Open Paris blog posts

Open Paris header-v3

This time last week I was travelling back from Paris, having spent the weekend at the Open Paris Conference – it was a conference that at it’s heart was about discussion and questions rather than quick fixes.  The experience and maturity of the delegates showed through in the conversations that we had.

The early day had two main sessions which I blogged about

Here’s my blog posts from the main day conference:


Open Paris Session 6: Building Bridges to LGBT Youth

Open Paris header-v3

Session 6 of the Open Paris Conference was entitled “Building Bridges to LGBT Youth” and was led by Gemma Dunning, and Andrew Marin.  As usual, as the session is live blogged I apologise for any typos etc:


Gemma Dunning: Powerful clip from Bournemouth Space Project highlighting the issues around transphobia.      Youth group does table football, eat cake, talk, celebrate, cry, do real life.

Andrew Marin: Limited on time today so do check out if you’ve got more questions.

Question earlier this morning about what do you do if you believe differently but still want to love.  But the biggest issue is that we have to agree to have tangible love – that’s not true.  Equally it’s not blase chat, just because understanding of absolute truth might be different doesn’t mean there can’t be truth.

Key questions to ask

Grandma sent Andrew a terrible Christian magazine, never going to read it!  A couple of years ago there was a Billy Graham issue, and interviewed his daughter, and asked her what was her favourite memory of her dad, she said: President Clinton had a sex scandal, he lied about it, and then confessed on national TV, and the Republicans try to impeach him, so he decides to hold a rally for himself, and invite Billy Graham, and get him onto the top table, and maybe all the conservatives would leave Clinton alone.  Graham agrees to do it, someone from the Christian media asked Graham what are you doing supporting this man, and Billy Graham said: “Because it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love, and that’s what I am here doing.”

  • Do I have enough faith in the Bible to believe it is true when it says it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict?
  • Do I have enough faith in the Bible to believe it is true when it says it is the Father’s job to judge?
  • Do I have enough faith in the Bible to believe that I might be able to love people?

Originally, no, no and when I get around to it.  In Church we say iron sharpens iron, don’t judge but we have standards.

Example of Jesus

We haven’t earned the right to sharpen iron in some circles, for example, Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, “you who is without sin cast the first sin”, what did Jesus draw in the sand, it doesn’t matter as Jesus was kneeling and so they had to hit him to kill her.  He said sin no more, but after he’d risked his life for her.  We need to earn the right to speak before we speak.  Absolute truth is an earned right in the pluralistic society, internally it has come through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Their social, moral baseline is completely different.

Mark 1 Jesus heals a man with leprosy, and he says to hte man don’t tell anyone what I did, go to the Temple and give your offering according to the priests and the law.  Jesus whole life was subverting the old law and the Pharisees, but Jesus told him to not tell anyone, we’d tell CNN, submit to the temple which I will rebuild, submit ot the law even though I’m fulfilling it, give the priests the offering even though the priests will be the same ones who kill him.  Why?  Jesus cared more about cultural capital then about being right.  Jesus took the broader world metric view which cared deeply about the temple, the law, the priests, and placed it upon himself, and says I know what you’re working from, so these are the boundaries I have to work within.

Constant of tension

We place our worldview on others, and say these are the boundaries in which something great might happen in your life.  We need to incarnationally step inside it, using validation and affirmation.

Martin Luther King Jr locked in a jail in Birmingham wrote a letter, which in this letter he said I am not afraid of the word tension, earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive non-violent tension.  Our world doesn’t like tension, we don’t praise God for it, we say we need to get round it asap.  It’s too political, needs to be solved.  How many of us look back, retrospectively to a bad tension.  Growth comes retrospectively.  If we already know this, and focus tension through the lens of how we will growth through it that will help us.

Open Paris Session 5: Interfaith Partnerships panel discussion

Open Paris header-v3

Session 5 of the Open Paris Conference was a panel discussion on Interfaith Partnerships lead by Dan Haugh, Mark Oestreicher, Adam McLane, Rich and Chris Curtis.  As usual, as the session is live blogged I apologise for any typos etc:


Aware that with no one from another faith this is slightly different, but want to reflect from a Christian viewpoint on partnership and dialogue.

