In September of 2008, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled Contemplative Spirituality and the Emerging Church Come to Kansas Through YouthFront and MNU . This article is about an organization in Kansas called Youthfront. Youthfront is having a major impact in youth and is presenting contemplative spirituality as a legitimate belief system. The article also discusses Kansas’ MidAmerica Nazarene University, which is also a conduit for emerging/contemplative spirituality.
Currently, on the Youthfront website is a pdf “packet” that contains instructions on contemplative prayer (p. 6), including using a mantra-like word to get rid of distractions. Youthfront uses this material in their 2 day conferences for high school students.
Mike King, Youthfront president is the author of Presence-Centered Youth Ministry (also promoted by YouthFront), and in his book, he presents the classic contemplative/emerging teachings. The majority of the quotes and references in the book are by contemplatives such as Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Ignatius Loyola, and Brother Lawrence as well as emerging church leaders such as Tony Campolo, Robert Webber, Mike Yaconelli, Phyllis Tickle and more. In a chapter titled “Prayer Practices for Presence-Centered Youth Ministry,” King advises readers to practice exercises such as breath prayers, prayer ropes, Ignatius exercises, silence and solitude, making the sign of the cross, praying with icons, and more.
Two of Youthfront’s partners are Youth Specialties and Canada Fire (a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada).