This morning’s session on “I’ve been doing this for years, why isn’t it working?” is being led by Ali Campbell and Richard Shaw.  As usual, as this is a live blog please ignore any typos and spelling mistakes.

Made lots of mistakes, reminded during them to look at Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through him who gives me strength and Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – asking are we doing things in our strength or God’s strength.

So often we try the same thing time and time again and it still doesn’t work.  Reminded of the Albert Einstein quote:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Someone replied:

Madness is performing the same task over and over, and expecting a different outcome.

We do that with our youth work, doing the same thing, time and time again.  Today we’re going to use the following model as a learning community to learn from one another:

  • Start – what do we want to start, what do we dream of
  • Stop – what isn’t working, what do we need to stop
  • Change – if we’re stopping something how do we need to change, reflecting on what we need to alter to engage with our young people
  • Continue – what’s working really well, what do we want to continue growing in our youth work.

Each group tried to use the model to review a youth work.  Feedback included:

  • Start: How you can engage with new young people coming in an inter-generational way?
  • Stop: Leading everything yourself, involving young people properly in the leadership.
  • Change: Not being frightened to talk change with your team.
  • Continue: Recognising change and what people see as the way forward
  • Start: More helpers for our groups to carry on across the groups, reviewing who is doing what, as some leaders aren’t suited to the group they’re working with, and engaging more young people.
  • Stop: looking at what we’re doing as youth workers and thinking do we need to stop our role as not receiving support and funding.
  • Change: changing the Minister’s mindset, trying new ideas and resources
  • Continue: keep the passion and supporting the young people.

There’s so much more we could say but not enough time.  Interesting to see what the model blows up in our mind, it’s so easy to get caught up in the regular pattern of what we do that when we see a problem we don’t address them but just continue them in the same way which then causes concern, stress and anguish.  Models help us to reflect on our work, to re-engage with the process.

SOmetimes we get carried away with the dream and forget the reality.  Dreaming isn’t devoid of stepping out to something new, but aware of tension of reality and that God can do something immeasurably more.  Too often in ministry I’ve set out with a dream that is impossible – that then leads Ali to stop doing everything; other keeps going even if it kills them and others on the team.

What is it we need if we’re going to start this?  Some people are fantastic dreamers but the reality isn’t going to happen.  Some volunteers might be fed up with the dreamer leader who never delivers.

Who are the dreamers, the detail people, the people who make everything happen – the troops who just want to serve and will do anything.  If you don’t build a team it will just be you, how will you take people with you.

Where does our vision fit in the grand scheme of things – are we just so frustrated with church we want our bit to make it look like how we imagine it should look like.  Often the wrong way of starting it.  Are we thinking about the young people’s needs, or even better are we doing it with the young people.

Which way will see results in a better way  – doing it with – but the challenge is it might morph into something different, but the young people leading it is exciting and more risky.  We have a sense of control and risk management which is why we need to think about who are the stake holders.

Again because of our characters and personalities there may be certain things that we always start.  Do we focus on OUT: evangelism and mission; IN: discipleship and nurturing; UP: worship.  We need a balance between the triangle.

Quick thoughts to end with:

  • Sometimes we stretch ourselves too thinly and we don’t do things well – better to do a few things brilliantly
  • What is the DNA of your church, no two churches are the same, even when they’re on the same street, what is it, is it all about worship, the great welcome, teaching.  Bill Wilson said “the need is the core” – we have to meet the need somehow.
  • With Stop and Change communication is key as not everyone thinks the same as you so you need transparency in the process to bring people with you.
Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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