The sermon starts about 22:30 in.
Category : Youth Ministry
Stepping out of the story, J says to me, “I remember feeling so drawn to Kathy’s words about joy. ‘Sorrow turned to joy.’ I realized, sitting in that hard chair, that joy comes from the sharing of sorrow. Joy is this incredible experience of sorrow being shared, leading us into a community of love. That’s what I was experiencing, the pure gift of sorrow being shared. I remember thinking to myself, Yeah, it’s true. Youth ministry is for joy because youth ministry is about creating a space for stories and moments of sharing that open us up to something big.”
We sit in silence for a few seconds, and I think about the ramifications of J’s words. I then ask, “What happened next with Kathy’s story? I’m with Tannon—it’s wild that the old woman used that verse.”
J continues, “Kathy then told us the old woman sat with her, holding her hand until Kathy’s husband showed up. Kathy said, ‘We exchanged numbers. I don’t know why; it seems weird now. But she started to call me, and then we started to meet to pray together. When I got pregnant again, she was the first person I called, because I was both so happy and so scared. We prayed together every week through the whole pregnancy. I just had this sense that God was leading me through. I’ll never forget when Nikki was born, seeing her hold Nikki, crying and praying for her. That’s why she’s Nikki, because in a waiting room like this God sent me Nichole Hunmurray, to pray for me, to see me through and bless us with our Nichole Marie Mattson.’”
J tells me that a silence came over everyone. After a minute, Kathy breathed in deep and said, “That’s why I came today, why I wanted Nikki to be here. In a very weird way, waiting rooms are holy places to me. I’d somehow gotten myself disconnected from that experience, but when I heard Lorena was in the hospital, I knew I needed to be here.” Kathy paused and then said, “I never intended to tell that story until Bernard told his, but I know it’s why I’m here.”
J says to me, “I thought to myself, I want my youth ministry to be a waiting room like this one. A place where we share stories and are open to something bigger that ushers us into joy.”
Good youth work is always about really listening to, truly caring about, and being there for the long haul for young people as they go through the most complex and fast-moving period of human life. Everything else is secondary to that. The statutory youth-work sector was decimated at the start of the recession; so, really, the voluntary sector now bears a lot of the responsibility. Churches are at the forefront of that.
We did some research at Youthscape, which discovered that only about 25 per cent of all churches actually did any formal work with young people. So there are pockets of great practice, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.
What young people desperately need are authentic, kind role-models who care. They don’t especially need someone who can speak their language or knows about the latest Netflix smash; so, in a sense, age is irrelevant. They need friends and role-models of all ages. The stereotype of the hip twenty-something, hoodie-wearing youth-worker needs to die.
Most Christian youth work is still really oriented towards helping young people to discover and then keep faith: the traditional Bible-study and social model is alive and well. There’s a big question around whether that’s still the best model, even for churches. The Scouting movement is seeing a huge increase in numbers. I think that they get a lot right.
Interview: Martin Saunders, deputy chief executive, Youthscape
‘The stereotype of the hip twenty-something, hoodie-wearing youth worker needs to die’https://t.co/6iAMOfGmZf
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) November 15, 2019
At age 11 the realization hit me. The fact was that I felt toward other guys the way they felt toward girls. 1984 was a terrible time to realize you’re gay. As the year progressed, around 1
So I’ve lived my life as a unicorn in a field of horses, constantly hoping that no one notices the horn. Years ago I was teaching a group of seminarians who were learning to preach, and one of the students mentioned in a sermon illustration how “nobody wants to be an Average Joe.” I was dumbfounded. I’ve never wanted anything more than to be an Average Joe. I’m inundated with invitations for me and my spouse. I have to decide which friend’s phone number to put on the back of my diabetic ID bracelet. When I welcome people to my fantastic little condo with my Saarinen table and Corbusier chairs, I compulsively mention that my undergrad was in architecture. It’s an instinctive strategy to obfuscate their gaydar.
