Augsburg Fortress

Coming of Age: Exploring the Spirituality and Identity of Younger Men

Coming of Age: Exploring the Spirituality and Identity of Younger MenComing of Age: Exploring the Spirituality and Identity of Younger Men

What is the state of faith today among younger men in the church? How is the church responding to the spiritual needs of a new generation? Armed with these questions and many more, authors Roland Martinson, Paul Hill, and David Anderson conducted interviews with young men (ages 18-40) of differing life and faith experiences, and differing ethnic backgrounds in six regions of the U.S. This new book, Coming of Age, is based on the results of this study.

The study focuses on eleven factors that have an impact on the spiritual journeys of young men and offers practical advice to those who provide ministry to young men in the church. The health and vitality of the ELCA and other mainline denominations depends, in part, on keeping young men engaged in faith development and in connecting faith to life issues.

The first section of the book introduces the results of the survey and provides a theological, biblical, and sociological vision for ministry to men, as well as observations about the current scene. The second part of the book targets each of the key factors observed in the study. Young men and those who minister with and to them can explore these factors together and discover ways to enrich their personal faith journeys and the whole community of faith.

  • This item is not returnable
  • This product ships separately within 15 business days of placing your order
  • ISBN 9780806652245
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216
  • Publisher Augsburg Fortress
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Publication Date Dec 20, 2005


“Authors Anderson, Hill and Martinson have heard the voices of young men whose stories reveal depth of spirituality and the workings of faith. In our "feminized churches" these are the marginalized. This is not a critique of women's places in our ministries. It is a corrective to make room for those outside. Truth in love. Buy this book. Read this book. Pray through this book and for women and men to find their place in our churches again.”
— Pastor Michael Foss, Senior Pastor of Prince of Peace in Burnsville, Minnesota, author Power Surge, Real Faith for Real Life, and A Servant's Manual

"This book does an excellent job of presenting both the issues faced by younger men in their daily lives and spiritual journeys, and strategies congregations can use in walking with them. As the father of three younger men, I have experienced the struggles they face as they deal with questions around relationships, work and avocation, and spiritual hunger. These authors have provided ways for the church to take an aggressive approach to ministry with younger men through personal engagement and action, assisting them in working out the critical issues of their lives. If you are wondering 'where have all the young men gone?' from your congregation, this book is for you."
— Bishop Mark Hanson, ELCA

Coming of Age is a major contribution to the field of men's ministry from the evangelical, mainline church perspective. It is must reading for anyone who cares about young men- and reaching them for Christ.
—Doug Haugen, Director, Lutheran Men in Mission, the men's ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Coming of Age provides much needed information for the church regarding men and especially young men who are much less present in the pew than was the case just twenty years ago. We have in this book, reflective research identifying common themes based on the interviews of 88 young men from very different walks of life with suggestions as to how we can provide opportunities for young men to see God at work in the world and in the church. When young men live in a culture that focuses on self, work, sports, consumerism and personal experience suggestions are made as to how the church, can lift up forgiveness, repentance, sacraments and Holy Scripture. I recommend reading and reflection to pastors and lay leaders who wish to reach out the young men who are dropping away from the church in record numbers.”
— The Rev. Dr. Leonard H. Bolick, Bishop, North Carolina Synod, ELCA

Coming of Age by Anderson, Hill, and Martinson, is a 'must-read' for everyone who shares responsibility for shaping the theology, spirituality, and religious life of American men in their 20s and 30s. This qualitative study of the spiritual needs of 88 younger men who self-identify as Christian is an invaluable and timely contribution to what is surely the most under-researched area in religious studies. Bringing to voice these young men’s needs, hopes, and disillusionments, this study could be the beginning of a long overdue conversation between an aging institution and an invisible and misunderstood new future. Younger American men seek a church that is free from its patriarchal captivity, the feminization of American religion, and the historical distortions of muscular Christianity. Coming of Age is, in the end, a call for the church itself to come of age by embracing its responsibilities to future generations."
— Philip Culbertson, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at St Johns Theological College; Counseling Psychology at Auckland University; Psychotherapy at Auckland University of Technology; and has a private practice in psychotherapy.

"Coming of Age provides a much needed help in understanding younger men and their needs. I find the study especially helpful in identifying issues that are important for younger men and steps to minister effectively to those issues. A tremendous tool for men's ministry leaders.”
— Jim Gingerich, Coordinator, Mennonite Men, Mennonite Church

"Thank you for the opportunity to preview Coming of Age. I have read it several times and have found it to be the most important book on men's ministries that I have read in many years.

The authors show a real concern for the lost tribe of young men in the Christian community. To my surprise, they have set forth the idea that this 'lost tribe' is not really lost, since you cannot be lost to community to which you never belonged.

As the Christian Church has become feminized, the young men have felt lost in the shuffle and returned to the time honored resources of sports, nature, family, friends, work, and service, to nurture them on their spiritual journey. They seek life changing experiences to empower them to deal with stress, crisis, and conflict. They depend on the wisdom of older men to guide them in becoming the best men possible. Sadly, the church has not looked at itself to see what has been happening.

The authors move beyond asking, 'Where have all the young men gone?', to suggesting non-traditional ways that congregations might address the development of ministries for young men. With compassion, solid theological understanding, and great creativity, Coming of Age provides a guide for denominational leaders, pastors, Christian educators, and education committees that can not only renew men's ministries, but transform the Church as we know it.

To say that this book is important, is an understatement. It is challenge to the Christian community for change, renewal, and an increased commitment to be a transforming community where a new partnership is developed. Where a new equality between men and women is practiced. And a community where people are accepted where they are, as they are, and equipped for life in the real world. This book is a winner!

Thank you, again, for allowing me to be a part of bringing Coming of Age to print."
— Dr. Curtis A. Miller, Past-President of the North American Conference of Church Men's Staff and Former Associate of Men's Ministries, Presbyterian Church (USA)