If you get the chance well worth a visit.
It is something one half of the population has long suspected – and the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men. In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day – 13,000 more than the average man.
Recently in Shenfield we have had a series of robberies. When I saw this on Justin Taylor’s blog it made me laugh:
Paul then shared his experiences of starting the Wire project which were really helpful in the different ways that the work has developed and the way that inter-church work can be really successful. Something to continue to mull over and come back to me thinks.
You reach a point when you have to rethink everything before. Jesus forces us to do this. His thoughts on the Kingdom of God turned the Jewish thoughts upside down. He redefined the Kingdom as “a reign not a realm, authority not geography”.
Youth work is prophetic for the church. We need to rethink the faith – the message, the scope, the lifestyle. Andy then looked briefly at 3 areas:
Proclamation – Luke 10 shows how we must have preaching of the word, social action and a charismatic spirit. We must stop this pick ‘n’ mix attitude.
Spirituality – we must know the king to know the kingdom. Ensure that our youth work isn’t a place where Jesus is left out – it certainly can be easy to do that.
Discipleship – have we aligned ourselves with God’s kingdom and are we encouraging our young people to align with God?
As soon as the riot is over Paul moves on. He leaves because his disciples have been trained – they handled a riot of 25,000 people. Who are our disciples, who are we giving some ministry responsibility to?
The leaders of the province worship Artemis but they want to protect Paul! Who are those in our area who are our friends but hate our faith. Paul must have held his tongue on certain things, e.g. statues, to build a friendship that is incredibly important in the long run.
The rest of the session was an expansion of that and the discussion from the previous sessions with various questions from us being answered. Points included:
That the Christian community should always be progressive – probably small steps rather than big leaps.
Use background reading to really understand the culture and the context.
“Your calling is where your passion meets the world’s biggest need”
We are invited to be a Eucharist (good gift) for the world. However, you can’t be a Eucharist endlessly. It is why there must be rest and an opportunity to be refilled.
We started by looking at how Jesus had priorities – his was to get to Jerusalem – and because of that he was able to say no to people. He stared people in the face with real needs and still said no. What is your Jerusalem – you can’t meet the needs of every child and leader. If you think you can then you are using your ministry to hide an arrogant ego.
From this we had a great period of time on the need for Sabbath and how that should look. We looked at the importance of 1 day of rest in 6 – to book periods in the diary – to know that all you are going to do is to go for a walk and then sit and look out of the window – but the rest and refreshment gained from that is more important than productivity.
The key to it all is sustainability – he gave the example of a pastor who when interviewing for a youth worker said he didn’t want someone to give 110% for 2 years but 85% for 35 years. Can you do it for 20 years plus?
We then jumped across to examine preaching and teaching. Rob suggests that we need a shift from the emergency of trying to get a session sorted for a couple of days time to allowing God to give us something to say. He does this through a long process which might easily take 10 months. Starting with just a random thought Rob will try and develop it in to a sermon or series of sermons – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But if you aren’t desperately searching for a sermon for a couple of days time then it doesn’t matter if they don’t all work out.
We concluded this section by thinking about how for many youth workers we work in Lystra but receive our pay cheque from Jerusalem and so the key question is how much of Jerusalem do the Lystra folks have to follow?
The second half was spent looking at four locations in the Bible:
Jesus repeats the cycle for us:
1. Let’s leave – “come and follow me” (Jesus is the new Moses).
2. The new kingdom is happening.
3. Unlike the previous Son of David this one gets it right.
4. The need to go home – he welcomes us as the prodigal son on a return from exile.
Lindz from LZ7 did a mini gospel talk which went down really well with the young people – just under 50 came out of the gig to be prayed for.
All in all, a great night. Big thanks to the large team who worked really hard to put in on.
It was started last term and following a few random sessions we usedYFC’s RS2 introductory pack. This term we have been using Simply Junior High’s small groups stuff on the Fruits of the Spirit – but I am not sure what to do next. We want to keep high energy and participation, but make sure we do open the Bible up (often the only time they are quiet is when they are reading the scriptures out loud) and also something that isn’t too expensive.
Any thoughts – shall I just continue with the Simply Junior High small group stuff or is there something else you recommend?