In the late 1990s, I sought out a pastor I respected, and I opened up with him about wanting to share my story with my church. I was fatigued from a lifetime of trying to hide my shame. “Do not do it!” he thundered. “If your church knew, they would never be able to accept you.” I was still young and impressionable, and I accepted his voice as the voice of God. For decades, I’ve had Christian leaders asking me to please not share my Christian testimony, despite my thorough agreement with the church’s historic teaching on sexuality. Even the language of same-sex attraction—which many believers have found helpful as a way to disassociate themselves from assumptions about being gay—feels to many others like a tool of concealment, as though I were laboring to minimize the ongoing reality of sexual orientations that in practice seldom change.
I’m thankful that a campus minister named Bill loved me. He didn’t try to fix me, control me, or ship me off to a conversion therapy camp. He loved me, welcomed me into his home, sat with me, and invested so many hours in me. He was the first person to suggest I pray about going to seminary.
Jesus hasn’t made me straight. But he covers over my shame. Jesus really loves gay people.
The gospel doesn’t erase this part of my story so much as it redeems it. My sexual orientation doesn’t define me. It’s not the most important or most interesting thing about me. It is the backdrop for that, the backdrop for the story of Jesus who rescued me.
My sexual orientation doesn’t define me. It’s not the most important or most interesting thing about me.
It is the backdrop for that, the backdrop for the story of Jesus who rescued me https://t.co/ddfQQzQbHO
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) May 20, 2019
The Parish Newsletter of Christ Saint Paul’s Yonges Island SC for this week https://t.co/uUhVxBYiFh #southcarolina #media #growth #teens #education #lowcountrylife #religion #anglican pic.twitter.com/xPZLQsRAK4
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 17, 2019
(The State) A Heartbreaking local story–A Columbia, South Carolina, teen who drowned in the Lowcountry was pursuing a life in ministry
Jack Fleischer spent much of his 19 years of life at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center as a camper, counselor and staff member. And, after a memorial service this weekend, his ashes will be buried at the Lowcountry camp he loved so much.
Fleischer, a Columbia resident, drowned after he jumped off a dock into Bohicket Creek in Charleston County on Friday night, multiple media outlets reported. That’s just off S.C. 700 near Johns Island.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said crews found Fleischer’s body early Saturday.
The House of Bishops has committed to prioritising the Church’s involvement with children and young people more effectively in the future.
The House of Bishops met in York at Bishopthorpe Palace on 21-22 May where they discussed safeguarding, the Lambeth Conference in 2020, the future of ministry, and engaging children and young people more completely in the life of the Church.
The House discussed the mutual and complementary roles played by Church, school and family in shaping young people’s perceptions of faith and ideas were shared on how all three could collaborate more closely together.
The conversation took place in the context of the Church’s broader work on Setting God’s People Free; encouraging people to live out their commitment to Christianity seven days a week.
I hope I didn’t look too horrified when my training incumbent mentioned on day one of my training post that I would be taking school assembly later that week.
I hadn’t done any schools work since my early 20’s – about three decades ago – and felt decidedly inadequate for the task. However, I found, as I have seen throughout my life as a Christian, that God uses whoever is available to do his work. Within a few weeks, taking assemblies became one of my weekly highlights.
Shortly after, I realised that there were a small number of children in Year Six at our church who had outgrown Sunday School, who we would almost certainly lose if we didn’t start doing something for their age-group. It didn’t seem right that the children would be making the huge leap from primary school to secondary school without spiritual support along the way. As I looked around the church to see who we could task with this vital role, I ended up back where I started – the 50-something curate.
A straw-poll revealed that the only time the teens were all around at the same time was in fact Sunday morning, so the first problem was that we didn’t have anywhere to host them, as the hall was being used for Sunday School. We thought about the bell-tower (to the horror of the bell-ringers!) but there was another available space: a small junk room (replete with junk) above the main hall. It was quickly cleared out, renamed ‘The Den’, painted and given to our teenagers to use as their own.
