June 2010 Archives

Missioners conference 2

The input at the mission conference is being provided by Professor Paul Weston who is both cool and learnéd in equally copious amounts. He's using the work/writings of Bishop Leslie Newbiggin to frame our musing and learning, and an apt basis it is too.

The last time I went to a conference anything like this was when I took myself off to the Evangelists conference in 1996 despite having neither a marquee, a soapbox or a megaphone. I went solely to hear Leslie Newbiggin and will be forever grateful that I did.

Bishop Leslie, having returned from years in India, had a different cultural perspective (as well as practice at cross-cultural mission and contextual theology) to unpack both the culture of England (particularly Post modernity) and the culture of the church.
He opened my eyes to cross cultural understanding, changes in our own culture regarding Post-modernity ... and why I found it so hard to 'fit' within Christianity as it was being taught and understood in evangelicalism at that time. He introduced me to the idea of worldview, ministry in a pluralistic context .... and that theology was a journey not a fixed entity. All of which began to change and shape the way I saw Youth ministry and in fact myself as a Christian.

Paul Weston refers to people who have been an important part of the conversation on the way to who and where we are, Leslie Newbiggin would be one of the key 'conversations' for me.

Anyway, Paul layed out his stall this morning and we will be exploring three strands of Newbiggins work to allow us to explore and reflect on our context, these being:

1. Reading Culture
2. Indwelling
3. Local congregation as the hermeneutic of the gospel

We've had session 1. but I need more time to condense the session into something bloggable.

Traverser la Rue


passage.jpgIf I am to survive my time in France I need some urgent advice about crossing roads! I strolled into town after lunch for un cafe at le cafe but experienced some difficulty in getting from one pavement to the other.

There are zebra crossings or whatever the French might call them (passage du noir et le cheval blanc?). However standing hopefully and purposefully at one side looking very much like one would wish to cross has no effect at all on the flow of traffic. Thus it would seem that the only option is to step purposefully out as an indicator that the traffic should stop. It's a good theory BUT it doesn't necessarily mean that the traffic coming immediately towards you will in fact stop ... and even if it does this seems to pretty much guarantee that the traffic coming the other way won't. As you reach the middle the traffic that has (if indeed it has) stopped, sets off once more and you find yourself perilously trapped in the middle. Even this would be ok-ish if the middle was a definite concept on French roads but it appears not to be, the French viewing any available space as a legitimate way forward!

There is a charming redeeming feature though in that if you nearly get run over, or if as a pedestrian you cross inappropriately , it all seems to just elicit a cheery wave and a kind of c'est la vie ... or as it more accurately feels, ... c'est la mort.

The spirit of Asterix and the Gauls is very much alive me-thinks.
Advice appreciated

Put yourself in the way of some great learning

If you are within the gravitational pull of Oxford then flick your 'diary'* forward to September and look at the 1st and 2nd. CMS are hosting two "Digging Deeper" days, one with Dave Andrews (the 1st) and one with Mark Yaconelli (the 2nd).
Dave will be exploring Growing Radical, Rooted, Distinctive Community work, whilst Mark will be tackling, Wonder, Fear, and Longing: Tending the Adolescent Soul.

You'll find the flyer here and you do need to book!

yac n dave.jpg

* I'm using 'diary' here as a catch-all and mean whatever your personal experience, expression or belief regarding chronological recording is, be that literal or figurative, traditional or of a newer age.

**Bizarrely I gleaned this info from Johnny Bakers blog this morning even though he is in fact sitting a few feet away.

Missioners conference

I'm on my way to France, to a place at Merville, to the 'Missioners Conference' which I'm really really looking forward to.

I can't believe I'm actually going as I was so ill over the weekend and Monday but the doctor has prescribed some window-sill mould and although I am still not feeling 100%, I'm considerably better than the 1.63% I was. Frustratingly though La folding velo is still in Oxford so cyclisme is une big fat non!

The conference is asking the question (and exploring implications and opportunities) of
'Church? Domestic Chaplaincy or Missional Launch Pad' I understand that Le internet is available via what the French call Wiffy so I will endeavour to share some of the discourse.

Football reflections

Despite the national disappointment it 's good to hear that humour abounds as a kind of cathartic reaction. Two favourites so far:

Why did the chicken cross the road?
well, according to FIFA ... it didn't

... and breaking news, the flight the English team are on is being diverted to Glasgow where they will receive a heroes welcome!

