Youth work is like…

…Popcorn

That’s right in this post, I am going to be comparing the wonders of youth work to one of the most popular movie time snacks. For some of you, you might only know pop corn in the state it comes at the cinema or in the pack from the supermarket however pop corn starts off as these little tiny kernels that are pretty rubbish really. They’re rather hard, not very tasty and a could easily be misunderstood. Just like young people really, there always seems to be a lot of fear surrounding young people in the ‘adult’ world. Look at the media we have heard loads about ASBO’s and ‘hoodies’ and youth gangs and how young people get an ‘easier time of things’ now. So where’s all the good that they do, both of us here at The Church Sofa are involved in youth work in one way or another. As for me I’ve worked as a youth worker and I’ve trained as one.

There are a few things you need to do to get the pop corn kernels to turn into nice tasty pop corn like you get at the cinema. There is a lot of potential in pop corn kernels and it takes a bit of effort to get there. First you need to have a heat source like the hob on your oven, and a sauce pan to contain it, some oil to spread the heat around and something to fuel to hob (i.e. gas or electric).

This is like working with young people there is loads of potential in young people and if you’ve been called to youth work then you’ve been called to help them become all that God has made them to be. And just like pop corn there’s a lot that needs doing. Young people need prayer, one of the most common things in Jesus’ ministry was prayer. If anyone could get away with not praying I think the Son of God who was also God would be quite a good candidate, but he prayed constantly. So let’s pray for the young people in our churches or that we work with. If you don’t know what to pray for talk to the youth worker or even (dare I say) talk to the young people, but only if you’ve been CRBed.

There also need to be people who are willing to give of their time, talents and resources to help young people develop.

So let’s remember that young people have loads of potential, they are both the church of tomorrow and the church of today. Disciples in training not waiting.

Greenbelt

This year I was a contributor to the Greenbelt Festival on the 180 team running the skate park. Was a great time,  a few tweets made it up onto the church sofa and everything. Being a contributor is pretty great, at first we had figured we were the same as volunteers so we were going into the volunteers lounge and making ourselves a cup of tea or coffee and so on. Then on the second day a woman told us that we weren’t meant to be there and that we had to go to the contributors lounge instead. We were a bit annoyed by this assuming that we would have to pay for drinks there or that it might not even exist. However we eventually found the contributors area and discovered almost what heaven might be like. We didn’t have to make our own drinks, or pay for them there was a whole team of people there to help make the festival even better for us and we got everything we could need, free wifi and electricity as well. If only I had taken something that could use either of those effectively.

Throughout the week I made it to a few talks and bands, some of the highlights were Courtney Pine and The Herbaliser on the main stage and most of the bands in the Performance Cafe. However 2 things really stood out this Greenbelt for me. One was the brilliant Beer and Hymns where there was nothing fancy about the worship leading just a plonky piano and a singer or two, no fancy new songs just a whole load of people enjoying their beer and enjoying singing hymns passionately to God. The other was a talk I went to see, by Dave Andrews, he talked about the defining characteristic of the 20th Century being violence, more people died because of a another person in the 20th century than the rest of human history! The only way we can change this is to stop thinking of plan A (treating others how they treat us or how we think they will treat us) and start following Plan B (treating others as we want to be treated). His Talk has really made me think about how my life work for this and how this can be done big scale as well as small scale. Continue reading “Greenbelt”

Is the world really that easy?

I’ve just sat and read the article “The world is filled with boys who can shave” by Mark Driscoll, and to be honest… been kinda shocked at how negative the whole article was to be honest.

He seems to take a swipe at men who like to drink beer, play computer games, listen to music, enjoy cars, computers, fantasy football leagues, and burgers, as well as a number of ‘activities’. Now I’m not going to say that porn is ok, but he also mentions ‘women’ in his lists of “past times”. I’d love to hear him expand on this… its almost as if single guys arn’t meant to meet women.

I’ll give him his due, he does almost turn postive with;

Men are supposed to be producers, not just consumers. You’re defined by the legacy, the life, and the fruit that come out of you, not by what you take in. But most guys are just consumers.

Almost encouraging. Almost builds a guy up to make something out of his life, but then he launches into:

What happens if you walk into the church and try to find out what a man looks like? First of all, you’re not going to find a lot of guys in most evangelical churches. The least likely person to see in church is a single, twenty-something male. He is as rare at church as a vegan at a steak house.

