What is Public Church?
A public church is a local congregation deeply engaged in working as a partner for the common good in its particular locale. A public church is an intergenerational faith community intentionally developing practices that engage the entire faith community (particularly its youth) in discerning and participating in God’s work in their neighborhood. Sometimes this work will look like service, sometimes it will look like worship, sometimes it will be art, and sometimes it will be prophetic. It will always begin with deep listening out in the public square for the common good.
Why is it necessary?
Christ enters our world for the sake of the world and Christ calls us into the world. Discipleship is the active process of learning how to follow Christ into the world. If we want our young people to have faith in a loving, active, powerful and present God, then we need to engage them in this dynamic process of discipleship “on the fly”; learning to discern and proclaim the presence of Christ in our community while simultaneously learning to discern and proclaim our collective and individual call(s) to serve our neighbor.
What is the Youth and Public Church Initiative?
The Youth and Public Church Initiative (YPCI) is a collaborative of advocates for youth who believe the best form of discipleship is an intergenerational faith community deeply engaged and active in the public square for the common good. We are working together to identify and lift up the knowledge, skills and sensibilities needed to lead the church out into the public square for the sake of our youth and our neighborhoods.
How will the YPCI do this?
We will accomplish this through our academic programs and a series of other projects.
- Youth and Public Church Fellows – A two-year program that will create a cohort of youth ministry practitioners. This cohort will come together to study and explore the theology, theory and practice of the public church. Each fellow will work with a team from his or her congregation to implement a strategy that will lead their congregation into creating more public expressions of faith.
- Youth and Public Life Colloquium – A interdisciplinary group of professors and students coming together quarterly to discuss and research the young person’s role in public life.
- Youth and Public Church Symposium – An annual lecture series hosted by Augsburg’s Youth and Public Church Initiative and Youth and Family Ministry program on themes related to youth and public church.
- Youth Leadership Team Trainings – Quarterly half-day trainings offered for high school youth who have leadership roles within their congregations.
- Ministry Houses – We will work in partnership with congregations in the Twin Cities to establish and host residential training programs for college students, alums and seminary students interested in ministry. This program will be modeled after the Lutheran Volunteer Corp and students will work with local congregations that are committed to the vision of being a public church with and for its youth.