Matrix 2007: Freedom to Flourish

Matrix the Conference. Be there! (oh and come to my seminar PLLLLEEEAASSSSSE).
It is the best Christian Youthwork conference in the Universe (probably) and my favourite.
Matrix: Freedom to Flourish March 5-7th 2007
Matrix banner.jpg
For the booking form and info Download file Click, print, fill-in and post, see you there!
Thanks Moog


I finally got around to taking the offspring to see Cars at the cinema (better late than never) and Wow is it ever a stunning piece of animation. The charcterisation, the numan.jpgimaginative detail and especially the jaw dropping quality of the animation are all extrodinary. I am even prepared to over-look the fact that plot wise it was a re-hash of Doc Hollywood. Although lacking in the originality stakes, the dialogue and humour were well up to Pixar standards, great fun! Bonus points too for coming up with a new gimmic for the post credits malarkey, don’t leave the cinema ’til you’ve seen this 🙂
As wow as the film was though it still left me slightly uncomfortable. The celebration of automotive freedom, the promotion of driving for pleasure and the view that traffic could be a towns’ redemption felt so at odds with enviromental realities and the societal damage the car does, that it just felt kinda wrong. But, a great piece of film!
Useful Clips: Not that many spring to mind as it was a bit formulaic in it’s story but I may end up using the Doc Hudson interaction with Lightning, at the dirt track, for training on Mentoring.
P.S Decided to go a bit cryptic with the picture, general feeling of well-being obtained by working out the connection

Have you got a license to do that?

I see Licensing for Youth Workers is still on the agenda so there’s still chance to join my campaign that the license has to be a metal badge in a leather folder (ala the NYPD)
Youthworker, “Stand back folks, I’ll handle this (flashes badge)
Crowd, “Phew it’s OK, the youth worker is here!”
You may have spotted that the Faithful Cities report recommended that youthworkers are given Key Worker status!
I want it to go further though, we want flashing blue lights for our cars/bicycles!

Where are you coming from?

This is rather a cool web site (although I have ENORMOUS sympathy for whoever inputted all the data), it’s called Surname Profiler and it will show you which counties have the greatest concentration of your surname for 1881 and 1998. You can then get an idea of which county your forebears mostly partied in and where they are now.
Great fun! As I failed to record Dot in my “I spy” update I’ll use Gosling as the example. So here’s where the 1881 Goslings hung out! The purple is the most prevelant, so East Anglia was home but there’s already a good number up North waiting for Chester University to be built.
Thought you could run a funky youthwork session around this looking at where young people’s family came from and some of the habits/characterisics they’ve inheritted from the Family. Then going onto explore where people have had experiences or moments that have shaped their faith characteristics and influenced what they believe and what difference that makes.

Are you still going on about Greenbelt?

I’m supposed to be writing an article about Greenbelt for the Diocesan Newspaper but it’s proving quite difficult, partially because I have a black belt in procrastination and partly because I keep finding infinitely better reviews online than I can create. This quote being a case in point from Steve lawson:
”Greenbelt was entirely integral and vital to my developing into a human being, helping me deal with increasing levels of discomfort at what was happening in the various churches I attended, and also providing me with the link between social and political activism and faith. Greenbelt has always been about the intersection of the arts, spirituality and social activism – using the arts to reflect on what our spirituality compels us to do”
I spy 140.jpg A while back the “z” key dropped off my laptop, the “w” has now joined it. This is also making writing more tricky. (I e-mailed IT and asked for advice when the “z” left and they sent me an e-mail full of Z’s and suggested I cut and paste! Which made me laugh)
The missing letter challenge and procrastination gives me chance to update my I SPY book of bloggers from Greenbelt. I spotted (left to right) Andrew Jones (alias Tall Skinny Kiwi) at the Nizlopi gig, Dave (42) Warnock at the Wib gathering, Dave (Cartoon Church) signing his book at the CT Yurt and Phil (Headway Youth) at a gig in the Traidcraft tent. Loads of points eh!
Oh and the piccy of Dave reminds me that if you don’t understand the Church of England you should buy Dave’s book. It won’t help your understanding at all but you’ll get to chortle out-loud at the way Dave sees it.

How to recruit volunteers

vol.jpg I’ve been asked a ‘few’ times about how to recruit volunteers so I thought I’d throw some stuff together from my experience to see if it was of any use. The cunning bit then is that hopefully more wisdomy types will add some thoughts via the comments and we’ll arrive at something useful.
1. ASK! Vague desperate pleas read out by the vicar DO NOT WORK. “We need someone, anybody PLEASE?” is not a great pitch and beside which it gives a potential volunteer the idea that they are just being thrown at a problem rather than recruited to a ministry! Pray, think, reflect and ask specific people.
2. PRESENT VISION! People don’t respond to vague need, they respond to Vision. They also respond even more to thought-out Vision that has some practical framework, e.g “We have built relationships with a great bunch of 11-14’s and now have an opportunity to run an Youth Emmaus course with the older ones and believe you could be a real blessing to that group and help to develop this ministry!”
3. GIVE DETAILS: Remember the church has a really really bad history with volunteers for youth work i.e if you got suckered into being a leader of a group there was NO escape unless you a) died or b) moved away! So if you do ask someone, let them know the expectations and timescale!
4. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS: Think wider than just trendy young 20’s and the newly wed couple, there are great youthwork volunteers of all ages.
5. BUILD TEAMS: No one wants to be passed a crisis, however people do enjoy joining functional envisioned teams THAT enjoy what they do. In a good team people grow and develop in their faith, that’s attractive. Teams allow you to recruit a more diverse mix of people too so greater pool to draw from.
6. OVERCOME FEAR: Remember that congregations are heavily influenced by media opinions of young people, they are often scared of them and AT the very least think “I could never talk to one of those TEENAGERS!” *quake* So ask one or two poeple to help with a one-off specific event where they encounter the young people and may be surprised to find themselves in conversation with young people. Get the young people involved in running an event for the congregation that’ll will break down some barriers.
7. OUR SIDE OF THE DEAL: What support, resourcing, training, budget can the volunteer expect? Is there demonstrated commitment from those doing the recruiting or is the volunteer just going to be left to it with no budget or framework!
There’s also a foundational stage. Have you created a place where volunteers are supported, valued and encouraged? Do the exisiting volunteers work with vision and creativity? If your support of existing volunteers is rubbish and no-one is allowed to EVER retire from a job …. then you’ve created a climate in which no-one would want to volunteer.