In the world, boys who can shave are children who are consumers. In the church, boys who can shave are cowards who are complainers.

A buddy of mine calls them evangellyfish because they have no backbone. They don’t declare a major, church, theology, or fiancé. They don’t want to fail and they think if they don’t try, then they can’t fail. And by definition, that’s a failure.

They are, however, endowed with the spiritual gift of complaining. They say, “I hate the church. The church just wants my money.” As if the church wants his futon, Xbox, light beer, and computer filled with free Internet porn.

Here’s the cold hard truth: it’s a lot harder to do something than it is to complain about those who are doing something. The notorious sin of Christian guys is complaining about guys who are doing something rather than doing something.

Now, this is probably where this blog comes in. Instead of calling 20 something men in the church cowards, why dont we ask some questions? Why dont alot of men feel comfortable in church? Why do some guys feel like that? Is there something about church services that men dont feel comfortable with? There was a stage in my life where I was quite proud of calling myself “Christian”, as opposed to saying I was Baptist, Anglican, Catholic or whatever. Does that make me a evangellyfish?

Continue reading “Is the world really that easy?”

Can I get married in a C of E Church?

Ok – Consider this blog post to be a ‘public service’ post.

So on Sunday a couple of us went on a tour of the churches around Exeter, looking for suitable wedding venues. We saw some stunning churches, but were our friends allowed to get married there?

(As a side note, after meeting the people involved in some of the churches, would our friends want to get married there?)

If you are wanting to get married by the good old C of E, but are wondering how on earth it all works, you may find the Your Church Wedding site helpful. The most useful part by far is the section that explains what church you can get married in:

You can marry in a CofE church if you can show:-

That one of you:

  • has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • was baptised in the parish concerned or
  • was prepared for confirmation in the parish or
  • has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

  • has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents or grandparents:

  • was married in the parish

In all cases involving church services – i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage – this applies only to Church of England services. Even if you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, we want to help you explore whether it may still be possible for you to marry in your special church.

Talk to the Vicar there well in advance to discuss the options open to you.

YourChurchWedding.Org

Talk Wordle

On camp this year I gave a talk about our relationship with people we don’t know and how we can build God’s kingdom with them. My talk was based around the idea of a movement of love from hostility to hospitality and overcoming our fears and prejudices of other people. This is a beautiful Wordle of my notes

So… We did the “The Peace” at Church…

We did the “The Peace” at Church… and I couldn’t help thinking about this cartoon from Dave Walker;

In fact I actually used this cartoon to break the ice with a bunch of people that we didn’t know… well it seemed that we were surrounded by people that we didn’t know – so the above cartoon got well advertised…

As part of this panic-fuelled ice breaking, I was asked where I would I sit on the above cartoon.

Personally I would draw some dude wearing a hoodie, shaking peoples hands, eyeing the exit less and less as time goes on. With that in mind, why is “The Peace” ended just as I get comfortable with this madness?

What would a drawing of you during “The Peace” look like?

Explaining God?

Asbojesus posted this one up recently

from asbojesus.wordpress.com

It made me wonder about why so often in church we make the message of the gospel seem so boring and so dull when actually you read the Bible and it’s one of the most exciting things ever happening. Like when Lazarus was brought back to life (john 11). I’ve heard people talk about this like it’s an everyday occurence…Come on he’s just died and come back to life that is pretty amazing!!! The same with any of Jesus’ miracles they are truly amazing things yet we treat them like there’s nothing to them, as if they happen all the time.

I know that I’m, as guilty of this as anyone, especially when it comes to God working in my own life and in those around me.  I might pray and ask God for something to happen or ask to know his will or for his will to be done, I get an answer and then i forget God even exists.  In ‘The Cross and the Switch blade‘ David Wilkerson recounts a conversation with his wife, after he has prayed and asked God to work in the lives of the gang that he’s meeting and sharing his faith with he starts to see them becoming christians and he says to his wife that they must be making fun of him or mocking him. Her response is great she says to him, why are you being so stupid, you asked for a miracle, you got one and now you’re trying to explain it away like it was something completely normal. How often is God working in our lives and we try to explain it away as if He isn’t even there?