Measuring Success

How do you measure the success of youthwork? The effects of good youth/community work spread out and have a wider impact than just the target group, especially when we are talking about God changing lives. But how do you quantify the success (if you wanted to). The current government have a bit of an obsession with targetting and monitoring but it does throw up some good stuff. Today in the Times (p20) is a report on the “On the streets” youth project in Manchester that has reduced crime on an estate by 70% which is a fantastic result. It’s definitely great to see youth work having such a dynamic impact for the whole community INCLUDING the young people (unlike ASBO’s).
I wonder if we need to be doing more work on measuring? I know that it’s more about being Salt and Light but quantifiable results are so encouraging …. hey and faith based work needs funding too.
There’s a fantastic Christian project in Woodley called “Just around the Corner” which is making a great impact, I wonder if it and others would benefit from more stats to prove it?

Greenbelt Festival

Fab last day at Greenbelt but was definitely missing having a youth group around. Couple of great youth work moments though: Randomly teaching a teenager I didn’t know to ride a unicycle (without success but with great fun) and bumping into two lasses from a camp earlier in the summer! Even cooler ‘cos they were saying “that’s sooooo weird, we were talking about you five minutes ago!”
There were some truly inspiring people at the festival, great to see Anita Roddick (of Body Shop fame) and she loved Greenbelt too, how’s this for a quote, “I am cheering the Greenbelt festival from the top of every bloody mountain…for me, it’s like a heartbeat. And it’s youth. I’m ashamed of my bloody prejudices, but I’m delighted to be a convert. I find it wonderful.”

Greenbelt Festival

Finally made it into the internet cafe after two blog free days. Theme this year is “Freedom Bound” which is a pretty good theme for the crazy, wonderful, honest, inspiring weekend that Greenbelt is. The Morning service this morning was awesome and it was great to be celebrating the Freedom we have and being challenged on how we use that freedom.
A few years ago “Fat n Frantic” sang all about “Freedom for a few who have bought the right to tell us that their freedom lie is true” and went on to say “Freedom without justice grows up into slavery if you’re not a Barclaycard carrying member of the free”.
Started a whole bunch of youthwork ideas in my mind on how we help young people engage what freedom means and how we help them to see the injustices that the world economy accepts as the norm! Not sure where this would fit into the Governments “Transforming Youth Work” agenda.

Greenbelt Festival

Off to Greenbelt festival in an hour, it’s tipping down with rain, blowing a gale and generally not the sort of weather you want to camp in, still I’d better Carpe the Diem and get on the road.
Greenbelt has been a significant influence in my life and Christian faith. It was at greenbelt that I met Christians that were engaging with a hurting world, debating the difficult stuff, making a difference and celebrating/using God given creativity.

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Going Downhill

Yesterday I took one of the young people I mentor to Xscape at Milton Keynes. Its a ski slope with “real” snow in a shopping/leisure complex. I could get all metaphoric and write a load of cheesy stuff about youthwork in a culture that is fed poor substitites for things of real value, image instead of worth, power instead of significance and the like. However, I’ll just say it was FANTASTIC fun and a piece of youth work that was going downhill for all the right reasons.
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Youth Work or Youth Ministry

Having decided to finally getting going with a Christian youthwork blog it’s fairly inevitable that I’m going to have to post some thoughts on faith-based youth work, youth work and youth ministry and what I mean by these terms, But until I get around to that, I hope you enjoy Dave Walkers spoof of the youthwork site which you’ll find at http://www.wibsite.com/yoofwork Click on How to answer the “Going into the ministry?” question link. Won’t shed any light on the debate but may make you smile!
(If you don’t already use it then you ought to visit the real Youthwork site too!)

Soul Survivor

Was at a great Youth led service on Sunday night where the teenagers were talking about their experience of “Soul in the City” and Soul Survivor “C.”
It was that great teenage mix of the inspiring and the comical, switching easily between what God had been teaching them to the tent blowing down and from dog poo to what it means to be part of a Global Church.
Really encouraging quote from Mike Pilavachi at the closing service which was quoted to me as “For too long people have known what Christians are against, hopefully they now know what we are for!”
Deja vu moment for me when someone was sharing Andy Hickfords challenge that, “The Church should be a Lifeboat Station not a Yacht Club” This took me straight back to Brainstormers 1992 where Andy challenged us with the same quote. I was reflecting though that I reckon there’s more Lifeboat Churches now than there were in 1992, especially in the area of Youth work! Disccus.