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Being-together as a Basic Given: Finding New Ways in Youth Ministry in a Time of Transition

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Adolescence can be characterised as the process of finding the balance between the questions about identity (‘Who am I?’) and togetherness (‘Who am I with?’). The social environment of adolescents has a significant influence on this process. This environment, however, is in transition: from organisations to open networks with new forms of relationships and connections for adolescents. This transition also influences the field of youth ministry. This article considers the role small groups of adolescents can play in youth ministry in this changing social context. Based on qualitative research conducted amongst five small groups of adolescents, this article argues that togetherness is important through undirected being-together, based on emotional and affectual bonds. The results of this research are related to Maffesoli’s theory of tribalisation: being-together precedes formal organising. Being-together is a basic given and an important factor to consider in youth ministry.

Affiliations: 1: Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam ; 2: Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam VU University, Amsterdam University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


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