Augsburg News

News Archives - 1996

Augsburg to offer new major in youth and family ministry

Academic departments will team with resources of Youth & Family Institute

Dec. 28, 1995

Responding to the crucial and growing needs of youth and families in church congregations, to young people's desire to serve others and to its own commitment to education for service, Augsburg has approved a new academic major in youth and family ministry, making it only the second Lutheran college (ELCA) in the nation to offer such an undergraduate degree.

Students majoring in youth and family ministry will take interdisciplinary coursework in theology, Bible, education and social sciences. The major will also combine practical and theological training, using the resources of the Augsburg Youth and Family Institute and its partner congregations, said Institute Executive Director Richard Hardel. Students will have the opportuntity to do internships at the approximately 50 Twin Cities-area congregations that are partners with the Institute.

"Many young people are searching for meaningful ways to serve others through the Church, without necessarily becoming a pastor," Hardel said. "I am pleased and excited that Augsburg has approved this new major in youth and family ministry.

"The new major meets important needs," he added. "It shows that Augsburg College is responding to the needs of congregations in the area of youth and family ministry. It prepares people for careers of service in the Church. Students who graduate from this major will have the opportunity to shape the faith and lives of many young people."

The new major will be offered beginning with the 1996 fall semester. Prospective youth and family ministry majors must apply for and be accepted into the program. Graduates would typically become directors of youth or youth and family ministry in congregations. Augsburg is working with Luther Seminary in St. Paul to articulate course-credit sharing with the seminary's graduate program in youth and family ministry.

The Augsburg Youth and Family Institute was founded in 1987 by Dr. Merton Strommen, whose idea was to develop conceptual models of effective youth and family ministry based on research. The Institute provides consultation, training and resources for volunteers and professionals in youth and family ministry.

For more information, contact Hardel at the Augsburg Youth and Family Institute, phone: (612) 330-1624, e-mail: or visit the Augsburg department website: