Matrix Conference 2007

Aha …. you heard it here first folks. I can exclusively reveal the dates for Matrix ’07, the funkiest conference for Christian youth workers this side of the horse head nebula.
5th – 7th March 2007
If you keep an electronic diary then input it now! If you have a paper diary then you’ll have to write on the spare page at the back next to the doodle but below the important mobile number that you’ve long since forgotten who it was for!

Back from being at Bartz

stbartz1.jpg Apologies for lack of blogging but I was down in the depths of darkest Sussex on a residential with other Diocesan Youth bods. The venue was St Bartz which is a very cool centre to take the youth group to. It’s a converted Church and it has been turned into a well equipped, very cosy and nicely appointed centre that sleeps up to 28 people! If you are in that part of the world then I recommend it as highly as I recommend Woolhope Cockshoot to those who can get to Herefordshire.
It was great to spend time with the DYO’s who are a passionate, fun and eclectic bunch of Christians who have a BIG heart for young people and a calling to make a difference in and through the church.
pusey 2.jpg We had a really useful theological reflection on Discipleship and Leadership. On Day two that discussion flowed into a look at Discipleship in the context of ethnic young people. Dean Pusey presented a helpful critique that contained both the inspirational and the ‘ouch’ as we faced up to how little we (as the church) reflect and enable diversity.
As well as some useful theological insights I also discovered that I may have a snoring problem! It’s only a suspicion but all the guys in my dorm have started calling me Darth Vadar.

Youth workers, the 17th emergency service

Had a weird and scary experience tonight. I was on my way to meet up with a youth worker (sorry I never made it) before going onto Youth club BUT my plans were put on hold.
A LARGE 4×4 tuned right into the road I was about to exit, in doing so it drove straight across the path of an oncoming vehicle …. and then in a weird kind of slow motion I watched a horrific crash as the car slammed into the 4×4. The car span through 180 degrees and the 4×4 slid round and into my car (although it had practically come to a stand still by the time it made contact with my Astra).
It’s one of the times when I wasn’t sure whether I was glad to be first aid trained or wishing I wasn’t as I got out to see what I could do for the car passengers. I was expecting to encounter major injuries but unbelievably, thanks to air bags and the fact that it was a big car, both the occupants were able to walk away although in a VERY shaky manner.
Lots of standing around, talking to Police and that kind of stuff.
One lady said to me, “You seem quite calm about it all?”
“Well,” I said, “I’m a Youthworker!”
Actually feel kind of shaky now but it makes me laugh that I was able to do a positive piece of marketing for our profession in the midst of the chaos.

Fusion Training day

Here’s a big plug!
And here’s another one. On November 26th Fusion are running a training day in Thame. If you are interested in youth and community work that can impact a whole community then YOU NEED TO BE THERE! I am hugely impressed with these guys and what they’ve achieved.
Pre-registration is essential. More details here or send them an e-mail.

Monday Splurgathon

SleepWhenDead.jpg The weekend, as ever, flashed by! Spent Saturday in Wales visiting relatives which was fun, got to ride a 250cc trials bike again which rocked, first time I’ve managed to get air on the motor-bike …… so coooooool!
On Sunday I was at a meeting with Scripture Union then at a youth group in Olney, great fun. Towards the end of the session they played a great game. Everyone formed a circle round a chair and gripped onto each others hands/wrists tightly! The rules: If anyone came into contact with the chair they were ‘out!’ What followed was a hilarious test of strength, agility (and sometimes conspiracy) as the group eliminated people one by one as they hit the chair.
Spent a bit of time on Google Print which is FANTASTIC! If you are looking for a book or books on a subject this is THE place to go, it’s not finished yet but the list is way beyond impressive! If the book is out of copyright you can read most of it, if it’s still copyright you can read the ‘contents’ and the like to see if it’s relevent.
Christmas is already annoying me: The run down into a crass orgy of consumptive tackiness has begun in earnest! I highly recommend Present Aid! Presents that make a difference to people who actually need ‘stuff’ Oh and while you are on the Christian Aid site you can download their Christmas Pack with some great ideas in.
Oh and making me laugh this morning. Marko’s encounter with this particular church and it’s Carpet First Aid Kit! Nice
Here endeth the weekly splurge, go in peace to minister unto youth, catch up with thine admin and drinketh coffee. Amen

Confused of Oxford

confused.jpg On of the lesser known spiritual gifts that becomes highly developed in Diocesan Youth Advisers is “Confusion!” I have definitely discerned this gift developing and the role is excellent at nurturing it.
Recently I’ve been very confused about Pregnancy!
Youthwork ‘Y’ let me know that she is pregnant! All straight forward so far and communication is going well (Parishes often forget to tell me stuff like they’re taking on a youth worker or details that affect their worker). Next stage of the story is that someone contacted me and came to the office and asked for information about legal issues surrounding ‘maternity leave’ as their youthworker was preganant!
“Ah, youthworker ‘Y’ I reply, I know about that!”
“NO,” comes the response, “Youthworker ‘H’
Slightly flumoxed that that the number of Diocesan Youth Workers who are in-the-family-way has just doubled, I sort out the required paperwork.
This morning I took a phone call asking about how a Church can recruit a sessional youth worker to cover a particular evening because their youthworker is going on maternity leave!
Ah, yes” I say, “but can’t it be covered by the team and the CYM student?” (Having discovered randomly that Youth worker ‘H’ has a student working at their church!)
“We don’t have a CYM student,” was the response!
“But I remember ‘H’ telling me,” I protest.
“But our youthworker is not ‘H’ …. she’s ‘R!'”
No wonder I get confused. So the situation is that about 10% of the youthworkers in the Diocese are currently pregnant! Bizarre but true. If any other Diocesan youth workers are expecting a baby please can they tell me so I can work on the gift of ‘knowledge’ Thank you!

Follow the Yellow Brick Rd

I’ve been dipping into Adventures in Missing the Point again and enjoying what McLaren and Campolo have to say. I was re-reading the chapter on leadership. TC righty points out that Leadership style will vary with who you are and what is needed in terms of leadership at that moment BUT I rather liked this idea from BM.
He refers to The Wizard of Oz and uses The Wizard and Dorothy as two contrasting styles …. Dorothy being a more culturally relevant style than the Wizard (CEO) one.

CEO or Wizard Model

Emerging or Dorothy Model

Biblical Analyst

Spiritual Sage



Objective Technician

Spiritual Friend





Problem Solver

Quest Inspirer







Solo Act

Team Builder

I like the “Dorothy” List as a Youth Minister! Next time some asks me, “What exactly do you do?” I may rattle of this aspirational list 🙂