Youth work works is a chance to hear 6 youth workers share an idea that they’ve been developing that’s working in their location.

Wayne Dixon – Seasonal presentations

In 1994 at Slough Baptist Church did some presentations to celebrate the centenary, wanted to do follow up events.  Developed Christmas Unwrapped and Easter Cracked which has two aims:

  • Positive experience of a warm welcome
  • Share something about Christmas and Easter

People are doing this all over the country.  If you’re interested have a chat, check out the website or come and visit a 90 minutes session – bring your own lunch!  You can adapt it, make it relevant for year 6 and 7.  One of the people who came is now a Vicar in Harrow and doing it for Year 1s from her local school.

Could you do something the same?

Phil, Hannah and Teresa – Mission Academy

Linked to Hope Revolution – empowering young people for mission.  Called, and anointed by God to bring a change in the situation of decreasing numbers of young people now, not just in 5 years time.  Youth workers are working their butts off for Jesus – youth clubs, mission projects, mentoring, outreach, youth alpha, freedom in Christ and more.  It’s exhausting.

How about you sit back, relax, put your feet up, go out with your mates and family and get a life while your young people do all the hard work!

  • Family Fun Day – breaking down barriers across all ages, and let the community know what the church does.  Filled in loads of forms for funding, hired a bus to do craft activities, inflatables – reached 100 children for the holiday club (double the normal number), supported people through food banks etc.
  • Blessing Community – old people’s home for gardening, sang with the worship group – mum prayed for the first time since she was 14 years old – led her back to God!

God is in a season of using young people to reach people.  Check out Mission Academy.

Johnny Bell – Friday Night Youth – Fusion

Youth minister of a church in Cromer, a seaside town in the Norfolk coast with 7,500 people, with less than 9% of the population under the age of 16.  Set up to do low key outreach, a group that is creative for young people aged 11-16.  In the summer months wanted to do something different and cash in on surfing.  In June and July they did a summer surf ministry through a local surf instructor – can we bring kids, you’ve got the equipment, can we do some sessions.  Every Friday kitted into wet suits, get a surf board and get six 90 minute sessions.  Finish the evening sharing food, and a short testimony.

What community resources can you utilise, e.g. sports hall, skate park, field, forests – who do you need to get in touch with.  Too often youth work is isolated – doing our own thing.  But God calls us to do youth ministry as a collective, involving as many as possible.  We need to thrust it out rather than keeping it in our church bubble.

Mike Palin – Fuel Team

Never cease to be inspired by things you’re doing elsewhere.  Work for the 267 project working with lots of different youth leaders.  Fuel Team:

“I think the role of leaders at this time in history is to become curators of human talent.  They need to learn how to cultivate, how to identify, how to nurture, how to develop and unleash the God-given potential in every person” Erwin McManus

As an average communicator want young people to do it as they’re so much more powerful.  Asking God for which of the young people are the leaders, have the pulse of God and where they’re living.  “Fuel Team allows me to come closer to God, develop lasting friendships and generally become an awesome human being.”  Want young people to be agents of change in whatever role they have.

The key is you’ll be amazed at how much more you can achieve if you’re not worried about who gets the glory.

Gemma Dunning – Streetspace

For many young people surviving is a reality and thriving is a dream.  Space is a place to grow.  Streetspace has 58 branches calling the walls to dust – not about meeting young people to join an established congregation – move beyond the us and them, in and out, sacred and secular.  The walls have been up for far too long.  The challenge is to mutually discover God – it looks different in each of the Streetspace projects.

Founded Bournemouth Streetspace – Bournemouth has the 5th biggest gay community – lots of life – multi-million pound library, CofE school, cafes, sex shops, and more.  Built relationship with cake – someone dies, someone is born, and more – give away cake – it is hard to ignore someone who is giving away cake.  Two of the team work in the primary school, two in the local youth project, all belong to the library and the gym.  The relationships are ever evolving and beautifully messy.  The Council like to own the transformative stories, the Church wants to own the good news stories, but we won’t pimp those stories out.

In summer we apologised to the Gay Pride participants for what the church has done for them.  In the autumn we run craft sessions, and next week will be running a memorial service for those who have lost their life to gender violence.  In December run a  World Aids Day service, Cocktails and Carols in Gay Bars.  All year feeding people.  Don’t invite people to institutional church but already church.

Will you be joining the group, do you need more cake?

Daniel Stone – School Pastor

Our experience of school is like marmite – you love it or hate it.  Not pasta, or a bible bashing pastor, but a shepherd.  The word for pastor is the same as shepherd in the Hebrew language.  It is about caring, listening, and helping.  You can’t help without listening, and you can’t listen without caring.

  • Who are you? Often asked who are you?
  • Connecting the disconnected.  There is a real disconnect between young people and faith and we need to meet them where they’re at; there is a lack of intergenerational work – but many school pastors are recently retired people passing on their knowledge to the next generation.
  • Hearing from God.  Love to stress – you have an opportunity to prophesy and see abilities in young people that teachers and others might have missed.

 Naomi Robinson – PAIS Project

Want young people to be missionaries in the world they live in.  Young people often aren’t sure how to

Because You’re Loved – 1 John 4:19.  The card says “Because You’re Loved” which accompanies an act of service (clearing a garden, a car wash), an encouraging note (thanks, hope you’re feeling better) a gift (chocolate, paying for the coffee).

It’s been used all over the world and can be done as a one-off, or as a youth group with lots of young people doing it at the same time.

Antonia was at a lunch club in a local school, they all wrote a card to a teacher who had encouraged them, and include a because you’re loved card.  So shocked by Antonia who did it straight away in the middle of the session to say how much she appreciated the teacher.  Even though the card was so simple it gave her confidence to share an encouragement.

Also done it with a youth group who on Valentine’s Day gave out sweets with a because you’re loved card.  Strangers were stopping people and asking why are you giving them out?  It gave the young people an opportunity to share who God is and what he’s done for them.

Hope it is something you can use, check out Because you’re loved for resources.

Hilary Murray – Persevere in Youth Ministry

Run with perseverance and fix our eyes on Jesus.  One of the granny generation of youth workers and have learnt to work with young people on the job and through raising families.  Heard that the average length of a youth worker role is 18 months, but it takes years to build significant relationships with someone.  Whenever feel low God has a way of bringing a spark of encouragement.  Having moved to a new area, received out of the blue an invite to the baptism of four of the previous youth group having thought she’d lost touch.  Received a invite to a wedding – said yes but expressed surprise at being invited.  The reply from the lad was incredible: “Of course I want you at my wedding, after my parents you were the most significant person in my life as a teenager.”

Many methods have come and gone and come around again.  But however we generalise and pigeon hole there is always one issue – loneliness.  Is there anyone who cares.  Checking out the John Lewis advert which links to this, and Henri Nouwen:

“The Christian leader is called to stand in the world with nothing else to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.”

Do we put on a show in front of young people or let them into our lives?

Are you in love with Jesus, if you are you will love the young people in your youth group.  Loving, listening to them, being available to them – that’s what really counts.


Damian is now encouraging people to pray together having heard all these different ideas to discern what is God saying to you, what is challenging you, what is encouraging you – and what are you going to do about it.

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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