Youthwork Summit

19 May

Theme – Visions and Dreams

Mark O
Don’t feel you need loads of stuff (technology etc). Don’t feel you need to be anything other than who you are. YOU are the equipment!

Session 1
Nicola Morgan – Utterly rational chaos
Teenage behaviour, not exactly a new thing!
Messy teenagers’ bedroom can tell us a lot about teenagers. A lot happens in a teenagers’ bedroom (study, sleep, dress etc). It is also the only place eh can go to be on their own.
Point 1 – Young adolescents often have far greater difficulty interpreting emotions in faces than any other groups do. They very often think that we are angry when we are not.
Point 2 – Respect from peers is more important than parents.
Point 3 – More weight attached to present pleasure than to possible consequences.

Guvna B – The language of hip hop
Hip hop tends to promote sex, violence and money.
Is Christian rap relevant?
– testimony
– current
– good tool
– role models
– culture
– ministry
– longevity

Simon Parnall – A new kind of television
TV’s used to cost 5% of the value of your house!
TV could become plastic tiles on a wall that you control the size of the screen.
Interesting thoughts on how TV could develop, but all the developments are crying out to be abused in the same way that current mediums of communication are.

Steven Mitchell & Marc Williamson – The Kingdom of God in 5 films
Cinema is scratching the itch that church doesn’t scratch.
We need to engage with the cinematic experience of our young people.
I find it insufficient and dishonest to simply use a movie to make a point or illustrate a theological point.
We need to allow a film to speak on its own terms, not ours.
The cinema in the new church. It’s where people gather to share
Kingdom of God is like:
– The Muppets
– Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt 1
– Thor
– Bridesmaids
– Saw 3D
The cinema is a thin place. It’s a place where heaven and earth collide. In those places God can be found.
The Kingdom of God in near.

Ruth Corden – Going further with “The joy of teens sex”
58% of STIs in UK are in teenagers.
We need to be aware of the language about sex and sexual organs that young people use if we are to challenge them over it.
The statistics of YP watching porn is both scary and, I believe, very much an underestimate.
Love, sex and fairytales:
– Body image is thrust upon YP, particularly girls.
– All longing for a better life.
– Life gets better when they meet a man.
GET CURIOUS! Teach YP about sex, don’t let them teach themselves through the Internet.

Will Van Der Hart – State of mind
We all have a “mental health issue”.
We need at least a rudimentary understanding of mental health as youth workers.
Mental health problems are not just the “nutter” you recognise easily as having a problem.
The church has abdicated its response to mental health problems.
Jesus is not always the answer when it comes to mental health.

Session 2
Dr Conrad Kempf – Don’t be like Jesus
Why? Because, WE AREN’T JESUS!!!
We don’t have to be the saviour, we already have one!
The 12 disciples did what they did, so should we!
The only way we should imitate Jesus is by doing what we do for God.

Kate John – The altar call, born again
There is SO much more to Jesus than penal substitution.
How can we expect people to follow Jesus if we don’t tell them who we is?
Experiment with evangelism:
– cultural satire
– big story context
– broader theology
– use YP’s imagination
Try a medium change. Split it up into 5 min segments.

Janusz – Who cares
Janusz is from Poland and he told us his story of family struggles and going into care.
Without the care system Janusz could have lost more than just his father to suicide!

Harry Baker – Anthem for doomed youth
Harry believes in people who do something.

Rebecca Hamer – You have nothing to say
Stop talking and start listening.
Have we ever just listened to young people.
Listening and reflecting back can be the first time a young person hears what they themselves are saying!

Bob Moffatt – Serving young people through the Arab Spring
Bob tells us about the events of the Arab Spring.
Young people in Egypt, both Muslims and Christians, protected each other while the one group prayed, then the other.
Now, with churches being burned and Christian girls being married to Muslim men, people are talking about the Arab Winter. But young people and youth workers are still totally dedicated to Christ.

Siku – Moses untelevised revolution
Siku tells us the story of Moses from the first person perspective and how that relates to youth work today.
Sadly, whilst the message of remembering that human beings are made in the image of God is a good one, he added in some over-simplified politics to try and make his point, which weakened his position.

Patrick Regan – Hope in austerity
Patrick tells us of his experiences during the London Riots. He repeats his oft-repeated mantra – “Hope is the refusal to accept a situation as it is” as a response to the BBC claiming that the riots suggested a “lost generation”.
Don’t write people off, everyone has something to offer!
3 ways to work with people:
– Do something to them
– Do something for them
– Do something with them
Doing something WITH people is what people are calling for.
Hope calls into question the present reality.
Revelation 21 – the image of what life will be.

Session 3
Missed David McQueen due to being late back from lunch and the call of nature!

