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Mike on Bonhoeffer and LaCygne


I recently read Andrew Root’s book entitled Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together. The book focused on the reality that Dietrich Bonhoeffer spent all of his adult vocational life either practicing youth ministry or writing about theology using examples from children, youth and youth ministry experiences. Bonhoeffer has become one of the most beloved, admired, respected and researched theologians and ministry practitioners from the last two hundreds years.

In Root’s book, he explores Bonhoeffer’s ministry practices for the spiritual formation of children and young people. As I was reading particularly about Bonhoeffer’s ministry practices with teenagers and young adults, I was astonished at how similar our ministry practices at LaCygne are. In fact, reading about Bonhoeffer’s approach to a ministry of life together embracing the cost of discipleship, I felt a deep sense of affirmation that what is happening at LaCygne is truly profound and focused on creating the right environment for young adults to discover their own faith through a decision to follow Jesus Christ in a way that is stripped of emotional manipulation and coercion.

The emphasis on a rhythm of prayer was also at the core of Bonhoeffer’s life together with the students in his life and places he engaged in ministry. Bonhoeffer’s practice of theological reflection and dialogue over the realities we face in our lives with a desire to make meaning in our lives is also a common theme at LaCygne. While this kind of youth ministry focus is so far removed from an emphasis of hype energized camps held on beaches featuring big name bands and celebrity speakers, I think it is what is drastically needed in youth ministry in the US if we are going to be teaching and discipling young people to obediently walk in the way of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At LaCygne we place a strong value and emphasis on incorporating the Psalms and scripture into the prayer practice rhythms we engage in. Spending significant time reading scripture texts and praying using scripture, particularly the Psalms, is vital to genuine Christian formation. Bonhoeffer wrote, “The child learns to speak because the parent speaks to the child. The child learns the language of the parent. So we learn to speak to God because God has spoken and speaks to us. In the language of the Father in heaven, God’s children learn to speak with God. Repeating God’s own words, we begin to pray to God. We ought to speak to God, and God wishes to hear us, not in the false and confused language of our heart but in the clear and pure language that God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ.”

I believe that what is happening at Youthfront LaCygne is very important for the national dialogue in the church about what it means to practice youth ministry today. LaCygne is a place where Christian parents should encourage their teenagers to attend.

Mike King



You can register for Youthfront LaCygne here.

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