Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture: Bridging Teen Worldviews and Christian Truth, By Walt Mueller

Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture

Bridging Teen Worldviews and Christian Truth

by Walt Mueller

Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Published: January 26, 2006
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3337
  • ISBN: 9780830833375

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Before we can reach today's youth with the truth of the gospel, we need to see what they see and hear what they hear. We need to catch the messages encrypted in their culture and understand what's really being communicated.

In Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture Walt Mueller, founder and president of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, helps us to navigate the troubling and confusing terrain of teen worldviews so that we can effectively and compassionately pass along good news: our God is their God, our Savior can be their Savior.

"Not only is this a must-read for ambassador parents, it's an excellent resource for any over-forty servant of Jesus."

Mitali Perkins, author of Ambassador Families: Equipping Your Kids to Engage Popular Culture

"We all agree that life is changing all around us, and changing fast. For those of us committed to introducing Jesus Christ to future generations, we have to stay on top of their thinking, their worldview and their very souls. To share the good news to a hurt and cynical community of students, we need to be trained in how to 'walk in their Athens,' and to connect with their stories. Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture is a valuable tool for just that--Walt Mueller not only encourages adults to be proactive in our care for the young, he equips us to come alongside of them with compassion. I recommend this book to all who seek to walk with kids in their Athens."

Chap Clark, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Youth, Family and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Walt Mueller offers a valuable tool to help us understand youth and youth ministry in today's world. Walt writes the same way he talks to those of us who know him--plain-speakng, reasonable, humble, understanding and insightful. Reading this book is like having an engaging conversation with a wise friend. I highly recommend it to you."

Paul Fleischmann, President, National Network of Youth Ministries, and Chairman, WEA Global Youth Commission

"Walt Mueller's years of experience from 'walking around' youth culture (see Acts 17:23), and his careful biblical observations, have made him one of the most respected voices in youth ministry today. With his stated intent of falling into neither trap of unrealistic optimism or unhopeful pessimism, Walt has given us a sobering, compassionate, informed and hopeful survey of adolescent culture that will be a real help for youth workers, parents, educators and anybody else who cares about teenagers. What I most appreciate about this book is not the thorough research--although it is supported by meticulous research. Nor is it the broad range of resources--although Walt's lively discussion invites comments from voices as diverse as Hans Rookmaaker (art critic), John Stott (theologian), Dave Matthews (rock musician), Christian Smith (sociologist) and the hundreds of teenagers whose hopes, haunts and hurts he has over the years carefully heard. No, what I most appreciate about this book is that this is not just a call to observe, to educate, to lament or to reimagine orthodox Christianity. It's a call to 'engage the soul' of youth culture with the historic gospel of Jesus Christ, and it's a call Walt Mueller fleshes out in full, thoughtful, vivid, articulate detail."

Duffy Robbins, Professor of Youth Ministry, Eastern University

"I agree that the generation of emerging young people come with a unique worldview. We must understand their mindset in order to most effectively get into their world and lead them toward the kingdom. Walt has done a great job encouraging us to remember the power and opportunity that Christians have to engage a young generation in a spiritual journey. He challenges us to look back at biblical history in order to be courageous enough to move forward with the task of reaching a lost and hurting generation."

Doug Fields, Pastor to Students, Saddleback Church, and President, Simply Youth Ministry

"Walt Mueller has emerged as a prominent voice, gracious yet powerful, concerning popular culture and its impact on adolescent thinking, behavior and worldviews. Walt takes seriously Paul's example of missional engagement in Athens in order to communicate a message that isn't easily dismissed as a blanket attack against culture. You may not agree with everything that Walt has to say, but it will make you think and help you navigate through the Mars Hill environments you find yourself in. In this book you will discover why so many of us working with young people look to Walt Mueller as a crucial resource for youth ministry."

Mike King, President, YouthFront

"The Chronicler describes the tribe of Issachar as 'men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.' Walt Mueller's wisdom, compassion and courage in Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture mark him as a twenty-first-century man of Issachar. If I had to recommend one book to adults seeking a contemporary understanding of youth culture in order to make an eternal difference in students' lives, this book would be my choice."

Rick Dunn, lead pastor, Fellowship Church, Knoxville, Tennessee, author of Shaping the Spiritual Life of Students and coeditor of Reaching a Generation for Christ

"To make a difference in a kid's life, we must become students of their culture. Walt Mueller does a great job of researching what we need to know about this generation and tells us how to best relate to them. I learned a lot from this book."

Jim Burns, Ph.D., President, HomeWord

"My work focuses on understanding faith and culture and interpreting each to the other. I am also a father of four. Nobody combines a passion for the next generation, deep faith, savvy about culture, and skill at relating faith and culture like Walt Mueller. Devour this thoughtful and practical book and you'll see why he's our best source of help for engaging the soul of the next generation."

Dick Staub, President of The Center for Faith and Culture (faithandculture.com), broadcaster and author of Too Christian, Too Pagan and Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters

"As parents, youth workers and teachers, we need every edge we can get to speak into the hearts of this generation. Walt Mueller's Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture has given us a great tool to help us understand today's culture and how to reach this generation with God's truth."

Bo Boshers, Executive Director, Student Ministries, Willow Creek Association

Mueller, a man whose finger is on the pulse of the postmodern generation and whose heart is deeply committed to the gospel. If you know young adults, Engaging is must reading; everyone who reads it will better understand what Christian faithfulness looks like in our pluralistic world.

critique, Year End 2007

Mueller listens to faith and culture and interprets each to the other in a way that builds bridges, not walls.

Christianity Today, November 2007

". . . An inspirational dialog . . . "

Outreach, March/April 2006

"Add [this book] to your Poor Youth Worker's Bible College bookshelf; it's packed. . . . Coming from Mueller, a high standard."

YouthWorker Journal, March/April 2006


1. Reality Bytes: Snapshots of a Crying and Dying Culture
2. There's Something Happenin' Here
3. Postmodernism: A Worldview Without a Center
4. Welcome to Their Jungle
5. Understanding Culture
6. Understanding Our Place in Culture
7. Getting Out of the Bunker
8. The Marks of the Twenty-First-Century Messenger
9. Paul's Mars Hill Ministry for Today
Will We Listen?
Names Index


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Walt Mueller

Mueller is founder and president of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding based in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He has his MDiv and a doctorate in ministry to postmodern generations from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He received an honorary doctorate from Geneva College in 2000.

Mueller speaks widely on matters of faith and youth culture at conventions, church seminars, training conferences, and public school groups. He speaks regularly on college and seminary campuses around North America, and he has taught courses at Geneva College, Briercrest College and Seminary, and North American Baptist Theological Seminary.

He has also written articles for publications such as Youthworker Journal, Living With Teenagers, New Man, Discipleship Journal, Group, Junior High Ministry, Today's Father, Youthworker Update, and Christian Camp and Conference Journal. His other books include Ministry to Families with Teenagers (Group, 1988) and the Gold Medallion winner Understanding Today's Youth Culture (Tyndale, 1995 and 1999).

Mueller is the host of Youth Culture Today, a syndicated daily radio feature heard on over 760 stations in the U.S. and Canada.

Visit the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.