Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Andy has a written a good post "Should churches employ youthworkers?" .
It draws on "Contemplative youth ministry" which I must get read soon.

Should churches employ youthworkers? Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to!
Bank Holiday
Well it was Bank Holiday weekend, which of course meant rain!
But we had a nice chilled weekend, doing very little, which was much needed.
I even got to watch all 3 of the original Star Wars movies - nice!
Back to work today - and I'm realising what a mess I've let my office get into - but I don't know if I can face admin.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Code
Yesterday I did something I don't do that often -I went to the cinema!
A few of us went to the "Da Vinci Code".
Not much to say about it really - I quite enjoyed it, although it felt a little long to me.
Fun to see the audience jump a couple of times too.
Its not a classic, but I'm not going to get all pretentious about it - its a summer escapist movie.

There's more than enough blog and web comment about the subject if you want to get into that stuff, so I won't!

Essential is a new project from the Evangelical Alliance, which is seeking to help young people understand what Christians believe and engage with theology (4 aims outlined here). Yesterday I caught up with Phil who's heading the thing up. I like the idea - I think it could be a helpful contribution on the youth ministry scene. Look forward to seeing how it develops.
I think it links in someways with the discussion on training and teaching .

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunday started with a bang - literally as my hi-fi amp blew! Wierd!

I went to 2 LBA churches on Sunday - and they were very different!
The first was a small estate church where I was speaking. It was messy, earthy and fun!
15 or so people, faithfully being God's people, against the odds (or so it seems).

In the evening I went to a baptism in a large surburban church, 200 or so people. It was reformed, restrained, yet quite a lot of 20's and 30's. A good 40 minutes expository preaching, good contemporary music, but no physical expression in worship (which is hard for me!).

The variey of God's people among London Baptists is amazing!
A long way out
So we gathered on Friday for "ASBOs, gangs and God". A few people I was hoping would come couldn't make it, but enough of us turned out to make it worthwhile.
The conversation seemed to focus on 2 main things:
i) How mission to young people "at the edge" links with church as we know it
ii) How we engage with young people - what's happening, sharing experiences etc.

On the first point we covered some good ground of missiology and ecclesiology. How much is the agenda for this kind of work "owned" by the churches who may be paying the workers wages of supplying the volunteers? What do the results of such mission look like? Should we expect "integration"? When or where does "proclamation" come into it?
Not sure we came to any conclusions - it would be great to post about how we solved the issues - but the journey was helpful!

On the second question of engagement, seems a variety of projects and approaches are being used, which is good. From clubs, to detatched work, schools stuff to "Appropraite Adult" (accompanying young people to court).

I was challenged and encouraged by some of the stories shared about nitty gritty engagement. This stuff is not glamorous or high profile, but we need desperately need churches engaged in the urban setting.

We also spoke about how to continue the conversation. It was great to have Graham with us keeping the Anglican side up. This is surely just the start

Thursday, May 18, 2006

ASBOS, Gangs & God
I'm just trying to get my brain in gear for a gathering tomorrow.
A group of us are getting together to have a conversation called "ASBOS, gangs & God", to share, learn and explore how we do mission with young people a long way out from church culture.
I'm expecting some good stuff to come out, as some coming have plenty of experience of doing this stuff.
Should be interesting!
Big brother
The next UK series of
Big Brother kicks off tonight. I wonder what delights it will bring? I did hear that at one stage they were actively seeking a Christian for the house - or was that just a rumour? And will it be a youth culture phenomenon or just Channel 4 desperation?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Good time at Oxford yesterday with Kenda Creasy Dean.
She spoke about passion and moralistic therapeutic deism!
Interesting stuff about how young people and the mainstream US church has reduced Christianity to moralistic therapeutic deism - its about being nice, feeling good, and God being around when you need him!
Anyway 2 questions/comments struck me:
- "Do we really need Jesus?" - does what we do depend on Christ? Jesus must be more than an example!
- Do we as adults in church practice the kind of faith we want our young people to have?

Ian has good notes, especially from part2. Sarah, Phil and Richard were also spotted, and I'm sure may post something too.

Check out Kenda's excellent books for more!

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm becoming slightly uneasy about the government and media's use of the language of "extremism".
It seems to be that the worst thing you can be at the moment is a passionate believer, because to be so risks the label of "extremist".
Such rhetoric is understandable at some levels - of course there is concern about terrorism or activists who appear to value animal life above human. But there is something about this labeling that leaves me feeling a little uneasy.
I'm not one for conspiracy theories and the like. But I do wonder how long before "extremist" language becomes more and more applied to the church (at least if we remain true to Christ) and what effects that might have.

(and this resource series raises interesting questions!)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Are youth workers equipped?
This months Youthwork magazine has an article by Dave Wright on the Bible shaping youth ministry. In it he suggests:
"I believe that the task of youth work is mission and the most significant part of that mission is proclaiming the gospel and teaching the truths of scripture. Truth to be understood must be lived. The real challenege many youthworkers face is that they are not skilled in teaching truth".