Adam: Grew up in a university town, Indiana, where most of his friends parents were Professors from the university from India, Japan etc.  Now live in a community of refugees, especially currently Somalians and East Africans.  Figuring out how that welcome and integration works.

Rich: Born and raised a Catholic so filled with guilt, left faith.  Mother passed away, walked into a church, and then began a journey within a different group of denominations.  Worked with young people for 8 years.  Wanted to travel the world alone, when his mum died he took over a child she sponsored, that had grown in 18 years to 13 children and wanted to meet them and see what difference the giving made.  God introduced him to places Rich never expected to be introduced to, Hindus, Budhhists, Muslims, denominations of Christians, new age spirituality – really glad he got to spend time with them – read the works of these different faiths – interestingly enough didn’t spend too much time with the Bible – maybe as his faith was so central and wanted to see common links with the faiths.  We’re not really that different, all linked, not afraid to spend time with those of other faiths, could learn from them, could witness for Jesus whilst with them.  Now linked to mainly Christian agencies, but also missions from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam etc.  Gives a much greater perspective, and a chance to reconfirm Christian viewpoints.

Dan: other faiths were seen as wrong, and when he did, his social streams emphasised that the only reason is to convert people, so he didn’t seem them as people but saw them as targets or projects and if it didn’t work he’d move on.  His “friends” knew that it wasn’t authentic friendship, and over time God’s grace has shown some different ways to do this.  Learnt when you know someone it is really hard to demonise someone – this is a good thing.

Gemma: Daughter attends school with 373 children with 67 languages, a Church of England school, but as part of the Gay Village, and the South Coast lots of different nationalities and seasonal workers.  Daughters has lots of friends of other faiths and sees it as normal, for example different names, faiths, and diets.

Andrew: What’s your theology of relationship, what does success look like in ecumenical inter-faith dialogue, do you feel there is anything that crosses the line?

Adam: incarnational as part of the minority.  Refugees are looked after but education etc. is not processed properly, so started an after-school tutoring group to help with homework, just to love neighbours as part of the community.

Dan: success can sometimes be not conversion but helping them to be a more devout Muslim, Jew etc., helping people to grow in their own faith.  Theologically influenced by The Gospel in the Pluralistic Society by Lesley Newbegin which speaks about this pluralistic world having distinctives of Jesus.  Learnt a lot, and been convicted of weakness of prayer from friends of other faiths, learning a posture of humility rather than a posture of arrogance.  Don’t want to put so much emphasis on what I can do, but on the power of the Holy Spirit.  We can be known as generous, compassionaite, justice, respect, dignity.  As we have stereotypes of other faiths they have those of us and maybe we can challenge them.

The concept of asking are you a Christian, and using scare tactics of hell is something I am not comfortable with.  Don’t mind saying it, but very happy with Christ exclusivity, but we’re all still trying to work out what is happening.

Rich: if my inter-faith relationship pulls me into a sinful state then I would stop it, but I’ve never been taken there by omeone of another faith or no faith, only by himself.

If Jesus died for all of us, what gives the club (the church) the right to say who is forgiven or not.  Weren’t all forgiven?

Adam: don’t want to undermine parental authority, so will check whether parents are ok, often fine until baptism when they in effect switch faiths.

Discussion moved on very rapidly to discuss blatancy v subtlety of faith (including story of 3 atheistic young people who were killed in a car crash and how would you handle that) and that different people have different styles and that is what we are called to be, but there is importance to understanding the commonality and the distinctiveness but that the path to God is only through Jesus.

There is something interesting in Christianity to reflect on what we do when someone says “no” to faith.

Open Paris Session 4: The Economy of Ecumenicalism

Open Paris header-v3

Session 4 of the Open Paris Conference was The Economy of Ecumenicalism – how denominational affiliation is passé by Dan Haugh.  As usual, as the session is live blogged I apologise for any typos etc:


So many divisions and splitting in the church.  At times we can find it funny, but these are historical splits, there are 41,000 denominations of the church within the Protestant church.

