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?


Blogger Roy said...

I am not sure that we are always teaching youth types to understand and teach scripture but I am not always convinced on what priority the youth worker/minister.whatever, should always have that as priority. I was trained to do the teach scripture bit and had to learn my youth work on the fly - my biggest issue is that my training taught me to have intellectual debate with others but not apply the principles to the lives of those I worked with. My view - it is one end of the see saw - and I want my ministry at the fulcrum (is that the right word!!! lol)where the work is best balanced

3:55 pm  
Blogger youthworkertim said...

YES!!! It is a problem the training institutions need to address NOW...not in another three years!!! Somehow I don't think we are going to see changes for a while yet! We seem to take ages to understand and act on emerging issues! Check out the icon section of the May edition of Youthwork magazine for example. It is discussing the ipod...a few light years after that icon hit the market. This thing is now in it's fifth generation and only now does it feature in the UK's leading Christian Youthwork magazine as an icon!

10:16 pm  
Anonymous Andy Goodliff said...

the 'truths of scripture' is an helpful phrase, as it suggests, the bible is a book of timeless truths, which we detracted from context and narrative. I much prefer to suggest youthworkers need to tell the Christian story and help young people live in it, of which there are many ways, as there are many ways to read scripture. Having said that, the art of reading scripture is not something I think youthworkers are taught.

10:49 pm  
Blogger Pete Lev said...

Andy,I assume you meant "unhelpful phrase"? I think you're right - the author of the quote is definately coming from a particular view of the Bible.
Roy - I think you're training was not the kind of stuff the current CYM/Oasis type courses are churning out, which people have suggested have some large gaps.
Tim - I agree - change and progress can seem unhelpfully slow, especially when youthworkers are wanting to push ahead.

8:26 am  
Blogger Roy said...

yes, got me there! My experience of the CYM/Oasis type course are that there are indeed some gaps, but in fairness they have a tough job trying to meet the needs of the JNC and provide the balance of the teaching etc.

5:23 pm  
Blogger Phil Goodacre said...

erm.....ok, so i've not read the article in full, but i'd be intrigued to know what the author understands by "teaching", particularly in reference to youth work and INformal education.

Maybe I'm just getting picky about terms....but does this once again highlight the confusion between the terms youth work and youth ministry.

6:06 pm  
Blogger Pete Lev said...

Phil, good point. Do we equip youth staff (see how I avoided the worker/ministry question?) to teach or to enable young people todiscover and learn? I think there is a difference - in philosophy even if it "looks" the same

7:11 pm  
Blogger Phil Goodacre said...

Nicely done Lev.

On CYM, of which I am a graduate/product, one thing we had to prove we were competent in was 'creating learning opportunities'.

I agree, there is definitely a difference in philosophy between teaching, and enabling yp to discover and learn, but both have the result of young people learning.

I'm tempted to say that it is in this educational philosophy where the differences between youth work and youth ministry can be (possibly) most clearly observed, but then again I'm aware that there are so many exceptions to the rule, so many instances where the boundaries between the two terms have become blurred.

10:24 pm  

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