Climate Change

46474315065_6129e658e3_zIt was great to watch young people getting fired up about the issue of climate change. We have to be better at looking after this world and we are not doing a great job.

Whatever the rights or wrongs of ‘bunking off’, it is great to see young people making a stand and doing it well. Not one arrest yesterday….that’s how to protest!

More pictures on my Flickr Album here.


25 years…sees quality drop! WHAT?

“The best ever…..” titles can sell music albums, provoke debate and allow for wide differences of opinion. Some things are near impossible to determine – which team was better, the Liverpool team of the late 70s or the Manchester United team of the late 90s? It is all subjective and there are so many variables that comparison is nigh on impossible.

When Mike Pilavachi says that “the quality of youth workers has gone down dramatically”, you would be wise to listen and reflect but let’s take a moment…what are the markers? What are the reference points? Mike follows by saying that many of the best youth leaders are moving on to ordination and so there is a wider context to this statement that we must consider; the ‘quality pool’ maybe more shallow because of other extenuating circumstances.

Martin Saunders, another highly credible voice, responded to Mike’s original interview with an article that sought to support and clarify what Mike was saying. This article was more troubling for me. As someone who was a salaried youth leaders from circa 25 years ago, and currently a volunteer leader, it is important that we do not compare the incomparable and we must not look back with rose tinted spectacles of the reality of those years. Some things back then were exceptional, some things not – it is no different today – some things are exceptional, some are not. The references to ‘average youth leader’ in the differing generations are unhelpful, inaccurate (even allowing for artistic licence) and prevents proper engagement with the meat of the discussion

In every generation, the same struggles exist for us all – living as Children of Light. The context of todays culture is different but the struggles are the same. If the issues of holiness, bible reading, devotional life etc. are the issues at stake (and I agree that we may need to look at this more consistently) then this is not something that should be placed upon youth leaders alone but every ministry of the Church. Discipleship is a whole Church responsibility.

In the bigger picture of life, this storm will pass. However, I hope that the heart of both Mike and Martin continue to inspire us all – they are such important figures in championing youth ministry and I value them both. I also hope that others involved in youth ministry do not feel undervalued or discouraged as they serve – you are loved, valued and are appreciated.

Thank you to everyone who engages in youth ministry – you are AMAZING!

handing on old dreams

A few years back I took on a private mentoring project – the organisation that employed me felt it was not financially viable even though the project fit in with its aims and objectives.  It was something that excited me and so took on the idea to run with it.

I met with lots of people, became rather excited, put lots down on paper and mentored a group of young people one-to-one.   That side worked well and was a real encouragement.  However, the most important development never quite progressed in the way it was intended.  It was a course for training adults to have confidence in mentoring young people from different types of background – the course outlines and practical engagement were fine but somehow it did not click.  Some people registered for “the course” but they had no desire to be good youth mentors, their intent was a piece of paper to say they had done some mentoring.  Two years later and it still niggles me that we never quite completed what was started or envisaged – you feel as if you failed and let people down and that still wrangles with me.  To those who supported the idea, thank you for believing in me, sorry that we never quite delivered.

Should I let go of the dream?  No!  That is not an option – today all my material is handed to someone else and trust that it is useful to set them up to ‘finish the race’ and complete what was started.  Today the old dreams are handed on and my part is finished.

coming home to youthwork
jigsaw envy

Once in a while things fall naturally into place – when those moments come it is exciting and liberating.  Usually though, life is full of head scratching moments that have us searching in our quest for appropriate decisions.

My passion for youth work has never waned, for many years is was my employment status but for the last little while my employment has been in a different sphere, whilst having smaller influence in the youth world.  It has not always been easy, yet now things are different.  In a few days time the journey takes me back into youthwork as a volunteer – needless to say, I am stoked.  The adrenaline is pumping, the excitement is at fever pitch levels and part of me realises that “I AM COMING HOME!”

It is a brand new group/idea and there are just 2 of us getting ready to roll but the roller coaster ride of success and failure is about to begin again.  Time to think and dream, time to sit in the stairwell of the young people, time to weep and rejoice, time to be liberated to the call of God.

In writing this, I am aware that some will not understand – guess what?  I don’t care!  I am Home!