What denomination do you belong to and why?  This is such a shift from 50, 100 years ago where people would have known one denomination and stayed with it for life.

Statements of Faith can be long and are often about trying to make a distinctive about what makes someone right or wrong – not just about good standing with a denomination, but good standing with God.

Taize is an example of being truly ecumenical, shared leadership and community of protestant and catholic church – it shouldn’t work – but thousands of younger people come together who are tired of the fractures and the disagreements.  Through worship and the spiritual disciplines it is possible.

Motivated to come to ACP as often in non-denonimnational we lose the history and the tradition; where as inter-denomination we can learn from the denominations, employing pastors and leaders from different church traditions and backgrounds.  There major differences around the table, but what can unite us is far more powerful than what can split us.

Want to challenge us to be intentional to partner with other Christian traditions in our town.

A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren and The Church is Flat by Tony Jones have been very helpful in developing thinking.  Our thinking can be challenged by this bigger and broader kingdom of God.  At the end of the day in heaven we will not be known by our denominations, and if we are to pray the Lord’s prayer, “thy Kingom come, on earth as it is in heaven” what does that look like for us today.

Open Paris Session 3: Digital Media and Mission

Open Paris header-v3

Session 3 of the Open Paris Conference was From Guttenberg to Zuckerberg: How Social Media is Changing the Church by me.  If you wish to use the powerpoint click here:


Of all the messages the world has ever heard from politicians, story tellers, advertisers and more the gospel is still the stickiest.  The good news is that God’s message is your message, which makes your presence and voice online wholly (and holy) indispensable!

I want to challenge you today as a Christ follower to change your mind-set of the way you spend your time online.  I want to challenge you to forgo denomination, to sit in the same pew or row, and write this ongoing story together and share new ways to reach a fragmented world for Christ.

Together, as leaders we can light up the online space.  We can “go” and we can “tell” as Jesus asked each of us to do.  And we can change absolutely everything.

Game Changers

Throughout history, game changers have stepped forward in the faith to affect the way people communicate God’s truth in the culture in which they live.

As far back as 2002, Pope John Paul II got it.  He understood the significance of the Internet and inspired Christians around the globe to embrace it as a way to share Christ with the world.  Here’s what he said in a public speech:

“From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard?  For it is only when His face is seen and His voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption.  This is the purpose of evangelisation.  And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man … I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past, the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world, ‘the glory of God on the face of Christ.”

Communication channels have changed radically since Moses walked down the mountain, stone tablets in hand.  Old Testament scribes wrote on parchment made from treated skins of sheep or goats, and they used pens fashioned from reeds.  The prophets preached in synagogues and countryside’s.  Later, Paul wrote his letters on scrolls of papyrus and gave them to friends who would deliver them to the churches in other cities.

Little did Paul realise the frenzy that would kick up on the other side of his prison bars as game changers emerged, ready to take up the charge of the gospel.  Generations of followers communicated the gospel with various tools.  In 1440 the printing press changed everything as Bibles went from locked archives to retail.

In 1517 Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the University Church in Wittenberg and changed the game again.  Religious tracts were used as major channels throughout the turbulence of the Protestant Reformation.  John Calvin wrote, debated, and preached tirelessly during the Reformation.  In the eighteenth century, John Wesley travelled 250,000 miles by horseback in his efforts to spread the Word, and he preached in open fields to as many as twenty thousand people at a time.

In 1922 Aimee Semple McPherson preached what is believed to be the first radio sermon.  Christian writers such as A.W. Tozer and C.S. Lewis followed with critically important writings through World War II.  Passionate game changers such as Dwight Moody and Billy Graham also shared the gospel over the radio waves.  Television and revivals catapulted the reach of Billy Graham’s ministry.  His first television crusade generated 1.5 million letters to the television station, confirming the power of that medium.

Bill Bright was another game changer when he wrote The Four Spiritual Laws, the most widely distributed religious booklet in history, and later commissioned The JESUS Film, one of the most influential films ever made.  The renowned documentary on the life of Christ has reached more than 6 billion people in 234 countries and has been translated into one thousand languages.