Captains log supplemental:Arrived via e mail

Oxo are launching a new range of cubes this week - white with red crosses on them.
They will be called laughing stock

John the Baptist

I'm doing an 'all age' talk at a Church on Sunday to celebrate their Patronal festival. The readings being Acts 13:14-26 and Luke 1:57-66 & v80. I'm playing around with the idea of signposting and thus John pointing to Jesus BUT am open to some international Blog creativity if you are up for a collaborative sermonette here.

Amusing me is that I am preaching in an Anglican church about it's patron saint, John the Baptist and I'm hoping we'll say the creed indicating a belief in the catholic and apostolic church. I thought this is a GOOD pointer to unity and the Kingdom.

Youth Ministry Job

Youth Ministry-esque Job! May be of interest (Si, HOPE you are reading this)

Job opportunity at Tearfund:

Can you use digital communications to mobilise a young generation? Are you passionate about equipping young disciples for lifestyles that challenge poverty and injustice? Are you creative, innovative, and committed?

Tearfund's Youth & Emerging Generation team are looking for a Digital Communications Developer. You will have in-depth knowledge of the latest digital trends and proven experience of mobilising people through digital communications. You'll be full of initiative and be able to demonstrate your creativity and innovation.

If you're passionate about Jesus, passionate about justice, passionate about digital communication and social media, and passionate about equipping an emerging generation with lifestyle actions, then please apply.
Details, salary, contacts etc here and here
Interviews will be held on 23 July
Youth & Emerging Generation Team

Acts of Sandalism

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Loving this stealth art in the Style of Mr Banksy but sculpting in builders sand instead, fab!

sandfoot temp sculpture.jpg

Article here

Youth Ministry Job

Am posting a job advert as per a request ....

Northwich & Winsford Circuit requires a part time qualified Christian Youth Worker to develop and initiate community outreach.

Salary: Point 8 JNC Youth & Community Support Scale
16 hours per week equating to £7,832 p.a.

Working with the Circuit Team the main aims are to provide outreach opportunities to churched and non churched young people (11-25) to provide activities and to help them explore and develop their Christian Faith.

Closing date for applications is 5th July

Contact: Miss A Rowlands. Telephone 01606 550791. Email: [email protected]

Date for the diary Midlanders

Mark Yaconelli will be in Birmingham

1st Sept 2010
'Tending the Adolescent Soul'

National Bike Week

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It's national bike week and I've been doing my bit here to promote cycling to my fellow cave dwellers at church house in Oxford. A local bike shop kindly agreed to come in and do a 'check n tweek' on peoples bikes, I provided a few drinks and some bikes (including a unicycle) and a rather fun and useful lunch hour ensued with a goodly number of bikes inspected and usefully tuned. On Friday I'm leading a lunchtime pedal to the pub, so it's all good!

Enormous thanks to Warlands (THE best bike shop in Oxford)

Engaging teens in discussion 2


What follows below is a reposting of an article from 2008 but with a Jolly Good reason!
Jacob and Brian kicked this off with a great posting on 'how to get teens talking' and listing ideas and techniques that work to engender conversation and discussion. I added some more and it proved, I'm told, quite useful!

So I want to flag up the new 10 that Brian and Jacob have added, which you'll find here. Then re-post the original post and links meaning that there are around 30 creative, tested and useful ideas in one place.

teenchatoutsidegroup.jpgJacob and Brian over at Re-thinking Youth Ministry have posted a list of 10 ways they use to enable discussion with teenagers. They are:

1) The Continuum
2) Hypotheticals
3) Graffiti wall
4) Fishbowl
5) Vote
7) Images
8) Talk Partners
9) Role Play
10) Talk Tokens

If you want the fuller explantations then click through to their post.

I use lots of the above strategies but thought I'd try and throw some additional thoughts, ideas and suggestions into the mix!

11) Build Trust: Remember you can't instantly have deep discussion. Use a 'Throw and Tell Ball' or the like, start with discussions that are low key and non threatening but demonstrate you are interested and listening. Know if you are working with teens there will be off-the-wall mad questions ... and how you handle these is a test of whether discussion really is safe or not. (see also the Bosworth Googly)

12) Stick it notes: I'm a big fan of stick-it-notes and find that teenagers are very happy to scribble individually or in groups on stick it notes. The notes mean that young people who don't like speaking out in a group feel more comfortable and/or there can be a degree of anonymity. You can also divide up a response really easily by say people sticking their responses/questions/thoughts to either the 'Agree' or 'Disagree' sides of something.

