Trends and directions in Youth work

pulse.jpg I am trying to look at trends in youth work, wanting to take a bit of a pulse to identify where the heartbeat is at the moment and where it’s flowing. I have asked the collective wisdom of the federation of Diocesan Youth Work bods and I’m now asking the question here too?
What do you think?
Trends, changes, becoming history, the future?

7 Replies to “Trends and directions in Youth work”

  1. Really good and challenging question that one Ian.
    Not sure what I would say to that, but the biggest thing I am noticing tat is making a difference in young people’s livesat the moment, and moe than before is speaking about how God works in my life. There seems to be an impact in other peoples lives, through the things that God dos in mine.
    I would also say, that relaitonship attached to a decent presentation also seems to work, the two cannot work exclusively, there possibiliy needs to be some kind of presentation, and I am scared fo response to that word, but that cannt work with indepth, open, honest, meaningful relationship.
    This is a starting point, but I am sure I iwll be adding again at some point soon.

  2. Some from the statutory sector:
    >Youth Participation is here to stay – and is moving to deeper levels, with more emphasis on young people sharing leadership, leading their own projects, and accessing and making decisions on funding and budgets (See Youth Opportunity Funds etc… )
    >A stronger empahasis on youth participation in the third sector is coming from funders / through new Children’s Trust arrangements that mean anyone wanting to access at least statuatory funding, and some grant funding pots – will need to show genuine involvement of young people in Decision making. The Participation Works ( ) coalition of youth charities have just announced 40 free workshops in participation for third-sector organisations over the next two years:
    >The move to guarantee young people 2 hours recreational and 2 hours education leisure a week (The Local Offer introduced in the Education and Inspections Act) is a significant step forward in entitling young people to youth activities… but whether it will increase access to and provision of ‘youth work’ remains to be seen…
    >The ‘Positive Youth Development’ concept may be making it to the UK more from the US and having a stronger influence in policy in the near future… / PYD is about broadly based on youth work supporting young people to be resilient and able to deal with challenges in life – rather than putting all energy into trying to remove all risk from young people’s lives. (It’s worth noting that a lot of Positive Youth Development research in the US has focussed on the role of faith in supporting young peoples resiliency – and faith-groups in supporting positive youth development overall…)

  3. I think (I hope) one trend is the gradual end of youth-centric ministry within the church. More and more I hear of youth ministers advocating involving youth in the whole life of the church, creating more opportunities for cross-generational learning and worship. What does this bode for the future of “youth groups” and “youth ministers?” Not sure.

  4. Not sure about this last comment, Have had vairous thoughts on this onboth sides, The church has a prophetic roll in society, and young people more and more are having a prophetic roll to adults as well as to the whole culture, so if young people are prophets to adults then they should be part of the whole church rather than being separated. Butflip side, is that those certainly under about 35 think differently, and learn differently, to the generation above that, so they need to to be taught differently.
    Poses the question, should the whole church tne have to change, or should we just set different groups up for those who learn differently.

  5. I wouldn’t say people under 35 learn differently than those above, but rather that people over 35 had to adapt to a different understanding of learning. I am over 35 and am a kinaesthetic learner – which is similar to a lot of my students.
    When it comes to trends I hope that those who are training now will remember that relationships are number 1 and that programmes can’t take the place of building good relationships.

  6. A quick couple of thoughts as I seem to be unable to get the DYO stuff (constant bounces, regardless of what I do . . an omen). Anyways, Jon Ord’s recent book, Youth Work Practice, Product and Process” helps redress the balance as things have moved FAR TO FAR towards “outcomes and targets”, I predict a shift back towards the importance of “process” – more etheral and hard to nail down, but it is often in the stuff we don’t plan / predict that God does stuff.
    Also, is key trends similar to key issues? Our trends aren’t always helpful. In different areas of the Church they will be different depending on the network / group affiliation.
    I think there might be a trend to employ more youth workers part time . . . as Churches can’t afford to pay people full time and find accommodation.
    I think there is currently a trend towards locally networked youth stuff in communities / with a competing trend of others trying to attract people to a plethora of “big” events. Big events tend to have a more evangelistic focus, a lot is about the wow factor. Smaller events are discipleship and faith nurture driven . . .
    There needs to be a greater drive to empower more people to the extent that “experts” do themselves out of a job. If we want to see renewal and church growth, this is the only way forward.

  7. I’m finding that I’m pushing more for integrated ministry here in Toronto. We had our youth synod and diocesan synod concurrently this year, and there were some good points (and bad ones) to integrated ministry. But more and more I’m seeing and feeling a need to make church truly intergenerational. I think there will always be a place for youth to meet separately with other youth (similar to the Anglican Church Women meeting, or the Men’s Supper at my church), but youth and the Church need to be equipped for greater integration with each other.
    In terms of professional youth ministers, most of our folks are part time already. I’m working with a few groupings to try and develop full time positions working with a cluster of churches to develop youth ministry in the parishes and to do community outreach work. We’ll see how well it works!
    But those are a few trends from the far side of the Atlantic.

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