death of a youthworker?

end of the road The last 9 months have been an interesting journey.  My change in jobs has meant that I am no longer considered a “youth” worker/minister/pastor.  For some, this is not an issue but for others it is – and for me it has been a time of reflection.  20 years in youthwork has been fun, exhausting and the best ride of my life.  However, I still consider myself part of the youthworker club (couldn’t think of a better name – youthdom??!!) and still engage with youth – the difference is that it is as a volunteer and no longer as a salaried role.

Over the years my priorities changed, my ways of working altered and my views on success changed radically.  With so many years experience people view you as some kind of authority and whilst the experience counts for a great deal, even those of us with significant years under our belts can make mistakes.  My job role may have changed but I still consider myself a youthworker and will always fight the youthwork corner in any debate – this youthworker has not died.

So, as a volunteer and as a vocal supporter of  youthdom in my salaried role, I have found the same struggles, joys and exhaustion as before.  Even last night my sleep was restless as I pondered the youthwork of my local church – my desire is still the best, my passion still for the young and my heart beats with the same old drum.  Is this the death of a youthworker?  Not a chance – here’s to another 20 years!

youthwork after christendom

youthworkafterchristendomhave finished reading “youthwork after christendom” and enjoyed it.  It is not a huge book but is packed with nuggets that are useful for youth ministry and rather than providing a way forward in youth work it provides a few roads that you may wish to travel as you work with the young people.

A historical context of christendom and youthwork is the starting point (very much in a UK context) that then develops into a perspective on spirituality and young people leads into Mission and the directions we can travel in youthwork in the new environment.  The 4th chapter dealing with the mission of God and the Homogenous Unit Principle (HUP) were interesting and provided some insight into how this can work in different settings.  Some short work on the “process v product” of the ministry was challenging and for some youth bods would be worth the price of the book alone.

The book does not provide a “how to” guide but does ask questions whilst underpinning the need to KNOW THE CONTEXT of your work.  Yes, I am shouting that bit – whatever your work/ministry is, it needs to relate to context.  There are illustrations littered throughout and it is definitely worth a read.