This session was led by Chris Curtis, from LCET, who always writes very well in Youthwork magazine so I was looking forward to this session. In many ways he didn’t really say anything that new or exciting, but in other ways he made some quite big suggestions in the way we do schools ministry. He started by spending some time on his background, and the work of the LCET.
We started by looking at assemblies. He suggested that we need to see a shift in change from been seen as preachers to worship leaders when we lead an assembly. We should be leading, but not the centre of attention, to spark something and then step back. In more detail he suggested that we needed to:
Create some kind of space – controversially silence he believes is the best!
Create questions – don’t give them the whole gospel – allow young people to go away thinking.
High levels of interaction
For both assemblies and lessons he highlighted the need to use educational terminology not church terminology. He believes we can say very ‘Christian’ things if we put them in educationally spiritualist terms rather than traditional Christian langue and imagery. Chris also put a strong emphasis on ensuring that we fulfil the curriculum when we teach a lesson – that we know what the LEA policy is. He explained how they were trialling a project called ‘Breathe’ following on from Greenbelt which sounded amazing – the gist of it is there is a massive parachute with 12 sections, each on an aspect of Christian belief. A class watches a video, then each individual is given an iPod and goes through the sections doing something at each, guided by the audio script.
This was a great seminar – the only disadvantage was that because it was youthwork conference it didn’t really touch on primary schools work, and the opportunity for linkage between the two age groups. I hope that the Children’s Ministry Conference has similarly high quality sessions on schools work.
I have been away at Youthwork Conference so did not blog over the weekend. What a great conference it was – I know some people say that it isn’t their cup of tea but I found it a real encouragement – a great time to receive teaching, reflect on what we have been doing, think about ideas for the future, catch up with old friends and meet others. I have lent some of my notes out to a fellow youth worker so I will post my experience of Saturday lunchtime onwards for the minute.
It was great to see so many people at the Early Day who had been there last year – especially big shout out to James Bell who I got to know better this year and who now based in Chelmsford is just down the road from us. This year was slightly different, in that because Rob Bell was leading, it had gone from 40 people together in the basement of a hotel, to 200 people in a large conference room. The Early Day is such a good concept – a chance to receive teaching (which I never normally get), a chance to catch up with old friends, and generally just relax. I hope that it continues in the same vein as it has done.
Throughout the weekend it was great to spend time with James Edwards, the Youth Associate from Sawyers Church. I have known James for a while and it was great to spend time bouncing ideas and sharing our thoughts from the sessions. James also gave me a lift home – which turned into quite a long trek given all the road works etc., but I made it back in time for our evening session at church.
I spent a reasonable amount of time, being in the same lovely hotel, with Mark Massey, from Rayleigh Baptist Church, and Gary Bott, from Billericay Baptist Church and some of their volunteers. I first met Mark last year at the conference and we kept in touch and met up every couple of months and it is a relationship that I value, the chance to tap into his wisdom and experience. I also spent a bit of time with Simeon Whiting, the 11-14s co-ordinator for YFC. Simeon and I grew up in the same youth group when we young and we use some of his resources so it was great to spend some time catching up and it gave me an opportunity to watch Match of the Day with a whole load of football mad guys.
All in all a great weekend.
The last couple of days various members of the church have found other funding opportunities that might be available to us. I am really excited that people are beginning to see that there are ways of developing our work by getting alongside other groups in the community. However, I am now looking to see if I can find one or two church members to help do applications etc., and do some policy updates for us. I think this is a great opportunity to involve those who wouldn’t be keen to do face-to-face work with young people but are really keen to use their gifts and talents to support the work.
We got a good chunk of money last night:
Monday Night Chillout – £2,000
Rock ‘Ard – £1,000
Rock Solid – £1,334
So out of the £8,160 we applied for we received £4334 all just for a few hours of work.
Fantastic – now we get to spend it!
Having got back from New York most of the weekend was spent preparing for a preach I was doing in church on Sunday morning. I had been given the opportunity to share something from my heart about why and what we do in children’s and youth work. I am really grateful (particulaly afterwards!) when I get given an opportunity to share and hopefully inspire the wider congregation about what we do week in, week out. I also find it really helpful as it sets my heart and mind back on the central reasons as to why we do what we do.
Since then I have spent most of the time trying to catch up with work. Key things include:
Activities and material for youth groups this week
My RE lessons for tomorrow afternoon
Dealing with some admin and background issues
Dsicovering that a mouse seems to be living in my office!
Hopefully as life settles down again into a more normal pattern I can get back into the blogging.