Claire Farley – School Pastors
Claire’s first call is to ask us who’s kingdom are we trying to build.
She also tells us that she believes that every school should have Christians supporting it.
Schools work should be united, not divided!

Dr William Struthers – Your youth group is watching porn
Young people learn about sexuality from watching porn.
Why are they looking at it? Because sex is not an out the genitals any more but about the brain.
5 primary reasons young people go to porn:
– sexual release
– curiosity
– boredom
– self-medication
– isolation
What to do?
– sexuality points us to God
– appropriate intimacy
– sexual “candy”
– Craver’s Law – the “need” for intimacy
– Christ as the Great Physician
– Community is the response to isolation
Bill reminded us that we are no longer competitors in the race fr sexual partners but brothers and sisters in Christ.

Avril Baigent – Awake my soul
Avril tells us about the use of prayer beads by Catholic young people.
The main benefit from them appears to be the idea of having something to aid people in their prayers when they don’t know what to pray. Speaking as an Anglican, I tout that this was the idea of the Lord’s prayer, but then again maybe some people need something tangible rather than something cerebral.

Andy Hickford – What your minister is really thinking
The following is to be taken with a pinch of salt
– A youth worker’s job is to make the minster look good!
Do well, I look good. Do badly, I look bad and I must do you out of a job.
– The minister is wiser and more experienced than the youth worker!
Youth workers must listen to the mister’s advice.
– Christianity is better caught than taught.
– A minister enjoys surprises, but only on their birthday.
A youth worker should speak to the minister
– The youth worker should be looking to have God behind everything they do.
– A youth worker should be looking to be more than average.

Les Comee – Let go
We need to be aware of when we need to accept help.
Youth workers will burn out if they don’t allow others to join in the mission.
Les finishes by having us spend 3 mins in silence and suggesting that some of us need to have mini sabbaths during the day, to give us time to listen to God.

Miriam Swaffield – The university drop-out
Miriam is sharing with us the struggles of Christian students ashen they first go off to university.
She also shares her dream, of one day seeing every Christian student aiming to be a part of a Christian community first and joining in with the freshers fun second.
She points out that youth workers are vital to seeing this dream become a reality as we are at the tipping point. We are the ones working with them before they go to university!
Would we send young people off on a mission trip without training? Why do we do this to future university students?

Jamie Treadwell – Choosing to be creative
Can we be creative?
How do we move into the prophetic?
The first job of a leader is to define reality – Max Depree
The task of a youth group is to create a way of doing life.
What is your deepest fear? Is it possible it is not that we are inadequate, but that we are afraid that we just might be amazing

Session 4
We are now listening to the experiences of some legends of youth work:
– John Buckeridge
– Pip Wilson
– John Allan
– Bob Moffett
Pip expressed the fact that he enjoyed being able to do silly things and make mistakes.
John A tells us the biggest change he has seen is the change to the current “age of Dawkins” hostility to church and Christianity.
Bob says that the thing that has kept him going is that he enjoys spending time and chatting with kids.
Bob tells us not to “grow up and get a proper job”
The “legends” are now joined by:
– Ruth Gilson
– Les Isaac
– Roy Crowne
Ruth reminds us that we are not “just” doing something, no one is. We ARE doing something!
Les says that the biggest challenge he has had, and still has, is staying relevant. And also keeping the right tension between the message and the style. He also says that he wishes that he had encouraged the church leadership to pay youth workers a good salary and affirm them that they will support them and stand by them. How much a church pays their youth worker shows how much they value them.
Roy tells us where his passion as an evangelist comes from. He also says that we just need to get the delivery right because the message is there already.

Interesting revelations from discussions and questions are that using an electric chair on young people and punching young men in the testicles are not good practice!

Keynote speaker – Mark Oestreicher
Marko starts off by admitting that he has used an electric chair to encourage Bible verse memory!
His theme is:
– Keeping the vision alive when the dream has died
Marko shares his experiences when he lost his job for a big youth work organisation. He allowed himself to feel the pain and then admitted the fears that gripped him in his new situation. His honesty is quite brutal!
He shares his experience of hope, following his witnessing of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake at first hand. Haitians worshiping Jesus just days after the earthquake. Marko is reminded of Romans 5:3-5.
People who have no experience of loss or having nothing have no real understanding of hope. People who have nothing live in the hope of that which is yet to come.
Marko shares the story of the woman healed from years of bleeding as the idea of living in hope of being healed.
There is a Biblical pattern to hope. It starts with exile, then moves to a place of dissatisfaction. It then becomes honest and then a seeming wall of fear. If we can break through the fear we meet longing and hope.
When we find our hope in Christ, we give others to touch the hem of Christ’s cloak through us.

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