(Church Times) Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell–Church and youth: ‘Young people want more commitment, not less’
In 2016, 15,900 people were confirmed, of whom 24 per cent were under 12, and 45 per cent were 20 or over. This is down from 29,380 in 2006, when 39 per cent were 20 or over. In 1960, the total was 190,713.
The good news is that, today, most younger people are confirmed because it is what they want. If this is in a parish where children are not admitted to holy communion, there may be a tendency for confirmation to happen when they are quite young; so the decision itself, though real, is not made with quite the independent decisiveness of adolescent vigour.
But parishes that are admitting children to holy communion are well placed to enable confirmation to happen when young people are a little older — at least 12 or 13 — and then really make something of it as a commitment to whole-life discipleship. I think this is the best pattern, and one to be encouraged. There is a wonderful nobility to the decision of young people to be confirmed when childhood, and the directing of parents, is left behind, and independence and the life choices that go with it are beginning to be embraced.
It never fails to move me; for confirming anyone is a great joy, but to see a young person make the faith their own is a special joy indeed. Such commitment, and a pattern of preparation and confirmation that enables it, provides the Church with a great opportunity; for even if the church that presents them has not fully realised it, these young people are claiming the Christian faith for themselves, and committing themselves as disciples of Christ. They want and need a preparation for confirmation, and a liturgy that will match this aspiration.
Therefore, if this pattern is to be encouraged, and if the young people themselves are going to be able to put down roots in the Christian faith, confirmation preparation needs to shift from learning about the faith to learning to live the faith. Young people want more commitment, not less. They still need to know what it is that Christians believe, but they are hungrier to know how it works, and how it cashes out in their daily lives. Most of all, they need God.
A church in the centre of the west of England port city of Bristol is to re-open 65 years after it was closed. Once it re-opens in the Autumn, St Nicholas’ Church will focus on engaging with young people who don’t currently go to church, and will act as what the diocese is calling a “Resourcing Church”, serving the wider city and assisting future church plants. It will be led by the Revd Toby Flint, currently the Lead Pastor at London’s Holy Trinity Brompton, home of the Alpha Course and a significant participant in church plants.
Bristol is a young city – some 60 per cent of people in the city centre are aged between 15 and 29. “The new church’s particular focus will be on younger generations,” the Diocese of Bristol said. The diocese has set out three priorities in its vision: making disciples, growing leaders and engaging younger generations. The new St Nicholas will explore those three priorities as well as partnering with other churches and organisations for social action, including looking at ways to tackle homelessness, food poverty and youth unemployment.
“As Bristol becomes younger and more diverse, we want to make an impact on the city,” the Bishop of Swindon and acting Bishop of Bristol, Dr Lee Rayfield, said. “We are excited about how St Nicholas will grow the Church and bring about social transformation.
2. Lead with listening.
Scott Cormode, a leadership expert and professor at Fuller Seminary, is fond of saying “leadership begins with listening.”  I’ve found this is especially true in the context of multiethnic youth ministry. Rather than leading with ideas, suggestions, and plans in my context—particularly as a minority in an unfamiliar mix of cultures—I’ve seen how critical it is to lead with listening.
Practically, adapting the work of sociologist Nancy Ammerman, I benefited from formally and informally investigating my youth ministry context with sensitivity to three areas: 
- activities (What habits and practices define our ministry?),
- artifacts (What does the youth meeting space, Facebook page, newsletter, etc. communicate about our ministry?), and
- accounts (How do people describe our youth ministry through their use of language, history, narratives, and worldviews?).
