Mad Friday

onmybus2.jpg Had a totally mad day trying to get everything ready for the residential AND it’s not all done yet. Looking through the paperwork yesterday I found out that, despite what I had been told, it wasn’t completed. After a brief headless chicken type moment I managed to track down the missing forms and start filling them in ……… it took me until 10pm last night to sort it all out AND have just been given the green light.
Today I have done the shopping, picked up the bus (tested the roof rack was strong enough) and am now sorting out the equipment, packing and all that jazz. Craaaazzzzy. Would appreciate your prayers for this weekend.
We must be Crazy to put ourselves through this! But it’s worth it 🙂
Will blog again next week once I can string a coherent sentence together.

Changing Context of youth ministry

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All the discussion around the challenges of discipleship and youth ministry, new paradigms and what mission ‘looks like’ in our culture got me thinking about …………………. Star Trek and how the old Star Trek and the New can represent approaches to youth ministry.
Stay with me on this one!
If you remember the old Star Trek? The one with Captain James T.Kirk, you’ll remember that it was quite straight forward (at least in my memory). The plot basically being that every week the Enterprise encountered some alien race, as part of this encounter Captain Kirk would either end up hitting or kissing the alien depending on its attractiveness or nastiness quotient. (There was, I admit one confusing episode in which he kissed a good looking alien that later turned out to be nasty and be able to change it’s form, so he hit it). In my analogy this, single plot, simplicity of approach is akin to the model of youth ministry I grew up with, a predictable always the same model approach i.e You ran a group in which faith was lived and discussed, the young people invited friends to join the group and this kind of worked.
Springing forward to the era of Jean Luc Picard as captain of the Enterprise and things got a LOT more complicated. You had a reflective approach to situations, attempts at understanding the culture of the races encountered and a spiriritual life on board the ship. Analogy being obvious in that we are in a lot more complex arena for Youth Ministry and the response requires more thought, understanding and experiment as well as the need for spiritual life to be at the heart of who we are and what we do!
It seems to me that the Church often still thinks in a Kirk-esque fashion while Youth ministry has/needs a more Picard like approach, but that can be hampered by the throw back to the Kirk regime. My analogy is also based around thinking that different contexts require different answers not the one size, snog it or hit it, linear approach.
May we continue to Boldly go!

Youth ministry and discipleship

Good debate going on over at Backyard Missionary on Youth ministry and Discipleship, well worth a read.
I had a REAL rant about this way back in terms of the Church and discipleship, I hope what Hamo has started will fuel a meaningful AND USEFUl debate, Quite a few folk have picked this up, check out Marko.
ht to the Lev via TSK from the link 🙂

Zen and the art of youth work

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I’m still having a fun time out there in youthworksville. I was thinking this yesterday when I was at the gym with a lad I’m working with through the Oxford Youth Mentoring Scheme. The particular moment that prompted this reflection was when we were both on cross trainers having finsihed an insane race to see who could do 3000 paces first and were now competing at Countdown which was on one of the TV screens! (For the record, I lost the race but got the most points on Countdown).
Other stuff: I am TRYING to get a bunch of young people together for a consultation about what the new Bish of Oxford should be like. This is proving really difficult as I want it to be a representative group but difficulties of transport, Easter holidays and the like are making this trickier than a tricky project that’s very tricky.
Frustrating Stuff: A particular bunch of lads that I have been trying to work with turning up ALL wearing yellow jogging trousers!! The frustration stems not from the fashion faux pas, who am I am to judge 🙂 but because it meant they had been in trouble with the Police AND were proud of the fact. (An incident a while back in which they’re clothes had been taken for forensic evidence and they’d been lent the yellow tracksuits). Engaging this bunch of lads is really hard 🙁
Residential this weekend though, Hurrah! Which means loads of preperation and work, Boo! But a fabulous opportunity for these young people, Hurrah! But not much sleep, Boo! A lot of fun though, Hurrah!
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Information supersplurge

