Middle-class syndrome

I am running a session next weekend on reaching the middle-class syndrome. How do you show a young person that they need God when they have three i-pods etc. I am planning on throwing out some big questions for people to discuss and share ideas but I don’t know if anyone has any pearls of wisdom on this topic. Someone recommended The Road to Whatever: Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence by Elliott Currie. Sounds like an interesting read so will probably end up buying it to look at, give me a shout if you know of any useful literature or have read the book.

School assemblies

What topics do you do for assemblies. Working in four local schools (two primary and two secondary) I am regularly invited to do assemblies. However, it is interesting that topics and details that I am given. Sometimes we get great topics and a lot of freedom and at other times we get very bizarre titles with lots of random detail. There is some thought about trying to develop a model assembly year plan, especially for the primary schools, as many of the local teachers really struggle to come up with a plan for them. Does anyone have any thoughts or comments?

Schools work

Earlier today I wrote a post about exciting things happening in our schools work but didn’t save it, and for some reason it got lost during publishing so here I am trying to rewrite that post now in Word!

Our primary schools work has really taken off in one of the schools. Yesterday was the second week of a three week module on the Bible which I am teaching to two year 6 classes. It is great fun because they are learning stuff but also throwing out lots of questions: do you really believe that Mary was a virgin; who was Jesus’ dad; who created God etc. We are hoping to squeeze in a type of grill-a-Christian opportunity at the end of next week’s lesson so that we can answer some of their questions and encourage their thinking and reflection. That is after all what one of the key points of RE is.

Linked to all of that I am being observed next week by some of the senior teachers – it was something I have asked for, mainly because I want to make sure that I am doing stuff okay, be it the style of teaching, the way I write on the board, the questions I ask etc. especially as the school is due OFSTED this year; also there is a possibility that the teaching staff won’t have to stay in my lessons any more which would be great as my other reason for teaching is to build relationships with the pupils so that when they are in times of need we are used to help with the pastoral care. It is a really exciting and rewarding role and I will be interested to see what comments and feedback I get next week.

Blogger deleting posts

Why does blogger always delete your post when you highlight the whole of your post to edit it in the create box? I have just written a post about the schools work I did yesterday and then it is gone – it is so frustrating. I must remember to write my posts in Word etc. and then copy and paste across.

Great day off

For the first time in ages I had a great relaxing day off. I got up late, played a bit on Championship Manager 4 (I seem to be getting quite addicted), made some bread, did a whole load of gardening and then did some cooking. It was the first day off, on my new schedule where I take Tuesdays off, and one I am hoping continues as well as that.
Saturdays were my day off but that didn’t really work out because of the constant demand to be at events or activities on Saturdays and so it never really happened fully. Although moving it to a Tuesday means that I don’t see Hannah as much, in theory, it means that the jobs around the house – the cooking, gardening, paper work etc., that needs to be done will get done, and then we get to go to dance together! It also means I can have more of a relaxing life – I get to do what I want on my day off. All in all I am thoroughly looking forward to having nothing to do – something I don’t normally like doing.

Happy Days

I love that phrase made famous by Jamie Oliver. The last few days have all been good.

Thursday was preparing for and then running volunteer leader meetings with the different teams who run some of our mid-week groups. They seemed to go quite well – all the volunteers seem keen to develop the groups and see them grow, and ultimately to disciple the young people and help them in their spiritual journey. It has led to me doing some thinking on how we attract families as a church. We are good at getting a reasonable amount of children to our mid-week groups but struggle to replicate that on a Sunday morning. I am sure I will be posting more about my thoughts in the next few weeks.

The other thing that was really good is that many of them seem receptive to the training opportunities (Children’s Ministry Conference and Junction 28). I am hoping in the next few days to finalise the funding applications needed, and the booking of my volunteers on various events.

Highlights from the weekend included the Junction 28 AGM with some changes in the leadership, which are both sad and happy at the same time. Mary who founded the group and has led it for the last four years has decided it is time to move on and so I and Steve Tinning have taken over.

