Category : Youth Ministry

(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.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Teens / Youth, Youth Ministry

(CEN) House of Bishops wants Church of England to be more effective in youth ministry

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.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

(Diocese of London) A Place They Can Own: How We Started Engaging Young People

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.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Teens / Youth, Youth Ministry

(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.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Youth Ministry

(ACNS) Six decades after it closed, a Bristol church will re-open as youth mission resource centre

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.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues, Youth Ministry

(FYI) Trey Clark–Unity Does Not Equal Uniformity Lessons Learned in Multiethnic Youth Ministry

2. Lead with listening. 

Scott Cormode, a leadership expert and professor at Fuller Seminary, is fond of saying “leadership begins with listening.” [10] 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: [11] 

  • 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).

Posted in Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

A CT Profile of James Brown–The Word of God Undergirds Everything I Do

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.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Media, Parish Ministry, Sports, Theology, Youth Ministry

(Premier) Archbp Justin Welby outlines vision for youth ministry

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.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Youth Ministry

South Carolina Diocesan Youth Commission: An Adventure in Leadership


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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

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.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Edward Hawkins

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.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

(Diocese of London) Top tips for building a youth team

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

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology, Youth Ministry

(Diocese of Portsmouth) Stewardship Resources For Children & Young People

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Youth Ministry

(CT) Kate Shellnutt–Why Some Churches Put a Price on Vacation Bible School

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.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Youth Ministry

(Anglican Journal) Intergenerational ministry: What's old is new again

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.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Children, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Youth Ministry