Recently in Youth Ministry Category

A chance to Summit up

I've just filled in the feedback form for the 'Youthwork Summit' and am still reflecting on a great day with nearly 600 of my Youthwork sisterin and bretherin. The rationale for the day was this:

'a new kind of youth work event... breaking down old ways of doing things, and finding new ones; listening to a wider range of voices than ever before, from parts of the church - and the world outside it - that normally we wouldn't stop to engage with.'

Was it achieved? Yes I think it was (.... and it very much laid a foundation that can be built on to push the boundaries further and the conversation on.)
The format was for everyone to gather together alternating between two different rooms, either the basement for coffee and conversation, or upstairs in the main auditorium where we'd hear a number of ten minute presentations before we'd break and discuss once again.
The inputs were thusly kept fairly fast paced and diverse ... and therefore provoking agreement, disagreement, new-thinking, inspiration, challenge or uncertainty to promote reflective thinking and conversation. All of this framed by the worship led by the Rend Collective Experiment.

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I tried to keep notes but failed miserably, thankfully Ricky did a sterling job of this (you'll find them here) and I'm using his record to re-visit the input. Highlights for me were the Young people from Tower Hamlets, Christopher Pilkington (TV Exec) with some astoundingly useful input of how to frame and tell a story that grips and communicates, and Yanah Nightingale (an undergrad at Cambridge) with a great piece of theological reflection on leadership.

The input was quite massively varied in content and style and some of the speakers could have helped us enormously by defining at the start what, in one sentence, was their pitch to the summit. (I sometimes didn't understand the 'why' in terms of what was offered)

My congratulations to Martin and the team though for what was a REALLY important day, establishing as it did a gathering where denominationalism should be left at the door and where the input was not designed to be tailored to the views of everyone present. Faith and practice development through reflection and conversation.

Youth work summit

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Here's 'summit' (ok, that's a cheesy pun even by my normal standards, but I'm tired) to etch in your diary in a BIG, not-room-for-anything-else, kind of a way as you should be there. The Youth Work Summit is a day for dialogue across the spectrum of Christian youth work. Lots to be worked out yet but loving the core values it is accountable to of being subversive, inclusive, broad BUT deep!
I'll be there! (but don't let you put that off)

This is what it says on the tin:

"It's the idea of creating genuine dialogue between youth workers of all Christian traditions, who talk and pray together to shape creative responses to the challenges of twenty-first century youth ministry. It's the idea of curating a moment of genuine unity, where theology and ideology is momentarily put aside in the light of the bigger picture"

And at number 9

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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!

Shalom

Not the Superhero

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Asbo Jesus has been exploring some Youth work themes, great stuff!

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Please do not link to the pics here but link/credit to Asbo Jesus

A 12 year old girl speaks

This is doing the rounds on t'internet at the moment, quite rightly though as this 12 year old girl articulates brilliantly a mandate for young people to be listened to, engaged and taken seriously. Fab!

Where have all the young people gone?

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wabbey.jpgI had a great day yesterday at Waverley Abbey on a one day conference entitled "Where have all the young people gone?"
As this is firmly within my exploration ahead of writing the Diocesan Strategy for youth engagement, I thought I'd go along! It was useful to spend a day with Church leaders and Youth Workers who were also exploring this, and to hear what Andy Peck and Martin Saunders were bringing to the discussion.

The day was basically a theological exploration, a cultural and statistical look at the present, then exploring responses, ideas and opportunities. All good stuff and especially helpful to be reflecting with people from a variety of denominations.

As per conversations with a couple of people, I said I'd upload my piece on 'How to recruit Volunteers' so here it is. I also said I'd link to the National Council for voluntary youth services through which you can find if you have a local County CVYS.

Mention was made during the day of the Methodist resources around volunteering, and I mentioned the Oxford Diocesan handbook. Martin mentioned the Jan/Feb edition of EA that has an article on "The Missing Generation!" Oh and if you want to explore a bit further the idea of working with a digital generation, this is an excellent article from Tim Davies.

If there is anything else people wanted, please shout.

The Fear Factory

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This article by Helen McNutt acts as an excellent foil to the vitriolic lynch (media) mob that re-grouped to to preach hatred, judgment and demonisation, given that the Bulger case is back in the spotlight.

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I'm grateful to Chris for the pointer to this article which also put me in contact with a film called The Fear Factory, a film which aims to raise the debate about crime and young people out of the realms of rabble-rousing ill informed soundbites.

"The self-fulfilling prophesy that's doubled our prison population,
demonised our young and costs us billions...
Welcome to the Fear Factory"

The coalition behind the film have a blog here.
More info when I have found an opportunity to watch the film

Transformational Youth Ministry

yp from chucknorris.jpg"Youth ministry doesn't have to spend a fortune or put on a rock concert to be effective in reaching junior high and high schoolers for Christ. Personal relationships, adult mentors, honest conversation, and opportunities to help others create an atmosphere where students feel they belong, and eventually are able to believe"

Trawling the web this morning I came across this article about transformational youth ministry It usefully reduces and demystifies faith based work with teens to five key points. Article is here, thanks to Chuck Warnock.