But just because a technology evolves, there is no guarantee that a demand will support it.  Remember the Microsoft Zune?  The Apple Cube?  Google Buzz?  You don’t remember the technology failures because they failed.  Multiple factors can be attributed to why social media has grown so rapidly, including cheaper broadband, a fire to innovate and the global economy shift.  As unprecedented economic, political, and social factors continue to fragment continents, cities and even homes, words such as connection, community, and relationship increasingly dominate the conversation.

To explain this in statistics it took radio thirty-eight years to reach fifty million users; television, thirteen years; the Internet, four years; and the iPod, three years.  In just a nine month period, Facebook added one hundred million users, and downloads of iPhone applications reached one billion.

Still think using social media is a passing fad or another waste of time?  You may soon join the ranks of these leading, albeit well-meaning, thinkers:

  • “Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognise it as a conspicuous failure.”  Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology on Thomas Edison’s light bulb, 1880.
  • “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad”  The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, 1903.
  • “Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.”  Time, 1966
  • “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.”  Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer, and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926.
  • “Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.”  Dennis Gabor, British physicist, 1969.

Broadcast to Social Media

In the five hundred years or so between the inventions of the printing press and the Internet, we have lived in a broadcast media environment of books, radio, newspapers, and television.  These media served as highly effective platforms for sending a single, well-crafted, attention-getting message out to as many people as possible.  But broadcast media afforded little opportunity for feedback or discussion, except, perhaps, for letters to the editor.  In the church, we have used this one-to-many broadcast communication model in sermons, printed newsletters, letters from the Rector, and broadcasting worship services on Radio 3 or Songs of Praise.

Social media represents a profound shift in this model.  Today, almost anyone can publish a blog, have a YouTube channel, and host their own podcast – in effect an internet based radio station.  Anyone can comment on, extend, qualify, discuss, and share a clergy’s sermons.

In the era of broadcast media, the most influential ministry platforms tended to be those of large cong

Open Paris Session 2: Panel on ministering to LGBT teenagers

Open Paris header-v3

Session 2 of the Open Paris Conference was a panel discussion on ministering to LGBT teenagers moderated by Chris Curtis with Julian Masian, Samantha Montfort, Gemma Dunning, and Andrew Marin on the panel.  As usual, as the session is live blogged I apologise for any typos etc:


Julian: Programme co-ordinator for the LGBT group at the American Cathedral, accepting who you are as a Christian and an LGBT person, happy to share my story with you today.

Samantha: Communication Manager for the LGBT group at the American Cathedral, focussed on helping transgender people through transition, trying to increase awareness on this issue.

Gemma: Work as a Children’s and Youth Minister for a church, but also run an LGBT youth group

Andrew: Conservative church and community, but three best friends came out in three months, ended up living with them in Boys Town (the only official LGBT Town in the USA).  Lived there for 12 years, started the Marin Foundation to create bridges between the LGBT and Conservative (Religious, social, political) communities.


Samantha: went through a number of a challenges, abuse issues, almost an impossibility of a disconnect of what you feel and what everyone else sees.  Heard a lot growing up in the church, the church seemed very unaccepting.  Finished with serious suicide attempt – was in a coma for two weeks.  A Canon at the American Cathedral visited and said God doesn’t want you to be unhappy, went on a spiritual journey (even though Father was a priest) it felt like people did horrible things during the week and then moved on during a Sunday which wasn’t good.  The group helped Samantha to overcome a lot of issues, very supportive Bishop, see that Samantha is fine, although not always easy, but gives inspiration to help other people as very difficult thing to do.  Transgender issues are real and not always the same as the LGB issues.  Wanted support to feel that she wasn’t a reject.

Andrew: the deconstruction of LGBT is important, as Transgender had to fight to be part of the LGBT which has benefits, but also has separate issues.  Cultural consciousness and national dialogue in the Western world doesn’t change, but the faith perspective is dominated by the term sin.  Conservatives say we can’t have LGBT people in our church unless we see same-sex behaviour as sin; opposite view is conservatives oppressing us, and until they change their view nothing will happen.  Sin is the 18th most important factor for the LGBT community as to what would help them return to church, the biggest issue is patience and time.  I don’t want you to expect me to be fixed because I show up, and my understand and your understanding of fixed could be different.  Why don’t we provide that?