Hope you’ll excuse the random nature of this post but here’s some stuff ……..
Oxford Youth Workers Forum, Wednesday 29th March at the Brickworks Pub, Cowley rd at 7pm. If you want to know more then e-mail Oli.
Buckinghamshire: May 20th ‘It’s a Knockout’ event you can enter a team of six into. Run by Longridge Boating Centre. E-mail Nicolette for details.
Hambleden Valley (near High Wycombe): 10th April, an international youth service called PASSION 2006. Download file
Frontier centre, Northants. FREE Event evening on Weds 12th April 5:30-8:30. For more info phone 01933 651718
Nationally: Christian Aid week 14th-20th May 2006. Loadsa resources and ideas here!
Youth work week is 1-7th Nov this year and entitled, “Hold Your Head Up” relating to mental health and emotional well-being. More details from the NYA.
…. and a great Resource. Nigel put together a page for some young people on ‘Reading the Bible’ that contains a fantastic collection of useful web-links. Grab it here
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What’s up blog?

Captain’s Log: Stardate – End of March-ish
I think all the changes to the blog have bedded down now and stuff is working. Thanks to everyone who has changed their link to (If you haven’t, please do so!). One of the limitations of the new set-up is if anyone is looking for something it throws you straight to the current day so you’ll need to use the ‘search’ box to track down the ‘post’ that you wanted.
This means that Youthblog becomes less attractive to harvest pictures from but there’s still loadsa people trying, I’m getting 2-3 thousand hits a day but the vast majority of these are looking for pictures not ‘youth ministry’ Hey Ho
Someone has put together a site in China called Youthblog (link here) which I think is to do with young people but I could be wrong? ….. this is definitely not an attempt at franchising!!!!!
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Youth worker Office 6

The last few offices have been disturbingly tidy but Ray is re-addressing the balance. Clearly an advocate of the organic 3 dimensional filing system which is beautifully demonstrated here ….. to the point where there is NO actually working space, CLASS! Therefore a 9.5 on the Hamilton Scale*
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* Dropped half a mark for only having 1 unwashed mugs AND because the commentries are in order 🙂

Youthblog’s state on the ministry address

I was at a board meeting this morning and had the oportunity to offer my reflections on youth ministry in the Diocese to imporatnt people in suits. My ‘briefing paper’ stood out like a sore thumb among the meetings agenda, papers and reports as it was the only one in colour AND with pictures 🙂
The gist of it was along the lines of:
There are good things happening with youth work/ministry across the Diocese
Committed work by volunteers
Projects such as Youth Alpha
Around 36 employed Youth Ministers
Churches providing placements for Youth Work Students
Growing numbers of youth-led services
Credible detached work with marginalized young people
Diocesan events such as YELLOW BRACES and VERTIGO
Greater recognition of the contribution the Church makes

HOWEVER there are some critical issues that need examination
The number of Churches where young people leave aged between 8 and 10 and hence have no work with adolescents at all.
Resourcing and recognition of volunteer leaders.
Poor employment and management practice for youth workers/ministers
Lack of discipleship of young people and lack of exposure to faith in action
Lack of real engagement with young people ….. A “holding onto” mentality
Much larger number of churches engaged with primary schools than secondary schools.

There were some good questions and some useful discussion, expesially around my asertion that:
The problem is not so much that many of our churches
are completely disconnected from adolescents,
the problem is the number that do not see this as a problem!

Phoenix Like

The residential has risen from the ashes and is going ahead! It was a really encouraging evening at ‘drop-in!’ Normally if we have to cancel something then the young people kick-off big time. However tonight, rather than react angrily, 2 of the girls just said, ‘No, Ian IT IS GOING to happen!’ and promptly set off around the estate to find anyone from club who had not returned forms and persuade them AND their parents that this was an un-missable event. They managed to get commitment and forms from three people, the final two arriving at close of play at 6 oclock! I have permission for the event to go ahead 🙂
I’m really pleased that the residential is happening
Most of all though I’m THRILLED that this has been a massive step forward with young people demonstrating enthusiasm, initiative and commitment. Fab!