In light of these three questions, I asked, what voices or perspectives might we be ignoring or marginalizing in our context, and what actions do we need to take to change this? These questions, along with the invaluable gift of listening to personal stories, helped me to be more sensitive to the complexity of serving in a multiethnic context. For instance, I started to listen more carefully to the accounts the parents of our Latino/a youth offered of the youth ministry. As I did, I began to see how our seemingly culturally-diverse youth ministry was in many ways shaped by White Western values such as individualism and consumerism—values many of the parents challenged and resented. This leads to the next critical lesson.
Read it all (my emphasis).
How did you get into ministry?
Clarence Givens, our founding bishop and pastor at Rhema Christian Center Church, was quite a persuasive man. He asked my wife and me to become the youth directors. I thought, You have to be kidding me! I’m going to go into his office with my wife and let him know I can’t do that. I’ve got too much on my plate right now. And that’s exactly what I told Dorothy, my wife.
Now it makes me laugh because when we got into his office, I said, “Look, Bishop, you’ve got all of these responsibilities for me, and you know how busy I am. What is it exactly that you want me to do with the youth director position? I’m prepared to take it on.” And my wife started laughing, as if to say, “You get all bold talking about what you’re going to do, but when you sit in front of him, that all goes out the window.”
So in 2002, my wife and I became youth directors. And I was ordained in 2009.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined the priorities he’d like to see youth workers make in the UK going forward.
Justin Welby has written a special editorial for Premier Youthwork magazine as the magazine marks its 25 anniversary.
In it he describes himself as “no expert in Christian youth work” but says he’d love to see young people becoming disciples of Jesus, witnesses to Jesus and servants of the kingdom.
Read it all and follow to the bottom for the editorial.
The Department of Youth Ministries is seeking high school students interested in applying to serve for the 2016-2017 academic year. Our Youth Commission is comprised of cheerful servants who demonstrate spiritual maturity and leadership gifts and desire to develop skills while serving our Lord. This leadership group serves on youth events as well as at Diocesan Convention each year. Their role in events includes leading small groups, sharing testimonies, leading activities, and providing behind the scenes support. They are a vital part of our ministries! Serving on Youth Commission involves a commitment to several weekend events as well as two training days. Students are expected to serve in a leadership capacity in their church as well.
O Lord Christ, who by thy presence and first miracle at Cana of Galilee adorned and beautified the holy estate of matrimony: We beseech thee to sanctify the marriage bond in the life of our people, and to bless our homes with thy abiding presence; for the honour and glory of thy name.
O Blessed Jesus, who by the shining of a star didst manifest thyself to them that sought thee: Show thy heavenly light to us, and give us grace to follow until we find thee; finding, to rejoice in thee; and rejoicing, to present to thee ourselves, our souls and bodies, for thy service for evermore: for thine honour and glory.
1. All ages, all stages
There is no model youth leader in terms of looks, age, dress sense, sense of humour, personality etc. Just as all young people come in all shapes and sizes, so will your youth team. Just as you have extraverts and introverts in your youth group, you need extraverts and introverts in your youth team. The only rule needs to be to turn up and be able to chat to the youth. (These clearly aren’t the only rules, but we’ll start there”¦)
2. The personal approach
I’ve heard this said in various seminars and within a youth-work magazine recently but it really is true. Desperate pleas from the front of church on a Sunday rarely get anyone signed up, and if they do, they often get the wrong people signed up. It is almost without fail the personal approach that pays off in the long term. As a youth worker you should always have your youth hat on and be thinking whether someone you’re engaging with is right for one of your teams. I would then suggest you invite them for a coffee to chat about the different youth ministries, followed by you and them checking out one of the ministries they may be interested in, and then an agreement on both sides to pray, without pressure either way, and in the knowledge if it’s yes on both sides and yes from God, then you might proceed.We would suggest a minimum of a year’s commitment and a review after three months from both sides.
3. Set the expectations high
When Elizabeth Esther looked into Vacation Bible School at the church closest to her home in Orange County, California, she was disappointed to discover it cost $40 per kid””too much for her big family.
