Professor of Youth Ministry
Expertise: Adolescent culture and development; family dynamics; Christian education
At North Park since: 2002
Dr. Jim Dekker has worked with youth in the Christian community in a wide variety of capacities for decades. He first came to North Park, he says, to fulfill his passion: “To better equip those seeking to minister to youth.”
Because, as Jim says, “Youth ministry happens whenever God meets young people, through many contexts and relationships,” he teaches a variety of topics that influence the faith of adolescents. Several of his classes include firsthand experiences in the city or guest lectures from local youth leaders. “Our students spend time in various Chicago neighborhoods learning the social forces that impact the lives of urban young people,” he says.
Jim enjoys working directly with his students to help them determine a career path. “We partner with students in discerning their call to ministry and conceiving that in practical ways,” he says. “When students graduate from the program, they will have not only the skills and resources to conduct a ministry that they have been crafting here,” Jim says, “but an awareness of how to tailor that for different contexts.”
PhD, Educational Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
MA, Christian Education, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Bachelor of Theology, Tyndale University College, Toronto
“Resilience, Theology and the Edification of Youth: Are We Missing a Perspective?” The Journal of Youth Ministry vol 9, # 2 (Spring 2011): 67- 89.
“Integrating Worlds: Youth Ministry in the 21st Century.” Common Ground Journal vol 5, # 1 (Fall 2007): 11-20.
“Do Our High Schools Promote Spiritual Maturity?” The Christian Educators Journal vol 43, # 4 (April 2004).