I'm not wanting to get into a debate (at the moment anyway) about whether proclamation really is the most significant part of mission.
But are we equipping youthworkers to understand and teach scripture? I'm guessing the answer may be different for those trained outside UK. But I've heard senior ministers and youthworkers themselves suggest that the kind of youth ministry training courses we have in the UK are weak in this area. Is that a problem we should address?

Yesterday was what seems to have become my annual trip to the Christian Resources Exhibition.
The usual plethora of furniture, robes and finance stuff was amusing as ever.
I did pick up a couple of things, such as the report: "Making Sense of Generation Y: The world view of 15-25 year olds". Look forward to getting into that - Jonny has posted about it.
I also picked up the Catalyst "group-zine" Change the Process which is an interesting workbook of articles on leadership and change, designed for individual or small group use.

Yesterday evening was the LBA annual assembly, at church.co.uk centre. Was a good time, the theme was "generation to generation" and I shared some stats and stuff on children and the LBA churches. My colleague talked of his experience of receiving faith growing up as a Hindu, and David Coffey (outgoing BU general secretary) shared some suff about his family.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mclaren on Da Vinci Code
"frankly, I don't think it has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels"

Enough said!
More here, originally here

Monday, May 08, 2006

Youth ministry - education, entertainment or evangelism?
Interesting discussion on the Youthwork Discussion forum.
The answer's probably "both/and" - but its a fun debate (which I've yet to join in - the Pete in the discussion isn't me!!)

Update (10/5)
Over the last couple of days the other threads have continued a similar discussion.
In fact we've ended up in some familiar ground:
Timmy suggests:
"UK based YM seems to be caught up between the struggle to conform to the secular definition and the sacred call (Matthew 28:19,20) to make followers of Christ. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this, including how funding of community oriented Church based activities works in the UK, shared staffing, professional recognition and salary scales of youth workers... and so on." (here).
This has been discussed on blogs before, I've posted here plus here and elsewhere.
I think its fundamentally about our view of the Kingdom and how that impacts mission, but that's for another post!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Urban Worship?
A recurring conversation around London church youthworkers is about finding worship materials/music/resources that connect with urban young people. Some do connect with the Soul Surivor/Hillsong United style stuff, others respond to Noel Robinson & gospely influenced stuff, and interactive elements from the alt.worship/chill out scene work too, but there seems to be a gap.

A few years ago I heard some guys strip down some tracks, end up with some beats and sing worship over the top, which was cool. But I come across very few of these experiments. Where are those using hip-hop, r'n'b, grime, beats for corporate worship? Where is the urban sound fit for the heavenly city?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Today feels like summer - so much so thought it deserved some bad clipart!
It's not forecast to last - but then it is only early May.
But it's good to get some warmth and sunshine - and I managed 2 trips through the park which is always a bonus.

Besides that I've been wrestling with what happened between the cross and resurrection for Jesus because of a sermon for Sunday. Its not really relevant to what I'm speaking on - but I find sometimes its the more obvious texts that cause the greatest questions (like a couple of years ago when I was speaking on John 3).

And I've been getting some stuff together for a meeting of the Small Churches Connexion on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sinner or winner - ASBO?

So he's called Phil (not Terry as some sources said), and I've featured him before here.
He's a London legend, with his witty "sinner or winner" preaching.
But Westminster Council's not so sure and have applied for an ASBO (anti social behaviour order) to stop him!
BBC story here.
I'm guessing the problem is his amplification - megaphone or recently an amp and mic.
Whatever you think about him and his style (Andrew has blogged about him before - in fact I think I stole this pic. from him!), this surely has implications for freedom of speach and public preaching, which are very concerning.

So he got the ASBO and can't use amplification to preach. More here

Purpose of youth ministry?
While away a couple of weeks ago I picked up a couple of cheap books.
One of them was "Timeless youth ministry", by Vukich & Vandergriff.
Just the title alone raises questions!
Anway I'm getting through it - it's not the most well written book and quite North American, but there's some stuff there that would be good for those new to youth ministry.
I'm at the chapter called "The purpose of youth ministry" (which amusingly comes about half way through), and I came across this:

"The aims of youth work are no different than the aims of a local church".
Interesting - I'll wait to see what the rest of the chapter has in store!
But I'd be interested to see if anyone has any reactions to that quote?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

So another good weekend with a couple of thousand Baptists - Yes I know that sound like an oxymoron but its not!
Highlights for me included the Saturday morning bible study at the Prism "alternative" venue (nice one Kumar!), the message from Kate Coleman, the BU's president for the year challenging us to "stay focused", and just hanging out. Richard Foster spoke on Sunday, and while I don't really remember what he said, you got a sense of his deep spirituality which was inspiring.
And while there are inevitably things you could pick holes in or that could have been better, overall it was a good time.
My main concern is how we bring through more younger people and continue the work of diversity while honoring the past. But things are definitely moving forward with a sense of God's mission.

Oh and if you want a nice place to stay in Brighton, try the Cavalire!