Felixstowe Cruise 2012

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Developmental Priorities of Adolescents // YWS12 Early Day

At the YWS Early day Marko shared how the priorities of adolescents have changed over time. He suggested that teenagers have three developmental priorities Identity, Autonomy and Affinity. Explaining that in the later 20th century teenagers’ primary priority was in gaining Autonomy, and the other priorities were then understood and worked out in the context of Autonomy. Where as there has now been a shift towards Affinity [understanding where do I belong] being a priority with the other elements being set in the context of to what to I belong

A key point being that many of the models of Church youth ministry that we use are based on the model of helping young people develop autonomy by working with them seperately from the body of the church. Where now we should be focusing on helping them to see where they belong. However it has now struck me that two of the youth work values that we are taught to uphold as sacred in youth work, are also aimed at autonomy. Voluntary Participation and Empowerment, as valuable as they are, should perhaps be joined by a value to Enable Belonging. In the context of my own community based youth work, where the primary aim is not discipleship, I can now see this working our in that the young people are developing a sense of belonging to the project. This also helps me to understand why my attempts to empower them in their community have been met somewhat with less enthusiasm than I envisaged.


But what does this say about longevity and commitment to youth work. I am convinced that short term community youth work can be more damaging than nothing at all – a funding requirement in a previous project meant that I was never able to work with young people for more than 8 weeks. Given the what I have written above, young people would in this situation be looking to us to see if we offered a place where they could belong… just as we stopped. I did not need today’s teaching to show me this was a bad model to work with. However the alternative does then cause us a danger to slip towards the endless pressure put upon youth workers in supposed relational youth work – where there is never enough time to spend the time with every young person that deserves it

There is therefore a need to recognise the importance of creating a sense of belonging, brought through longevity in youth work, without that belonging being focused on us as individual workers, but belonging to God’s family through Christ. How we practically do this? I’m not quite sure…

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Youth Work(ing) Hours (Poll)

A conversation on twitter earlier sparked off a thought about youth workers and the time we put into our work. This is aimed at employed Youth Workers, Youth Ministers, Youth Pastors, Youthworkers, Youth Work Students on Placement or Volunteers working as if paid (eg gap year volunteer). If you fit into one of the above categories, or anything similar, then please answer this quick question about the time you put into your youth work.

I know this kind of question has been asked before, so thanks for taking part (I hope you did). I also have a few further questions that I’d be interested to know the answers to, but I’ll save those until I have a few responses to this question.

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Build Your Kingdom Here Prayer

One of my favourite worship songs at the moment is Build Your Kingdom Here by Rend Collective experiment.

I think the lyrics are powerful, true and a real challenge to us as the Church both collectively and locally. When I heard it first at YWS11 it really encapsulated my vision for the local youth project I am trying to get going and my prayer at the time for that area, particularly this verse

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here

The following is a prayer I put together by rearranging the lyrics of this song in a way that allowed a group of people say them together in prayer. I have not used all of the lyrics, as I was trying to focus the prayer specifically to the context I was going to use it, whilst hopefully keeping what originally caught me about the lyrics.

Set Your rule and reign In our hearts
Increase in us we pray.

Like wildfire in our very souls,
Holy Spirit come invade us now
We are Your Church
We need Your power in us.

We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
For You are our joy.

To see the captive hearts released,
The hurt; the sick and the poor at peace
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere

Unleash Your kingdom’s power, reaching near and far
No force of hell can stop Your beauty changing hearts

Fill us with the strength and love of Christ

We are Your church

We pray revive

Adapted from the lyrics of ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ by Rend Collective Experiment

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