Youth, mission and culture lectures

'Professional development' and vegetables are two things that youth workers are not always very good at (apart from the vegetarian ones who tend to be better at at least one of them) as they get squeezed out by the pressure of time and chips. Huge generalisation I know but it makes a good intro to the Youth, Mission and Culture Lectures that I am about to heartily endorse! Anyway, the info .......

"The Youth Culture and Mission Lectures are a response to the increasing numbers of youth workers studying youth ministry and theology at undergraduate or postgraduate and the desire by so many to keep their heads in that field once they have graduated. Pete Maidment, Diocesan Youth Officer for The Diocese of Winchester and one of the founders of the lectures, says; 'The lectures provide an opportunity for people to pursue a deeper, theological and grounded understanding of youth, culture and mission, accessible to those who have already begun to explore the academic bedrocks of youth ministry as well as those who haven't had the time to study and who are eager to take their thinking deeper.'

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Dates and Locations:

18th March 2010:LICC, London
25th March 2010:St George's Church, Leeds

For more details click the link above or read the press release thingy: YCML Press Release Nov 2009.doc. Oh, or use that trendy BookFace social notworking thing, here's the link

Muse and Amuse

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I'm delighted to see that Dave Walker has been given a residency at Youth work magazine where his cartoon sideways take on things will be musing and amusing about our trade.

If you have an ideas for him to explore he'll be at 'Youthwork the Conference' looking like this:

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Or you can comment your idea to the relevant blog post here

Engament with adolescents

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Quite a few Dioceses are facing huge financial challenges brought on by the recession and having to make some difficult decisions. Whilst I fully understand the difficulties of this I am very concerned that youth work seems to be an immediate target for cuts, with at least two Dioceses making Diocesan Youth Adviser posts redundant and then creating a new combined youth and children's (and in some case ... and something else) post.

At the very least this reduces support and development of youth work/ministry by 50% but in reality I think, much more. Youth work and Children's work are very different skills, it's unusual for someone to have both and I have seen many many more examples of these combined roles being occupied by children's practitioners than I have by youth workers. Futhermore Children's work pulls in more numbers, more 'feel good factor' and more volunteers meaning that even people trying to balance the roles will be (in my opinion) pulled in the children's work direction.

I believe that this idea of an obvious saving being made by lumping support, advice and training for all young people from 0-20 under one category is unrealistic, unhelpful and unworkable (in effective delivery). Cutting deeper and therefore removing all support for work with young people is obviously even worse.

Yes, I know I am biased BUT I passionately believe that any further steps back from the Churches engagement with adolescents is to fail the young people we should be serving AND to miss out on how much we can learn from them.

I have just written the following statement in support of one project that looks like being axed. I know another Diocese that is looking at where it will cut (and there will be others). So if it's anyway useful, feel free to quote me as saying .......

"I firmly believe that our mission with, to and among young people is critical, both for the teenagers of our country AND indeed for the life of the church(es).

In the post Christendom landscape, and current cultural climate where adolescents are frequently scape-goated for societal failings, the church standing along side young people and engaging with them is both prophetic and vital. I believe we should be the advocates, the listeners to their stories and the brokers of spiritual conversations where young people can explore meaning, identity and purpose. We have much to give and importantly, much to learn from teenagers.

In the last few years many factors together have led to many churches being completely disconnected from teenagers. Diocesan support of existing work AND pro-actively helping churches to re-engage with the teenagers needs to be a priority of our resourcing, time and energy. We are good at working with children, and experts with the elderly; but in danger of failing to help, nurture and engage with the adolescents in our parishes and deaneries.

Cutting posts in this area of Church life and mission is damaging in the now, and may prove disastrous in the long term"

World of Youth Ministry

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OK, here's a LOAD of stuff that has appeared on my radar! There is probably more information here than you need, but each piece is like a different blade on a swiss army knife* ..... not all of them have an obvious immediate use, but somehow somewhere it may be perfect for someone to be able to do something with. Message reads:

Young People & Youth Work in a Digital Age: Conference & Open Space event - Thursday 24 September 09, 10 - 4pm at the Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University, Wrexham

Churches engagement with 14+ young people consultation in Oxford (also on 24th September) national discussion being hosted by Oxford. More details from me

Network meeting for employed Youth Workers in the Diocese: September 25th at Oakwood Challenge near Wokingham, book in through Carolyn

Youthwork The Conference November 20-22 Eastbourne 'Transform- Knowing the word knowing the world'
Youth Alpha Conference 2010 18-19th February London


Buckinghamshire

Free "Protective Behaviours" Training Protective Behaviours.pdf
Free Sign language training for those working with young people, 10 week course from October through to December.

Oxford

Growing Leaders Youth Edition Training: Abingdon on September 26th
Next VERTIGO event is on October 17th

Berkshire

Fusion Studentlinkup DAY Saturday 19th September 11am - 5pm @ Greyfriars, Friars Street, Reading, RG1 1EH "This day is designed to equip, encourage and inspire students" details here

*small device that Boy Scouts used to carry

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Youth Ministry category.

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