Original Research - Special Collection: Yolanda Dreyer Festschrift

Decolonising youth ministry models? Challenges and opportunities in Africa

Shantelle Weber
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 4 | a4796 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i4.4796 | © 2017 Shantelle Weber | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 August 2017 | Published: 27 October 2017

About the author(s)

Shantelle Weber, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Anyone involved in youth ministry will be able to testify to the fact that no perfect youthministry model exists. Youth ministry models employed should consider the vision, missionand needs of the contexts in which they are to be used. Although not new, the term ‘decolonise’has become a prominent part of African discourses after the 2015 and 2016 student protests atvarious university campuses in South Africa. A strong call to decolonise theology and how wedo church has been included in these calls. Students have argued against a theology andecclesiology that is exclusively based on European and other international foundations. Mychallenge with all these discussions has been discerning the difference between decolonisationand contextualisation within theology. I have often wondered whether those calling for adecolonised theology are actually referring to problems connected to a theology that is notcorrectly contextualised. When I ask whether youth ministry models in Africa should bedecolonised, I do so in the awareness that these models have brought with them both challengesand opportunities for ministry on this continent. Youth ministry models employed in Africaneed to stem from the contextual situations and readings of the biblical text in which they findthemselves. This article is aimed at exploring the work of Scripture Union as a mission-basedyouth ministry model in Africa in view of the present call to decolonise theology.


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