13) The neutralised Question: How might 'someone in your class' at school or 'someone in church' answer that.

14) Making Stuff: Asking for a creative response, give out pipe-cleaners or plasticine and invite teens to make something that represents how they feel about the given issue!

15) Their questions driving the discussion: Build trust, introduce the topic and ask them to write the questions that will form the discussion (let them do this anonymously .... oh and you may want to encourage them to write 'open' questions not 'closed')

16) Overturn Fear of getting it wrong: You have to work hard at creating the idea that discussion is cool, that you are not using questions to arrive at the 'right' answer. That the discussion is genuinely important in and of itself.

17) You don't have all the answers: When teens know that you don't have all the answers and there are questions you are wrestling with it can be really freeing

18) Environment: Think about the environment in which you are discussing. If it feels like school they'll respond acordingly. Work hard too at taking out the power dynamics (eg not sitting higher than the group, being part of the group not removed from it etc)

19). The debate: Randomly divide the teenagers up into, for example, 'support' and 'Oppose' groups on a particular issue. They have to argue their position regardless of their personal conviction on the issue. This can be quite liberating and lead to a great discussion of the issue without anyone feeling vulnerable about their own position or thoughts.

Please add your thoughts/ideas via the comments!

10 Great blogs and yours


I had an e-mail out of the blue this morning from a blog author pointing me to a list he'd written of 10 GREAT blogs for Youth Ministers.

I'm sure the the irony of e-mailing bloggers who had not made the top 10 in order to promote the 10 who had (and more importantly I suspect (dya think?), the christian colleges website), was not wasted on the author ;-)

But here is the link in case you are looking for a 'really great' *ouch* youth ministry blog *laughing* and have stumbled here by mistake.

Filed under: Good for my humility :-) and thank you for making me chuckle!

The framing of summer

The longest day here is suitably beautiful to appropriately mark the tipping point into the slow contraction of available daylight. I felt no need to rush down to Stone Henge (especially having watched Dr Who, where it was visited by a plethora of Galactic nasties) but felt it should be marked here at bloghenge*

However the summer lies open before us and is wonderfully framed for me by two communal celebrations of life, faith and community. The first of these is Taize and the latter being Greenbelt. You are welcome to join the Taize trip (age restrictions apply) and I hope to see you at Greenbelt where I shall definitely be found listening to Milton Jones and Mark Yaconelli (seperately)!, or spending all my pocket money at the Tiny Tea Tent.

hengesolstice pic.jpg

* It's a little like Stone Henge in that this unique 'building' has stood here for many many years, and although no one knows exactly what it is for it has been recognised as having probable significance from both a religious point of view and because of the way it has been preserved.

Ok Go again

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oK Go are back with another witty & surreal video with feel good factor ... and a Goose!

Charitable Incorporated Organisations

If anyone is looking at setting up their youth work project etc as a charity then it is worth knowing about CIO's. Previously the best bet for project such as 'Nightstop' (that I was involved with) was to be a registered charity AND a company limited by guarantee. This new CIO would offer a very useful combined route (and require only one set of accounts)

Filed under: This will be REALLY useful to the small number of people it will be useful for

In search of disorganised religion

I enjoyed reading this review of a Grace service by Theo Hobson in the Spectator, I've no doubt that ageing youth, young (non vicarish) Johnny Baker has had enough teasing about the description so I'll not add to it :-) But the article has some interesting things to say and I quote the concluding lines ........

"What groups like Grace grasp is that though some people are turned off by organised religion, they still feel basically Christian: what they want is a new, disorganised style of religion, a postmodern shook-up version, full of irreverence and irony, and arty events. They want a new style of sacramentalism, that isn't steeped in authority. Now that the internet's here to stay, it's difficult to accept hierarchy any more -- religion must become open-source.

For the moment, the pioneers tread carefully -- the stylistic reinvention of an ancient religion is a slow and difficult process, with huge pitfalls -- but my hunch is that we should watch this space. God reconfigures his church in mysterious ways"

Further CRB and ISA info

I found this quite helpful

Further information for Registered Bodies and CRB customers ...