  1. Patience and time
  2. Non-judgemental environment – doesn’t mean we all have to agree – we don’t judge for the differences
  3. The support of family and friends
  4. Believe God loved them
  5. Understand the teachings when they go to church

As Church we should be doing all of these anyway, we’ve made sexual orientation too complex, the dominant sexual orientation of straight has confused the issues.

Julian: father is an evangelical Pastor, growing up with the idea of homosexuality as a sin.  For 20 years that’s all he heard, he had to hide his own sexuality from his family and church; couldn’t be gay and a Christian at the same time, so had to hide one part from the other, but at school and work he could be both!  The change started when he went to America to do an internship in Seattle, and came to know churches who were accepting LGBT people, and it changed his view on it, he could for the first time see LGBT people who were worshipping God, leading, preaching.  Hiding this back in France became an increasingly difficult issue.  Some people from his father’s church left, his father couldn’t approve it because of his position of authority, to keep his job his father had to condemn homosexuality.  So Julian had to leave the church, found other churches that were much more accepting.  Somehow can feel that his father’s church is evolving, even though he is not there, and thinking that maybe they could be more accepting as Julian had been worshipping, preaching and leading whilst being gay, they just hadn’t known that, the Holy Spirit still worked in him.

Gemma: Youth worker core value is young people have a right to thrive not just survive.  The young people are used to living a dual, treble or even quadruple life, with not thinking of inviting gay friends to church.  When working with LGBT people, they think the church judges them, they think when she works in a church she makes the tea, when she was inducted a massive cake was made, the lady in the church who made it said to share with the young people.  People are suspicious of the motive, think she might want to pray away the gay, she wants to create space for people to reflect.

When applying for church based youth work, even though had a BA in Theology, nearly completed an MA, been a youth worker for 16 years but still got turned down for interview let alone the job numerous times.  Vicar tweeted Gemma and asked her to share some stories.  Do we encourage homosexuality, which really means do we encourage practicing sex, but lots of work is suicide prevention, work with those who have been made homeless, 1-2-1 work on identity.  He then offered her to do the interview process as if the Gospel is the gospel then it is for everyone.  Modelling equality – first women on staff in the church – but also doing the LGBT work.



Grew up in the church, ministered for 20 years, always been in contact with Christians, find they often (himself included) can’t handle the topic.  Come up with a Biblical view on the topic, but often we need to ask a Christian view on it, we don’t like to condemn people but still feel it is awkward, and possibly biblically still wrong.  When hearing the work people are doing heart breaks.  How do I balance what I know, what I can discuss with people and the actual people I meet.  It is not the only topic where we have this theological view when confronted with actual people it changes your thoughts.

Andrew: the biggest misnomer is that to validate we have to agree.  A lot of the contemporary battle is around theological viewpoints, but it becomes validation v affirmation.  Samantha’s story is valid, it doesn’t matter who agrees or disagrees, her story is her story.  It would be like someone saying that his three friends didn’t come out, of course they did!  Get invited to a lot of gay weddings, the more conservative entities don’t understand why he goes, they think he must fully agree with it; when Jesus showed up to people’s houses did he not believe that he was the Son of God anymore; and secondly, can say that couple feels the exact love that Andrew and Brenda felt when they got married.


How is transgender issues different from LGB?

Samantha: quite specific issues, it isn’t something you come across every day, and not something you can understand unless you’ve done it yourself, you can understand sexual attraction even if gender is different, but the concept that you wake up each morning and feel confused with your body is difficult to relate to.  Biblical issues, some bits in Genesis, but nothing really specific (Mt 19:4, 12; Mt. 25; Isaiah; Deuteronomy; 1 Corinthians), a superficial reading of the Bible doesn’t help, have to look for dignity of the person, respect of others.  It is not something that happens in isolation, one person going through transition, 40% will commit suicide attempts, 12% suffer sexual assault, 80% receive some form of sexual harassment, 10% leave school of which 50% becomes homeless, three times more likely to lose your job, of which 40% become homeless.  Often need some practical help alongside spiritual needs – have to minister to the whole person.  The Church often feels like it can’t offer them anything.