Steve and Lauren came over for dinner on Saturday evening which was lovely. It was great to spend time with someone else who shares many of the same passions and frustrations and to see the way in which because of the work we do, our life is different to that of many other young married couples because our work is our calling and, to a degree, our life.

As a side point some of the local youth workers have been blogging. Tim from New Harvest Community Church has been blogging for a while, and Steve from Brentwood Baptist Church has recently joined the blogsphere, although seems to have stopped already!

Sunday was a busy day at church with lots of activities starting back. We made bread in younger church which was great fun – the kids seemed to really enjoy the kneading and managing to get flour everywhere! In the evening we had the first Doubt your Doubts of the year, which was great. The band seemed to be on form, and Tim gave a good short talk and then left all the young people 20 minutes to find some space and do some guided activities which were so well written.

Today has been a day of admin and trying to sort exactly how the £6000 grant that we got will be spent – the cheque is supposed to arrive this week which is great as we get to spend it during the sales and get more for our money. Tessa, my volunteer admin assistant, came in this afternoon and helped me beast a whole load of mail outs so I had a large sense of satisfaction.

This evening our two Monday night groups started back again. Both seemed quite chilled out, but it was lovely to catch up with all the young people. They are at the age, where at least some of the time, they seem to really appreciate what we do with them.

Even more exciting though is that tomorrow is my day off. It has been changed to a Tuesday because stuff get on cropping up on a Saturday that I had to do and so I would loose out on my day off. I am hoping to get lots of sleep, spend some time reading, do a bit in the garden, and play on Championship Manager which I have got back off Phil, my brother-in-law. As I said at the start happy days!

Living in Brentwood x being male = Long life!

Recently The Daily Telegraph had an article on some figures from the Office for National Statistics about how where we live links to how long we will live. The statistics basically show the gap between different local authorities is the biggest since comparable records began in 1991. This isn’t good, but I was surprised to find that being male and living in Brentwood places me in one of the top 10 local authorities!

Servant hearts

Around the web there have been various stories highlighted where people have taken a risk or made a sacrifice to make a difference for others. Here are a couple I have seen:

On A Place for the God Hungry (a blog I occasionally read) is a story of a family who took in 44 people who were stranded in a snow storm while on the road and just gave them their house to hang out in, food to eat, and a place to sleep until they could get back on the road.

On the BBC News yesterday was this story of Wesley Autrey, a construction worker in New York, who jumped onto the tracks of the New York subway and rolled with 19-year-old Cameron Hollopeter (who had fallen onto the track while having a seizure) into the trough between the rails at 137th Street station.

It is great to see normal things taking risk for others. That is what we should all be prepared to do.

Some things around the web …

Some things from around the web:
Justin Taylor highlights how BibleMap.org integrates Google Maps and the ESV text to create an interactive Bible atlas. He refers people to the ESV blog for more information.

Out of Ur, the online side of Leadership Journal, has a series of posts on resolutions and how in several sittings over a one-year period, Jonathan Edwards drafted 70 resolutions by which he governed his life and ministry.

Josh Griffin has posted a series of youth work training videos, each a couple of minutes long, on his blog and you tube. Check them out and pass them onto others – well worth keeping an eye on.

Books I have read

Another book I was given over the Christmas period was 99 Things to Do Between Here and Heaven: Live Extreme! by Peter Graystone. Peter has been involved in the leadership of Emmanuel Church, South Croydon where I grew up. He is a great speaker and writer, someone who is not afraid to say what he thinks and really get to the heart of what a bible passage is about.

This book contains 99 different ideas of things to do between now and heaven. They vary in content, time and cost requirements, suggestions include lighting a candle, doing an extreme sport, taking a sabbath and learning New Testament greek, planting a tree, or becoming a beer or wine buff. The ideas are laid out neatly on double page spreads with some details as to how to do the activity, information on time and financial costs, a couple of bible verses for reflection, some interesting quotes, and space for you to write your own progress.

I had great fun thinking about which of the 99 I had done, but also other people, including Peter, had done. The book is well worth dipping into and every so often going and doing one of the suggestions. Definitely worth getting hold of.