Devon and back

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I'm back on dry land having had the most amazing time Sea Kayaking off the North Devon coast. Rob from SeaKayaking South West was a great instructor and guide, patiently teaching, encouraging and leading on a couple of great paddles through stunning scenery.

seakayak exped.jpg

I no longer have a pair of sunglasses after screwing up what should have been a straightforward paddle back into an inlet through some minor rough stuff, doh! But I do have a great tan and a huge grin from a mind blowing couple of days.
The days were hugely varied, ranging as they did from spending time upside down in Ilfracombe harbour, exploring close shore rocks and then being a kilometre or more out to sea, the latter two I'm happy to say, the right way up.

I also have a whole bunch of techniques I really want need to practice :-)

seakayak beach view.jpg

LibCon put ISA on hold

One of the things I was not expecting to return from kayaking to, was the news that ISA has been put on hold. As there has already been one review to scale it back to appropriate levels I am very unsure where the, and I quote "common sense" level is but I shall watch with interest.

"Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May):
I am announcing today that the commencement of voluntary registration with the new Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which was due to begin on 26 July, will be brought to a halt as of today.

The Government has made clear its intention to bring the criminal records and Vetting and Barring regimes back to common sense levels. Until this remodelling has taken place, we have decided to maintain those aspects of the new Scheme which are already in place, but not to introduce further elements"

Further reading:Guardian article with some charities response


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I am disappearing off the radar for 48 hours as I am on an sea kayaking expedition involving an overnight camp somewhere along the North Devon Coast.
sea kayk grab.jpg
Whilst my laptop goes with me nearly everywhere this particular venture sounds a smidgeon laptop un-friendly; Whilst I'm very happy to explain a spot of water ingression to the IT department, 'total submergence' may be harder to carry off in a plausible and non fault related manner.

So, see you on Wednesday mes ami et mes amie.

Close encounters of the third kind

3rd kind.jpg

Whilst I was at a school fete I happened to get chatting to a couple of detached youth workers* and the subject of paperwork came up and they gave me a look see at their recording sheets. For each conversation they need to record some details and attribute a level of encounter from one to three. One being at the level of a brief conversational exchange through to three which would involve an outcome where a young person was taking action to challenge or change something.

Although I'm not wild about paperwork I am up for stuff that keeps us accountable to intentional youth work.

Filed under: Not sure where this one was going but I like the word intentional and i like the four bedrocks of youth workeryism:

Voluntary participation
Informal education
Equality of opportunity

*I'm wondering if this makes me a detached ,detached youth worker, worker?

Low and fast


My son H has inherited a love of cycling from me, either through nature or nuture, but most probably both. He is unable to ride a conventional bike but for the last few years the good folk at KMX have supplied urban assault vehicles for him that are a million miles from some of the truly awful special-needs bikes we have encountered (thankfully there are now also some great ones too).

hase shot alu.jpgH has outgrown his KMX though and we have been searching for an adult bike for him. The one that stood out as THE one was the German Kettwiesel built by Hase, a delta trike that handles and rides brilliantly. The BIG shock though was just how expensive they are and the quote we were given was eye wateringly large. So I started to hunt for a second hand one although they are rarer that hens false teeth. Incredibly though one came up for sale in North East Scotland even having the 'mountain drive' H would need to be able to get up and out of our estate. Despite the fact that the North East of Scotland is a long long long way away, it was too good a chance to miss it and I enquired excitedly ..... but sadly it had just been promised to someone else. I posted my details up on the Forum though and said I was still interested if the deal fell through.

In half term I got an e-mail from a really nice guy in Norfolk who'd bought the trike but decided that it wasn't right for him, asking if I was still interested. How cool is that? H and I only had to drive 150 miles each way to fetch it rather that the 1100 mile round trip to where it had been previously.

h on a hase.jpg

The bike is the wasps-nipples* and H loves it with a passion. Inevitably (for those who know H) there have been a couple of crashes. My favourite was the one where he lost it at speed flipped himself off and into a fence allowing the bike to both crash into him and ride over him. But we've been for some rides as a family and are thoroughly enjoying how much he is enjoying it. Fab. I actually like riding it too BUT H is very clear that I have my own bike! There is a cool trick you can do with a Kettwiesel though if you get more than one, you can convert them to a tandem or even multi-tandem SO watch this space :-)

* better than the bees knees

Over Schooled and Under Educated

Bishop Alan has written a review and reaction to the above book by John Abbott. I commend Alans article to you and hence probably the book.