What one thing does the church and youth ministry need to grapple with?

Julian: church to say we don’t always have it right, we could think and process together.

Gemma: education as they have folk theology they can;t articulate where there theology comes form.

Samantha: listening, accepting, keeping the door open, letting them know hte door isn’t closed.

Andrew: as a hetrosexual he can’t understand LGBT, so literally go around the neighbourhood, asking questions, “I’m straight, I’ve no ideas what it is to be you, will keep making poor parallels so need to ask questions but not with malintent, or to be harmful, but I just need to know, so please let me into your story so I can have that education with the clear conceptualization that as a straight person I can’t understand – right from the gate you can’t relate.”


Books to recommend around transgender: Luna, Parrotfish.


Open Paris Session 1: Student-Led Adult-Mentored Ministry

Open Paris header-v3

Session 1 of the Open Paris Conference was on Student-Led Adult-Mentored Ministry by Timothy Eldred.  As usual, as the session is live blogged I apologise for any typos etc:


Grew up as a church planters child, with no youth minister, but instead, the question how will children serve as part of the mission of the church.  In the 1870s 57 young people were told: “I promise to never do anything in the church that you can do yourself”.  That is what we call youth ministry today.

But how far has the youth ministry apple fallen from the tree if originally it wasn’t about doing things for children and young people when we produce polished perfect programmes for young people to consume.  Aren’t we all sensing a space where young people who aren’t allowed to lead will leave the church.

Student-led is popular, a buzz phrase, but not what it really is, it often is just delegation from adults to young people.  It needs to come from their heart, something they birth, they own.  Jesus recruited 11 young people and 1 adult – only Peter and Jesus in Matthew 17 paid the Temple Tax and you had to be 20 to do that.  Jesus recruited 12 young men, resourced them for 3 and a half years, did life and ministry with them, and when they were half scared and half ready he turned them loose.  We would have done Discipleship 201 as they weren’t quite getting it.  He doesn’t want them perfected, polished, fully capable, he wants them to rely on him and the Holy Spirit, but full of passion.

Purpose of Youth Ministry: to help young people discover, develop, and deploy a God-sized, Christ-centred mission for their life.  Like a school science lab, lots of dangerous equipment and chemicals but under the right supervision can be brilliant.  Using the markings of a football pitch and giving them that space to play in.  Finding out their gifts, skills, how they interact with others – leading to the biggest issue for young people – their identity – that they have a birthright as children of the most high and wonderful God.  Fitting in is fake and artificial, belonging is authentic, a freedom to try new things, not waiting until 25, 30, 35 etc., to do something, and for it to be something that doesn’t necessarily fit within the church roles.

How many of you have a mentor?  A relationship where someone knows enough about you to destroy your life.  What does it look like, how do you meet?  We crave the relationship with those who are nice but not always nice – they tells us not what we want to hear but what we need to hear – it’s slightly masochistic, but we crave that higher authority.  When did we discover the craving of higher expectations and greater responsibility, young people want this now.  The military will put an 18 year old behind a $40 million dollar and we won’t let an 18 year old lead a teen devotion.  The youth worship band reaches to friends in such a different way to how we can even if it actually sounds awful.  We’re promised the Gates of Hell can’t be broken, but we won’t risk a teenager to do the PowerPoint, serve drinks, lead worship, preach.

They want a chance to get dirty, who gave you a chance?  Often we were allowed to do something up front, and yet lots of our young people are gifted, but they’re not necessarily wanting to be upfront.  We don’t connect them with their heart, their gifts.

When we watch Jesus train teenagers we miss the main point – Jesus left – who would have listened to the disciples if Jesus was still there.  No saying to quit, you could get fired, but Burger King always hires, and they pay more, and you will always have teenagers around you so you’ve got a new youth group!

Is there anything you can’t train a young person to do?  No.  Youth ministry is easy as it’s glorified wedding planning or event planning.

