My former professor Don Browning defined practical theology as “critical reflection on the church’s dialogue with Christian sources and other communities of experience and interpretation with the aim of guiding its action toward social and individual transformation.” Sacred Playgrounds is a practical theology project that Browning would have admired. Jacob Sorenson seamlessly weaves together theology, church history, scripture, and empirical research about the impacts of Christian summer camp on campers.
The book contains two complementary arguments: the Christian summer camp experience makes multiple measurable impacts on campers, and camping ministry deserves attention from academic scholars. The research supporting the project is impressive. During the summers of 2015 through 2019, Sorenson’s team surveyed more than 7,000 campers at over 35 Christian camps across the United States and Canada.