you will hear some of the findings of these researches, in particular the one on identity formation of orthodox-Reformed youth.

Topics in youth ministry research

Other topics in this podcast are the relation of theology and empiric sciences in youth ministry research and what colours the theological dimension in this kind of research, the role of normativity and the contribution of children and young people to theology. Also in this podcast, you hear thoughts on the future of youth ministry and future topics on the agenda of youth ministry research. 

Also in this podcast dr. Ronelle Sonnenberg. She is the regular guest in this podcast. Ronelle Sonnenberg is an assistant professor at the Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam as well and youth ministry is her main field of research. In this podcast you will get to know her als co-worker of our guest Marcel Barnard, as she is also part of the team at the OJKC.

Co-host is dr. Christian Noval. He is a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in Denmark. Christian Noval is also working at the catechetical center of the Diocese in Copenhagen and board member of the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry.

The Faith in Youth-podcast is hosted by Ron Becker, research co-ordinator at the OJKC.

Reference is made to this article: 

  • De Kock, A., Sonnenberg, P.M., Renkema, E. (2018), ‘Normativity in empirical youth ministry research’, in: Journal of Youth and Theology 17 (2), 81-103. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/24055093-17021047.

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