God said to Adam you need someone else, even though you have me, you need someone else with the skin suit on.  As a pastor we spend 75% of our time sitting in our office on own, who are we effecting?  We know there is some study and paperwork to do, but to have an impact on people you need to spend time face-to-face.  How are you training your replacement, if you had three and a half years to train your replacement what would you do differently?

How do we integrate young people into the life and work of the church as co-equals, co-owners, and co-labourers?  Aren’t young people as equal as we are at the foot of the cross, we see them develop a sense of passion, we can help them develop something they own.  What would you change?

We gain our identity from our work, our relationships but isn’t being a child of the most high God.  The truth is you’re not important as you think you are – youth ministry is 16 out of 17 according to George Barna that influence a Christian teenager.  You have to influence the home, they may not act like they listen to mum or dad but the home is always the number one mission.

Can relax if a project is not up to scratch as the process not the product is more important.  The process is what makes us who we are, not the product, yet we only quantify the product, not the process and the failure experiences which successful people learn from.

How do we properly fit young people uniquely created by God for significance and service into the cause of Christ?

We’re sperm and egg but we’re also, regardless of faith, made in the image of God, they have issues that break their heart, but they don’t know what, as we tell them (and it doesn’t), yet they have something that God is breaking their heart for.  Something should break your heart, something should piss you off, should bring a tear to your eye.  So what would you do about … (whatever it is that breaks your heart).

Open Paris: Early Day Session 2: Personality and the Youth Worker

Open Paris header-v3

Session 2 of the Open Paris Early Day was on Personality and the Youth Worker: The difference who you are makes to what you do and led by Chris Curtis.  As usual, as the session is live blogged I apologise for any typos etc:


Place yourself on the contiunuum between I can play anytime and I must finish the task before I can play.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

At times struggle with the fact that someone, probably from California, is trying to put you into a box.  The best indicators are the ones that allow the individuals to flourish.  Rather than a box it should put you into a artist scale to help draw.

Karl Jung wanted to look at how humans take information around them, he developed theories around this.  Catherine Briggs and Isabelle Myers developed his work and took it further.  In World War II – there was a big issue about how women worked in the workplace to best use their skills.  They took Jung’s work and developed a questionnaire to help indicate where people would best fit.

  • Intuition
  • Feeling
  • Sensing
  • Thinking

All are at play, but that you have a preference towards the way in which you like to work.  Similar to being left handed doesn’t mean you can’t use your right hand to pick something up, but instinctively you pick things up with your left hand.

Sensing (S) & Intuition (N)

Some people see detail, exactly what is there, understanding the colours, a razor sharp eye for what is there in front of you – the sensing preference, often connected to reality – aware of the movies, and that which is possible or not possible.

At the other end is the intuition – people who see connections and links – people who link things back to other experiences or stories.  Often imaginative, happy to make a biro a spaceship etc.

Two imaginary youth workers – one who is more sensing, the other more intuitive, how could the two preferences conflict and compliment each other.  The issue, for example, when writing a talk do you plan in a linear or scattergun format.  Those who are intuitive enjoy brainstorming, but won’t think through the practicalities or even actually doing the programme.  The sensing end is at its extreme more detail focussed, give me a crazy idea and I will make it work and deliver it for you.

Every preference brings a strength, and recognising this is important.

Thinking (T) & Feeling (F)

How do you make decisions?

Thinking or feeling?  Some people who when they make a decision they sit outside of the decision and they base it on what is right, quite cold and analytical; at the other end are the feeling group, reflecting on the impact of it on other people.

You’re trying to convince your Elders/PCC/Deacons to sell an expensive camp?  How would you do it?

S: probably happens in the office, already gained some funding, bullets, budgets, a packet of information, appointed first aiders, Child Protection, parental and youth surveys from previous times

N: probably on the phone or even after the event, bring young people to tell stories as to what camp meant; vision for the actual camp

Who line manages you, and how could you best present information to them, or how you contribute in a team to ensure everyone understands what each other are thinking.

Other areas

Conflict is often between those who are Judging (J) and Perceiving (P).  Extraverts (E) wants to connect with other people, that’s where they get energy from, rather than introversion (I).