Central role of spiritual identity in youth ministry: integrating Henri Nouwen’s “Life of the Beloved.”
LE3 .A278 2022
Doctor of Ministry
Acadia Divinity College
The purpose of this study was to explore how Henri Nouwen’s understanding of spiritual identity as the “Life of the Beloved” can be helpful in youth ministry. In the research, there were fourteen participants who were youth pastors from the Canadian Baptist of Ontario and Quebec Denomination. This study was conducted at a one-day retreat where Nouwen’s four movements of “becoming the Beloved” were presented over two sessions. After each session, the participants were divided into three focus groups. The focus groups were given open-ended questions to discuss the value of Nouwen’s concepts in youth ministry. Qualitative results indicated that Nouwen’s “Life of the Beloved” is important and significant in youth ministry. Nouwen’s “Life of the Beloved” has the potential to help in the shift in youth ministry to spiritual formation as it was found to be important in the spiritual identity of youth pastors and their youth. It is valuable as it can help remind them of their spiritual identity as the beloved children of God, which is fundamental to who they are.
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