Check List

Working with the youth service means filling in a form after each session, it records numbers attending, outcomes, accreditation, areas for future development and the like. It also has a list of youth type issues so that you can run through them, ticking subjects that have been engaged with during the session.
Typically the list will be something like this:
I now also have to fill one in on a monthly basis for the mentoring work that I do.
Anyway it got me thinking that I might go back over the last couple of months of blogging and see how many I’ve covered (as it’s my aim to write about youthwork and youth ministry). I also wondered what the list would look like if we were to design a Youth Ministry conversation check list? Obviously it would contain lots of other elements as well but would it include the above, to see if discipleship and ministry flow into and cover all issues that young people face?

How to run a residential event

Please excuse the blog going into “plug” mode but here’s a reminder that on the 14th October at Church House in Oxford there will be a training event on running residentials. The evening runs from 7:45 – 9:45 pm and will cover the practical, legal, spiritual, silly and financial elements of taking a group away.
E-mail for more info or to book.

Youth Ministry. Youth Work. Education

The relationship between youth ministry and youth work is a subject that keeps coming round. There’s been a useful exchange of ideas happening on Deep Thought that has then flowed onto other sites. I’ve written about this before and speculated whether we’d actually understood the question?
I agree with Richard Passmore that to polarise the positions of “worker” and “Minister” is unhelpful (and in my view impossible)
A youth worker works with young people so does a youth minister and the two approaches are not contradictory. The terms both carry some baggage though and their interpretation varies (a lot). They can both flow into each other and mnistry can be/is also influenced by the field of formal education.
YW & YM.jpg
YW= Youthwork YM= Youth Ministry E= Education (formal)
As Christians are we called to Minister? I believe the answer is yes. Will being an effective youth minister require youth work skills …. again I believe yes.
In light of being part of a Royal priesthood (1 Peter), being sent (John 20:21) and commissioned (Matt 28) I believe I am called to Minister. (What we mean by minister I realise will be a whole other debate but I’m playing with a definition about being intentionally Christ-like in a situation and open to God’s leading, guiding and empowering through/in his Spirit).
Now I think it gets messy because a lot of youth work skills are actually Biblical principles. Jesus was a superb informal educator (using experiences and events to promote learning, encouraging people to “do” in order to discover and grow). I therefore see a huge overlap (as above) between Youth Work and Youth Ministry. I’m sure that youthwork helps my theological reflection and that reflection helps my youthwork. There are overlapping skills as we journey with and help young people to become mature, whole & contributors to community. We can gain some great youthwork skills from theological reflection but they can still also be associated with youthwork practice.
Some Youth Ministry is also shaped and informed by formal education, educative in it’s approach to ministry and less youthwork(ery)
I believe I am a Youth Minister and a Youth Worker, mostly with these being one identity that forms the main circle above. There may however be situations where I am much more of a minister in my approach (not just my motivation) and times where I am more a youth worker in my approach (but still motivated by my ministry calling). I am both but they are not seperate!
I don’t in anyway reject youthwork in order to minister or reject ministry in order to youthwork, to do so would be to reject my faith or to reject important aspects or practice.
I see myself as a Minister existing in the circle (in my diagram), partially shaped and informed by youthwork practice and theory …. informed in some ways by education. I have skills that could exist in the arena outside the circle too …. in education or youthwork.
Anyway the whole point of this was to say that they (YW & YM) cannot be defined seperately. What we need to do is explore the relationship and seek to understand both elements more fully as well as how they could/should/do interact AND where they differ and are different in their practice.

It’s a fact, it’s a thing ……

9 million.jpg Katie Melua is definitely cheering up my days at the moment. When I’m listening to the radio and her single comes on, it makes me laugh. There’s something about the opening lyrics:
There are nine million bicycles in Beijing
That’s a fact
It’s a thing ….”

that just induces laughter. I can’t decide whether, as a piece of lyrical writing, it’s brilliant or terrible BUT it does make me laugh 🙂 If you haven’t heard it then you can watch/hear it here.
Anyone else think of some REALLY terrible opening lines to a song? I reckon this could be great fun on a youth residential …. everyone finds and reads out a BAD opening line(s) and also people would have to guess the genre it belongs to (it could then be played if anyone had it on an I-pod with them). But get the ball rolling now with some examples eh ….

