The mission of the Yale Youth Ministry Institute at Yale Divinity School is to promote adolescent faith and flourishing in a diverse and changing world by conducting scholarship, equipping leaders, and resourcing collaborative communities in and beyond Christian churches.
Statement of need:
Too many of our churches and our young are struggling. Too many of our denominations and congregations are struggling because they are failing to transmit the faith to rising generations, and too many of our young are struggling because they lack the relationships, practices, attitudes, orientations and foundations of the faith that were traditionally formed in “communities of flourishing” supported by congregations. These two dynamics, the trajectory of struggling churches and the trend of struggling youth, are related – and neither of them will be resolved until we deepen the faith, commitment, and professionalism with which we minister to our young. When our Christian communities provide our young with the nurture and formation our young need and deserve, they lay the foundations of flourishing lives of faith, resilience, love, and joy. When we do not – because we’ve set other priorities, or don’t mobilize the resources, or undervalue the importance of these ministries – we set a stumbling block before our children. The consequences of this neglect are calamitous for both the churches and the children that we know and love.
YMI provides outreach, training and lifelong learning programming at Yale Divinity School for Miroslav Volf’s Yale Center for Faith and Culture (the “Center”) and its Adolescent Faith and Flourishing Program (“AFF”). The Center and its AFF conduct original scholarship and programming that critically examine and promote practices of faith which advance authentic human flourishing and the global common good. Drawing on this scholarship, the collective 30 years of youth ministry experience of YMI’s leadership, and the fruits of a research, publication, and lecture collaboration of more than 80 practical theologians and youth ministers, YMI equips leaders, partners with churches and community organizations and resources collaborative learning communities through on-campus lectures, symposia and classes and online lectures, interviews and courses.