"In 2007 UNICEF published Report Card 7, examining the health and wellbeing of children in leading Industrialized nations. It studied 40 indicators and the UK result, in the fifth richest country in the world, was stunningly poor. British children came bottom for family relationships, sexual and substance abuse, happiness and mental health. They came top for bullying, depression and suicide. They scored high for ignorance, too, in comparison with their peers abroad. After 4 years of the Every Child Matters initiative, reading attainment slumped from seventh to seventeenth place, mathematics from twelfth to twenty-fourth."

Back to future planning

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btf shot.jpg

A bit of long term planning means that June 2011 is the topic for presentation this morning.

So, if you are a Youth workery type (and practice in the Diocese) then scroll Outlook forward (or flick the Filofax pages) 12 months hence.

June 1st - 5th 2011 is the Kirchentag in Dresden and I'm interested in taking a party of youth ministers/workers from the Diocese. Up for it?

June 18th 2011: Will be a VERY important day on Children's and Young Peoples work in the Diocese designed to encourage, train and envision. The children's advisor (Yvonne) and I are very keen to benefit from a youth worker and a childrens worker being part of the creative thinking and planning. Up for it?

Taize Service

Taize_Cross small.gifThere is a Taize service at St Lukes in Maidenhead this coming Sunday at 6pm. I'm intending to go along.

There are still places on the Diocesan Trip for this year (July 24th - Aug 2nd) and if you are 15-30, you'd be more than welcome.

If you want me to come along to your group and talk Taize then please shout (actually may be better if you e-mail me just in case I don't hear the shout).

And at number 9


neufbottel.jpgNew definition of guilt induction: Making number 9 in the top 20 Youth Ministry blogs (and my teachers thought I wouldn't amount to anything) on the week when my contribution to the blogosphere is an advert and some wittering about a red car.

Joking aside though I am really chuffed to be in the list and am spurred on to push the very boundaries of theology, youth ministry and wood preservatives. Er Ok, erm ....

What shall I write about? over to you (this is the new request slot!)

(In the meantime I shall get on with scribbling my acceptance speech ready for when my invitation to the glitzy award ceremony arrives)

And where from here? Next year *maniacal laughter* I'm aiming for Number Eight, oh yes, that slot will be mine!


Youthwork conference

I can't find any details yet but the dates for the diary is Nov 19 - 21st and the web page is here.

I'm back


Apologies for the lack of blogging last week but I was off work and enjoying a *winces* (raises right hand of Irony) a ......... staycation. Ok, it's a terrible word but describes the week perfectly, a weeks holiday without actually going away. Having said that though there were numerous adventures and serendipitous happenings that all added up to make it a great holiday, further enhanced by the generous topping of sunshine and daylight that people seem to go to France to obtain. Various stories may emerge on the blog over the next few days in-between the MORE important blogging of youth ministry related issues.

One of the days involved heading off to a race track as my latest competition win* meant that I had the chance to drive a Ferrari 430 around a track in the Midlands. I thought it would be a kind of fun thing to do but I had in fact seriously underestimated just how mind blowingly awesome a Ferrari 430 turns out to be.

Reclining into the leather drivers seat of a blood red Ferrari convertible set the pulse racing before we even hit the track (not a phenomena I'd been expecting). That was nothing though compared to the sensory delight of finding just how extraordinary a Ferrari engine, brakes and handling are. The engine sang beautifully (just behind my head) and THEN once you got the revs up it leapt forward like a scalded cat ... strapped to an F15! A few flicks of the gear paddles and it was up to 120 mph on what was a shortish straight, we could probably could have gone faster but I was not keen to brake as late as my instructor wanted me to given the corner that seemed to be looming oppressively larger and larger in my vision. The track was a great series of corners including one chicane and the two straights, all great fun to pilot the Ferrari through. The three laps went by very quickly and contained some sublime moments, like overtaking a Lamborghini! But it was a very happy me that drove back into the compound and parked the 430 between two other Ferraris whilst wearing a grin several times larger than my face.


* If I see a competition I tend to enter it and over the years have won some really cool things (trip to America, £2000 bike, weekend away, watch etc) with this latest one being courtesy of Argos (thank you). The funny thing is every time I win a competition people say to me "I never win those things" to which I point out (not unreasonably I think) that that is because they don't enter.


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This page is an archive of entries from June 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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