Atlanta 2021: Call for Papers

Engaging With the Prophetic Voices of Young People

In Acts 2, Jesus’ friends are emboldened by the Spirit to leave their locked room and engage the market place.  There they find a wildly diverse community gathered – and the sudden, miraculous ability to speak different languages. Peter quotes Joel’s prophecy:

…I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
and your young shall see visions,
and your elders shall dream dreams.

The IASYM 2021 conference will gather in the city of Atlanta, the heartland of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement – a spiritual movement seeking justice, guided in dialogue with the black Church and the visions of young people.  Today, we find ourselves surrounded by the voices of young people, calling us all to attend to the injustices of the world.  From student-led demonstrations in support of democracy and human rights to their call for climate action to world leaders … our sons and daughters are prophesying, and our young see visions – often outside the context of traditional religious structures and faith-informed contexts.  

When the voices of young are raised in the public square, many questions are relevant for youth ministry. How can youth ministry research contribute by creating opportunities for the voices of young people to be in dialogue with the wider Christian community and faith tradition? How should we engage with young people’s search for justice and change in the context of God’s mission in the world? How can we bring together the prophetic voices of the young and the dreams of the elders? Taking a cue from the inspiration of Pentecost and the legacy held by our host city, this conference will invite presentations that interact with this theme. 

We also invite papers on other themes that meet the IASYM’s stated aim to further the academic study and research of youth and youth ministry to raise the profile of youth ministry as a calling, career and/or professional enterprise, and to encourage the reflection on youth ministry and academic disciplines that will support the practice of youth ministry. These papers could come from a sociological, practical theology, systematic theology or historical perspective. 

In the program there will be space for different kinds of presentations:

• Keynotes in plenary sessions

• Research Papers presentations of original research in adolescent, youth and young adult ministry submitted by conference delegates. In each session, a prepared response and group discussion will follow the presentation.

• Emerging Research sessions provide an opportunity to share ‘works-in-progress’ and developing thoughts as well as completed ideas not yet established in a formal paper. These sessions provide an opportunity for new or emerging researchers (whether engaged in formal study or as a thoughtful practitioner) to road-test ideas and receive feedback in a constructive environment.

• Alternative presentations. If you intend to lead your session in an alternative way (e.g. roundtable discussion, workshop, masterclass) please explain how you propose to do so and describe your rationale for the proposal.

Timeline for submissions

  • May 1st 2020: Deadline for proposals
  • July 1st 2020: Acceptance notification and feedback will be sent by the academic committee
  • November 15th 2020: Deadline for completed full-text paper submissions
  • December 15th 2020: The compendium with the submitted papers will be sent electronically to the conference participants.

Submission of proposals:

Proposal should be submitted to the academic committee not later than May 1st. Your proposal should include all of the following information:

  • Your full name and country of residence
  • Your e-mail address
  • Your academic background
  • Your institution
  • The title of your paper
  • The abstract (max 300 words). If relevant please include your methodology and bibliography
  • A qualification by answering: What do you believe this presentation will contribute to the conversation on youth ministry research?
  • Specify the category that your paper fits into (research paper, emerging paper or alternative presentation). If you propose an alternative presentation please specify how and why.

Please submit your proposal by e-mail to Before you submit ensure all of the above elements are included. You will receive a confirmation by e-mail within a few days.

The academic committee:

  • Rev. Dr. Christian Noval, Copenhagen, Denmark (chair)
  • Dr. Helen Blier, Pittsburgh, USA
  • Dr. Ruth Lukabyo, Sydney, Australia
  • Dr. Paul Kelly, Los Angeles, USA
  • Rev. Dr. Nathan Chiroma, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Rev. Dr. Nick Shepard, London, UK

Registration opening soon

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