The Catholic mom and blogger instead found a free program and then tweeted her gratitude: “A BIG THANK YOU to all the churches out there offering free VBS for kids this summer! As a mom of five, it makes ALL the difference!”
While most congregations offer VBS at no cost, organizers can easily become overwhelmed by demand. Not only are fewer programs available for a growing number of unchurched families””about 1 in 6 churches offering VBS in the ’90s dropped it by 2012, according to Barna Research””parents now regularly enroll kids in multiple Vacation Bible Schools each summer. That puts more pressure on churches to do something unique from the congregration up the street.
Especially in cities with a booming VBS circuit, a nominal fee ($5”“$25) can discourage no-shows, and a bit more ($30”“$75) can offset the price of food and new materials. Churches that charge typically offer scholarship options and discounts for families enrolling multiple kids.
In the mid-20th century many Anglican Church of Canada parishes joined their mainline and evangelical neighbours in creating tightly-focused programs for even the tiniest demographics. Now, many parishes are tearing down those walls between ages and stages, hoping to bind up scattered, sometimes shattering church communities.
The 20th century craze to split the church into demographic segments was a profound departure from Judeo-Christian tradition. Jesus grew up in a Jewish community where the generations nurtured each other’s faith ”” in fact, young Jesus was so caught up learning from his elders at the temple in Jerusalem that he let Mary and Joseph start for home without him. The Apostle Paul mentored his spiritual son, Timothy, in ministry; he also instructed older men and women to be good examples and to mentor younger people in faith.
Sadly, segmentation ”“ intended to keep kids, youth, young adults, or even seniors in church ”“ may cut off them off from each other and the worshiping life of the church. This leaves youth with “no sense of what it means to be a mature adult Christian living out a life of faith in the Church,’’ writes the Rev. Valerie Michaelson, pastoral associate and Queen’s Chaplain at St. James’ Anglican Church, Kingston, Ont., in “How to Nurture Intergenerational Community in Your Church,” posted on the Wycliffe College Institute of Evangelism website. It also deprives adults and seniors the opportunity to understand and mentor younger members of the church, say advocates of intergenerational ministry.
What does directly touch church life are Pew’s numbers on generational change. Attachment to religion is declining across all age groups, but the rise of the nones is most pronounced among younger cohorts: the younger the age bracket, the less likely people are to belong to any Christian (or other religious) body. And of all Christian groups, mainline Protestants do the worst job at reaching and retaining younger generations.
One practical lesson of the Pew report, then, is on the crucial need for mainliners to focus on passing the faith on to the next generation. Mainliners may need to borrow some of the ethos of evangelical Protestants (who seem to do a better job at this) in equipping families to be primary incubators of faith and in forming identities that are distinct and (in some selective ways) more oppositional toward the culture than they have been.
To begin with, the language and culture of confirmation as a rite of passage isn’t going away any time soon, and so we might as well use it to our catechetical advantage. By dispensing with required confirmation preparation and reception, the sacrament can truly become a moment of conversion for Catholics, regardless of when it occurs. In this way, confirmation will take on particular importance for Catholics returning to the Church after being away for a time, especially when such a return coincides with significant life changes””like marriage for instance, or having that first baby. And young people who never drift away from the Church? They’ll likely seek confirmation in their teen years anyway. Thus, for all recipients, the sacrament will cohere with their actual lived experience of faith.
There’s an additional catechetical value to this approach: Confirmation classes will start to mix together maturing teens, young adults, and the retired””and everyone in between! Younger candidates will get to hear older Catholics share about their struggles and joys; in turn, those older Catholics will get to hear the younger candidates express their aspirations and enthusiasms.
I can’t think of a better way to foster the idea that confirmation (and Christianity) is really for grown-ups””grown-ups, that is, that humble themselves and come to Jesus.
The Rev. Spike Coleman wasn’t sure how to respond when a member of his St. Andrew’s Presbyterian decided to leave the West Ashley church – because Coleman preached too much about the Bible.