Continue reading “It’s a fact, it’s a thing ……”

California and the Omnipresent Quiche

I was at a Church in California this morning (California near Finchampstead and very much in England I should add) visiting a Pathfinder (11+ group) and having lunch with the youth leaders and interested bods afterwards.
quiche.jpgLunch was a buffet affair and yes there was Quiche (as per Macdonald’s assumptive law of Faith based catering) BUT the funny thing was that reference was made to my blog musings about it’s omnipresence at Christian “do’s” I guess I need to be careful about what I write! For the record though all credit to the Church for serving up Chocolate Eclairs for afters … I am now declaring these the official antedote to over-Quiching.
Anyway: I was really encouraged that an additional nine people were at the lunch as well as the Youth Leaders and the conversation was fascinating as it flowed into mission and community. The Church is going to look at it’s vision and aims in terms of young people’s work which I hope will allow greater creativity in how they might approach the work and help in looking at who else to be working with.

Weird (more trivial) challenge that the Church face though: They meet in a school and serve coffee from the official kitchen. They are therefore not allowed by the school to have biscuits in case that allows any trace of nuts loose in the kitchen! True story! No biscuits!! But for the last thousand years of the Christian Church, young people have made it to church on a Sunday morning, usually by not having time for breakfast, they are however sustained by the fact that, at the end of the service, they WILL consume two times their body weight in biscuits while the adults talk about eschatology and petrol prices. Biscuits are part of our ecclesiological norms.

CYM Small group tutor

learner plate.jpg I’m a Small Group Tutor for the Oxford Centre for Youth Ministry this year. Yesterday was the get together/training/planning and the like at the start of the new academic year. It’s very interesting to see how many people it takes to make the course happen. Over Quiche (Christian event so it’s compulsory) and crisps I was chatting to Lecturers, Fieldwork supervisors, Line managers, Students and other Small group tutors. It feels like a real privilege to be involved in the process though and I have returned with an entire libraray of handbooks, outlines and the like to get to grips with before I’m let loose on the students.
I light of my debut as a small group tutor ….. anyone had any truly exasperatingly cringingly awful small group experiences that they’d like to share?
“Ok,right, yes, OK, HELLO everbody …. welcome to THE group, perhaps we should each say our names and share why we chose the socks we are wearing today!”

Modifications to Youthblog

Well I’ve decided to go on blogging for a while as I still enjoy it and I continue to learn a lot through the comments and interaction that youthblog generates. I am however having unwelcome advances from the evil cave dwellers of Spam-alot and so Trackbacks and Comments are having to be switched off if they are over a week old 🙁 Apologies for this if it stifles any debate.
I’m also having problems with people using pictures from the site on their own pages but using my site as the host so it’s the bandwidth here that takes the cost. Some of the pictures actually have had several thousand hits even though none of these involved a visit to my site. Grrrrrrrrr! I’m having to trawl through the archives and delete pictures at the moment (apologies if you come across an entry that has a blue square rather than a picture). Rant over!

The Tower of Bible

It took me nine months to read the Bible cover to cover during which time Leviticus nearly finished me off completely! Now there’s a Bible you can read it under two hours! The hundred hours Bible. Cool (I think) although it will add to an art installation in progress here, The tower of Bible
The Christian Book Shops came to see the tower of Bible that publishers were building. The Publishers said, “Come, let us confuse and add to their choice so they will not understand what translation to read!” And the transaltions were scattered all over the book shelves of Christians around the world and people became confused and didn’t understand.
There will come a time when people will re-discover the Good News Bible sayeth Youthblog with its groovy pictures that aideth understanding and readability. From Stokes Poges to the ends of the Earth people will read the word and all the people who sayeth only the KJV is of God will finally admit that “Verily” they don’t actually understand the exoteric archaiac language therein.