Young Leaders

I said I’d post something on the “Young Leaders” discussion and here it is. The gathering was of “Diocesan Youth Advisers” and we were looking at “young leaders” in the context of the national strategy document which says:
“The gifts, talents and skills of young people should be nurtured in order that they can become fully participating and contributing members of Church and community”
and recomends that the Anglican Church:
“Develop a training Framework which equips young people to be leaders and innovators in the Church”
So we met to discuss that Training Famework. We looked at training that was already available and shared what was happening in our individual Dioceses, which varied enormously. It became clear that most opportunities to lead were currently in the context of the Young peoples work rather than in the life and ministry of the Church.
We had much discussion on particpation rather than over emphasising leadership, what did we mean by training, actually aren’t we just talking about Discipleship, the idea of Calling (specific and General) and the danger of focusing to much on gifts! That probably doesn’t do much justice to the depth of discussion and wisdom but gives you an idea of how far the debate ranged. We were often bogged down with the fact that it’s no good training young people if the Church won’t recognise and enable them to lead but we were able to share some good stories of where young people had grown in confidence and were engaging in Church and Ministry.
What we finally broke through too was the need for this issue to permeate all levels of Church and we recognized three values that were core to any Young leader training, these being

That is that we had to move away from the idea of what do we teach and ask instead, what do young people need to Learn and how are they particpants too in that learning process. That there must be genuine Opportunity to lead, to step out of the comfort zone and put Faith and learning into practice. That there needed to be a Mentoring or accompanying role, that this was a relational process not a programme one, that this element is vital.
Not really Rocket Science but if we can perculate those values through all approaches to working with and enabling young leaders it could be dynamite. Still much to be done but discovery we needed to be clear on the values rather than designing a programme was an exciting process!

In the Course of the discussions the Teal Trust were mentioned, you can find them here.

4 Replies to “Young Leaders”

  1. some interesting stuff here. Think the hardest area to work with is that of opportunity. Often in churches we have youth workers who provide learning and mentoring (all in various guises!) but the wider church will expect the opportunity to come within the youthwork, rather than from within the church. If this barrier is not breached we limit the levels of learning and stunt the mentoring growth. This is why the emerging scene is so good for us, as it allows for a wider participation and therefore more opportunity – and is something traditional church needs to learn from. Could go on for hours, but will stop there, before boring everyone!

  2. and once again i’m fed up with the fact that london havn’t got a diocesan youth oficer! oh well … we are in the process of bieng creative about how we might have something/someone to fill a role such as this but without it bieng a dyo as london seems alergic to them!

  3. Thanks for the comments! Roy, I am definitely agreeing and you may have prompted another “post” (thanks). Ben hope you are recovering well. There are two DYO’s within London, Graham and Dean (but I haven’t fully understood the model on which they are deployed)I’ll try and learn a little bit more bout that and the allergy situation, in the meantime Oxford will continue to have a virtual DYO presence 🙂

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