Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Grubby Faith training

Last May we hosted the really interesting Sticky Faith tour.  This year it returns in the form of the Grubby Faith tour run by Scripture Union, Urban Saints and the Centre for Youth Ministry on Tuesday 24th May at St. Andrew’s Centre, 7.00-9.00pm.

 

Active engagement in mission (in its broadest sense) is key to disciple and living faith.  So can we involve children and young people in this?  A core finding from the Fuller Institute’s ‘Sticky Faith’ research was the difference that participation in outward focussed church and family activities made to developing faith that grows out and lasts.

 

The evening will explore what we mean by mission, and how parents, youth and children’s leaders and church leaders can engage children and young people in God’s passionate mission to his world.

 

7pm Coffee and cake

7.30pm Start

9.00pm Finish

 

Come join the conversation to be inspired and encouraged to invest in children and young people in a new way.

It’s Your Move Early Bird Offer

One of the highlights of my summer is working with all our local year 6 pupils as they prepare to transition to secondary school.

One of the resources we use to help them is It’s Your Move from Scripture Union.  It is a 64-page book that has already provided over 1,400,000 children with much needed support, answering many of their questions as well as giving lots more advice.

We currently run a one hour lesson for Year 6s in each local Junior school and then present It’s Your Move to the pupils through a special assembly.

It’s Your Move is also available in Welsh as Y Cam Nesa

The full price for a pack of ten books is £20, but Scripture Union have a fantastic offer of ten books for only £12 if you order before 31 March 2016. Order It’s Your Move today!

Training in Schools Work

A fantastic opportunity to be equipped and inspired once again in schools work by Scripture Union.

All the latest information from the education and school perspective, tips on developing a strategy and good practice on working within schools are just some of the topics covered on this course. The course will run at:

  • Wilson Carlile Centre, Sheffield, 19-21 September
  • High Lee, Hoddesdon, from 27-29th September

Find out more about prices, venue and course material here

Children wide open to God says survey

Great snippet from an article in the latest Connecting You from Scripture Union

Children are open to spirituality and have a natural inclination for prayer, whether or not their parents have an active faith, says a new piece of research commissioned by Scripture Union as part of the Guardians of Ancora project.

The survey of children aged 8 to 12 years old and their parents backs up what SU have always known – that children have enquiring minds, big imaginations and an innate desire to reach out to God and, given the right stimulus, will do so naturally.

Data gathered from children’s use of the game will also feed into the largest ever longitudinal study of the faith development of 8 to 11 year olds, in turn helping Scripture Union to create more effective tools for Bible engagement with this age group.

Assembly: It’s Your Move

It's your move 1

Here’s a copy of today’s assembly linked to the It’s Your Move books we presented to Year 6:

Chris is at the front of the assembly, waiting for Steph.  Chris apologises for Steph being late and explains that she is going on holiday straight after the assembly so she is probably still packing.

At this point Steph comes in wearing sunhat, glasses, pulling the suitcase and whistling happily.  Chris asks Steph if her packing has gone well.  Steph says that she has packed everything that she needs for the holiday and it’s going to be a great holiday etc.

Steph asks the children if they would like to see what is inside the suitcase.

The items are taken out one by one:

  • A kite – to fly on the beach
  • Sandwich box – for snacks
  • Ball of string – in case you want to fly the kite higher
  • Hammer – in case anything gets broken
  • Radio – for listening to while flying the kite on the beach

Chris starts to get impatient asking Steph if she is sure that she has packed everything that she needs.  Steph says she is absolutely certain.  Chris then asks where her clothes, toiletries and money are.  Steph replies, disconsolately, that she has forgotten them.

Chris explains that in life it is really important to take certain things with us, wherever we move on to.

Many years ago in a city called Ur, lived a man called Abraham.  Ur was a fine city.  There were many comfortable houses for rich and wealthy people like Abraham.

One day, God spoke to Abraham.  He had something very surprising to say.  “Leave Ur” God said “and set out for a country that I will show you.  I will make you great and bless you.  I will make you a blessing to all people everywhere”.

Abraham had to think hard.  If he did as God said, he would leave the comfort of city life and have no settled home.  He would live in a tent, moving from one source of water to another.  But Abraham trusted God enough to obey him.  He and Sarah, his wife, packed up their possessions and got ready to leave Ur.