The man wanted something a bit more Joel Olsteen, more practical and uplifting.
“When he goes to church, he wants to leave feeling good,” Coleman said. “You can leave feeling good and somehow affirmed. But is that going to sustain you in the dark nights of the soul?”
United Methodist Church leaders recently announced they are closing the Wilderness Retreat and Development Center, as well as three other camps the denomination operated in Missouri. Together, the camps served about 2,000 children this summer.
“I’ve wanted to get married at Wilderness since I was 11,” Dyer said. “I have a boyfriend I want to marry, and now they’re taking away my camp.”
The announcement by the church’s Camping and Retreat Board sparked an instant social media campaign ”” complete with hashtags, blogs, online petitions and more than 2,000 Facebook likes ”” in an effort to roll back the decision.
The discussion in the Kansas City area has been particularly lively because of its proximity to Wilderness, which hosted more than 600 children at summer camp this year, said D. Garrett Drake, a clergyman and conference staff member who advises the camping board.
My friend Larry Taunton of the Fixed Point Foundation set out to find out why so many young Christians lose their faith in college. He did this by employing a method I don’t recall being used before: He asked them.
The Fixed Point Foundation asked members of the Secular Students Associations on campuses around the nation to tell them about their “journey to unbelief.” Taunton was not only surprised by the level of response but, more importantly, about the stories he and his colleagues heard.
Instead of would-be Richard Dawkins’, the typical respondent was more like Phil, a student Taunton interviewed. Phil had grown up in church; he had even been the president of his youth group. What drove Phil away wasn’t the lure of secular materialism or even Christian moral teaching. And he was specifically upset when his church changed youth pastors.
Whereas his old youth pastor “knew the Bible” and made Phil “feel smart” about his faith even when he didn’t have all the answers, the new youth pastor taught less and played more.
So often, when faced with their own limits, the young people I meet turn to music. They turn to the artists who can articulate (perhaps more clearly than they can) precisely what they’re feeling. So how do we engage?
It all starts with listening. It always starts with listening. Listening to young people, listening to their music and listening to the struggles and joys of their daily lives.
What comes next is the hard part: accompanying young people in the midst of the pains and struggles of everyday life, and welcoming them into the story we call our own: the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
I said earlier that this is hard. But it shouldn’t be. In fact, in my experience, it isn’t hard at all. Looking for companions when forced to confront the limits of human existence, young people constantly blow me away with their deep desire for some good news. We’re good-news people. We’ve got plenty to share.
And yet we need to start by listening.
Read it all from the Anglican Journal.
We expect a certain level of theological sophistication from our preaching pastors. They must at least know church history, systematic theology, and hopefully some Greek and Hebrew so they can properly interpret and apply the biblical text. We’re confident that when we approach them with questions about the canonization of Scripture, the implications of the incarnation, and the doctrine of the body and sexuality, their learning will aid us in responding faithfully to such pressing questions in our culture. If anything the world bears down with even greater ferocity on the fledging faith of Christian youth. So why should we expect less theological rigor from our youth pastors who serve them through teaching, counseling, and more? Every youth minister needs to be a theologian, whether formally or informally equipped to handle God’s Word with integrity and care. This new 10-minute video feature insights from David Plant, director of youth ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama; and Liz Edrington, who is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.
Welcome Richard Giersch! As our new Director of Student Ministries, Rich will focus on transforming the hearts of our 6th-12 graders. Rich joins us with a wealth of experience and spiritual depth. Since 1988, Rich has been ministering to teenagers working with such organizations as Young Life and St. Andrews Church, Mount Pleasant. Rich was also ordained as an Anglican Priest and served as the interim Rector of Resurrection Fellowship Anglican Church in Greenville, SC.
Rich is married to Holly and they have two sons, Griffin and Oliver. Rich graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has produced two Christian C-D’s of original songs.
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, said the event was a different way of engaging young people.