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From a ministry for youth to a ministry of youth: aspects of Protestant youth ministry in Sydney, 1930-1959
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 20:30 authored by Ruth Lukabyo
In this history of Protestant youth ministry in Sydney, the years 1930-1959 are shown to be a time when significant changes occurred in the way that ministry to youth was conducted.There was a new methodology, a change from a ministry for youth to a ministry of youth. The change came about because of the impact of war and depression, the development of secondary education, the resurgence of Conservative Evangelical theology, the creation of new institutions and the influence of key individuals. This new methodology had certain characteristics which can be seen in ministries in the university, schools and local parishes. It nurtured the leadership of young people and gave them agency. It formed peer groups where young people constructed a robust Christian identity and every member was encouraged to be active in fellowship and witness. It moved towards a co-educational model that fostered a partnership between young men and women. This thesis identifies two different streams of youth ministry, Conservative Evangelical and Liberal Evangelical. The streams used the same methodology, but had different ultimate goals.The Conservative goal was revival through evangelism, and the Liberal was the nurture of Christian character and the Christianisation of civilisation. After the war, the Conservative stream came to predominate. This new model of youth ministry, especially in the Conservative stream, was effective in surviving the challenges of war and heterodox theology. After the war, it flourished, and in the Billy Graham Crusade the fruit of the model is evidenced by the extensive engagement of youth and the many young people who made ‘decisions’ to commit their lives to Christ and the church. The success of this model may help to explain why, despite the challenge of secularisation in the mid-1960s, youth ministry in Sydney is still vibrant today.