At first they stayed at Haran, many miles to the north, until Abraham’s old father, Terah, died.  Then Abraham, Sarah and Lot, their nephew, set off on the journey.  Canaan was the name of the place where God led Abraham.  It was a lovely place – called by some as the ‘land flowing with milk and honey’.  Which means that it was a beautiful place with lots of animals and plenty to eat. Abraham liked it very much.  The only problem was that Abraham and Sarah had no children and besides that, they were both very very old.  But Abraham trusted God.

So one night, God said to him “Can you count those stars in the sky?  I promise that you will have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky.  I am the God who brought you out of Ur.  I will be your God and your children’s God for ever.  I am going to give you and Sarah a son and I will give you this country for his descendants to live in.”  Although God’s promises sounded impossible, as Abraham stood there in the night, he believed with all his heart that God would keep his word.

Chris explains how God asked Abraham to leave where he was – to move onto something new.  He didn’t know what lay ahead of him but he trusted God to look after him.

As we move towards the end of this school year, it’s a time for everyone to move on to something new.  Everyone has changes to face – new classes, new teachers – for the teachers, new pupils and for the year 6s a brand new school.

Wherever we move on to in life, it’s really important to take things with us – our friendships, the things we’ve learned both at school and at home and something else that is very important to Christians – our faith in God.  Christians believe wherever we go, whatever changes we face, God is always with each of us all of the time.

Digital Children: Children meeting God – in the digital realm

Maggie Barfield spoke on Children meeting God – in the digital realm

“… people with a story to tell are finding: that to tell it, they need not only to entertain their audience, but to involve them, invite them in, let them immerse themselves.”  The Art of Immersion, Frank Rose (editor of The Wired), Norton 2011

We have the stickiest story so we need to involve, invite, and immerse them.

CUBE: Working together with the American Bible Society to help 8-11s grow in their faith online.

Doing it because of the Great Commission.  Christians have done this for 2,000 years.

Most children aged 8-11s spend 2 hours online a day so if we’re going to fulfil the Great Commission we need to go online and speak their language.  Instead of telling them what to do we ask them “what should you be doing?”  “What should we be doing to help children meet God through the Bible and prayer?”

Looked at all the areas of child development, in faith and spirituality, ways of handling the Bible, where education and learning styles is going, technology developments – tablets didn’t exist when initial project started, safety and child protection.  Digital delivery quite quickly came

Marc Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, 2001: “think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors … are ‘native speakers’ of the language.

“Digital natives …”

  • Used to receiving information really fast
  • Like to parallel process and multi-task
  • Prefer their graphics before their text
  • Prefer random access (like hypertext) – finding things on Wikipedia that are irrelevant
  • Function best when networked
  • Thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards
  • Prefer games to “serious work”.

“a new type of narrative is emerging – one that’s told through many media at once in a way that is nonlinear, that’s participatory and often game-like, and that’s designed above all to be immersive.  This is “deep media”: stories that are not just entertaining, but immersive taking you deeper …”  The Art of Immersion, Frank Rose (editor of The Wired), Norton 2011

Justin Barrett from Fuller Theological Seminary says:

“Children learn things that their minds are tuned to learn more readily than things that go against that natural tuning … children’s minds are not a level playing field.  They are tilted in the direction of belief.”

Faith can be …

  • Shaped by teaching
  • Enhanced through response
  • Grown in community

This is all works when we live in a digital age.

Product definition

Our solution is to pursue a site that is child-focussed including gaming, entertaining and information.

“This stage of development has been called by some “the age of the young scientist” in that it is a time when things are either right or wrong.  It is also a period of considerable spiritual awareness.”  Howard Worsley, A Child Sees God

Everything we are aiming to do through CUBE can be done through a Virtual World, innovations that game writers are surprised by, finding new ways to tell and explore Bible stories with a genuine response in the online environment.  Doing some new work on the metrics and indicators of faith.

Matters Arising

  • How do you “reward” activity in a digital world – it’s normally for shooting or killing something!
  • Avoiding the anticlimax – revolutionary fun and then the Bible story – interesting and challenging.
  • Grace – how do you share this concept of God’s grace against the
  • Moving between game and beyond-game – and back.
  • Balance between fun and purpose.
  • Who am I?  Is it real or not?

Are we nearly there yet?

Done a lot of research and thinking.  Ready to press the button, but there isn’t much to show.  Want to have something available to the public in January 2014 to build an audience, and next April launch fully, scaling up the site from then on.

www.projectcube.org

www.facebook.com/ProjectCube