A chance to Summit up

I’ve just filled in the feedback form for the ‘Youthwork Summit‘ and am still reflecting on a great day with nearly 600 of my Youthwork sisterin and bretherin. The rationale for the day was this:
‘a new kind of youth work event… breaking down old ways of doing things, and finding new ones; listening to a wider range of voices than ever before, from parts of the church – and the world outside it – that normally we wouldn’t stop to engage with.’
Was it achieved? Yes I think it was (…. and it very much laid a foundation that can be built on to push the boundaries further and the conversation on.)
The format was for everyone to gather together alternating between two different rooms, either the basement for coffee and conversation, or upstairs in the main auditorium where we’d hear a number of ten minute presentations before we’d break and discuss once again.
The inputs were thusly kept fairly fast paced and diverse … and therefore provoking agreement, disagreement, new-thinking, inspiration, challenge or uncertainty to promote reflective thinking and conversation. All of this framed by the worship led by the Rend Collective Experiment.
I tried to keep notes but failed miserably, thankfully Ricky did a sterling job of this (you’ll find them here) and I’m using his record to re-visit the input. Highlights for me were the Young people from Tower Hamlets, Christopher Pilkington (TV Exec) with some astoundingly useful input of how to frame and tell a story that grips and communicates, and Yanah Nightingale (an undergrad at Cambridge) with a great piece of theological reflection on leadership.
The input was quite massively varied in content and style and some of the speakers could have helped us enormously by defining at the start what, in one sentence, was their pitch to the summit. (I sometimes didn’t understand the ‘why’ in terms of what was offered)
My congratulations to Martin and the team though for what was a REALLY important day, establishing as it did a gathering where denominationalism should be left at the door and where the input was not designed to be tailored to the views of everyone present. Faith and practice development through reflection and conversation.

Youth work summit


Here’s ‘summit’ (ok, that’s a cheesy pun even by my normal standards, but I’m tired) to etch in your diary in a BIG, not-room-for-anything-else, kind of a way as you should be there. The Youth Work Summit is a day for dialogue across the spectrum of Christian youth work. Lots to be worked out yet but loving the core values it is accountable to of being subversive, inclusive, broad BUT deep!
I’ll be there! (but don’t let you put that off)
This is what it says on the tin:
“It’s the idea of creating genuine dialogue between youth workers of all Christian traditions, who talk and pray together to shape creative responses to the challenges of twenty-first century youth ministry. It’s the idea of curating a moment of genuine unity, where theology and ideology is momentarily put aside in the light of the bigger picture”

And at number 9

neufbottel.jpgNew definition of guilt induction: Making number 9 in the top 20 Youth Ministry blogs (and my teachers thought I wouldn’t amount to anything) on the week when my contribution to the blogosphere is an advert and some wittering about a red car.
Joking aside though I am really chuffed to be in the list and am spurred on to push the very boundaries of theology, youth ministry and wood preservatives. Er Ok, erm ….
What shall I write about? over to you (this is the new request slot!)
(In the meantime I shall get on with scribbling my acceptance speech ready for when my invitation to the glitzy award ceremony arrives)
And where from here? Next year *maniacal laughter* I’m aiming for Number Eight, oh yes, that slot will be mine!

Where have all the young people gone?

wabbey.jpgI had a great day yesterday at Waverley Abbey on a one day conference entitled “Where have all the young people gone?”
As this is firmly within my exploration ahead of writing the Diocesan Strategy for youth engagement, I thought I’d go along! It was useful to spend a day with Church leaders and Youth Workers who were also exploring this, and to hear what Andy Peck and Martin Saunders were bringing to the discussion.
The day was basically a theological exploration, a cultural and statistical look at the present, then exploring responses, ideas and opportunities. All good stuff and especially helpful to be reflecting with people from a variety of denominations.
As per conversations with a couple of people, I said I’d upload my piece on ‘How to recruit Volunteers’ so here it is. I also said I’d link to the National Council for voluntary youth services through which you can find if you have a local County CVYS.
Mention was made during the day of the Methodist resources around volunteering, and I mentioned the Oxford Diocesan handbook. Martin mentioned the Jan/Feb edition of EA that has an article on “The Missing Generation!” Oh and if you want to explore a bit further the idea of working with a digital generation, this is an excellent article from Tim Davies.
If there is anything else people wanted, please shout.

The Fear Factory

This article by Helen McNutt acts as an excellent foil to the vitriolic lynch (media) mob that re-grouped to to preach hatred, judgment and demonisation, given that the Bulger case is back in the spotlight.
fear factory.jpg
I’m grateful to Chris for the pointer to this article which also put me in contact with a film called The Fear Factory, a film which aims to raise the debate about crime and young people out of the realms of rabble-rousing ill informed soundbites.
“The self-fulfilling prophesy that’s doubled our prison population,
demonised our young and costs us billions…
Welcome to the Fear Factory”

The coalition behind the film have a blog here.
More info when I have found an opportunity to watch the film

Transformational Youth Ministry

yp from chucknorris.jpg“Youth ministry doesn’t have to spend a fortune or put on a rock concert to be effective in reaching junior high and high schoolers for Christ. Personal relationships, adult mentors, honest conversation, and opportunities to help others create an atmosphere where students feel they belong, and eventually are able to believe”
Trawling the web this morning I came across this article about transformational youth ministry It usefully reduces and demystifies faith based work with teens to five key points. Article is here, thanks to Chuck Warnock.

Youth, mission and culture lectures

‘Professional development’ and vegetables are two things that youth workers are not always very good at (apart from the vegetarian ones who tend to be better at at least one of them) as they get squeezed out by the pressure of time and chips. Huge generalisation I know but it makes a good intro to the Youth, Mission and Culture Lectures that I am about to heartily endorse! Anyway, the info …….
“The Youth Culture and Mission Lectures are a response to the increasing numbers of youth workers studying youth ministry and theology at undergraduate or postgraduate and the desire by so many to keep their heads in that field once they have graduated. Pete Maidment, Diocesan Youth Officer for The Diocese of Winchester and one of the founders of the lectures, says; ‘The lectures provide an opportunity for people to pursue a deeper, theological and grounded understanding of youth, culture and mission, accessible to those who have already begun to explore the academic bedrocks of youth ministry as well as those who haven’t had the time to study and who are eager to take their thinking deeper.’
lectures banner.jpg
Dates and Locations:
18th March 2010:LICC, London
25th March 2010:St George’s Church, Leeds
For more details click the link above or read the press release thingy: YCML Press Release Nov 2009.doc. Oh, or use that trendy BookFace social notworking thing, here’s the link

Muse and Amuse

youthwork training.jpg
I’m delighted to see that Dave Walker has been given a residency at Youth work magazine where his cartoon sideways take on things will be musing and amusing about our trade.
If you have an ideas for him to explore he’ll be at ‘Youthwork the Conference’ looking like this:
Dave walker self portrait in pencil.jpg
Or you can comment your idea to the relevant blog post here