YOUTH EVANGELISM UPDATE

Intergenerational Toolkit

“It takes a whole village to raise a child” – Ancient African Proverb

integenerational_toolkit

There’s been a resurgence in recent years in the church in the understanding that resonates with the proverb above. It takes a whole Church to raise a child, or a teenager. There’s been a new sense that, while age appropriate activities are brilliant and are important for children and young people, they should never be instead of, or to the detriment of, time spent together as a whole church family, with every generation present.

Maybe this is something already rooted in your church culture – maybe it’s mentoring or specific times you gather together as a whole community, we even have at least one church in the Diocese now who has dropped their monthly ‘all age service’ shifting instead to a model with all ages together every week – or maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking about and haven’t known where to start. Or maybe even, you are totally sceptical about the whole idea.

Wherever you’re at, we’ve come across a few great resources for you to get your teeth into:

Intergenerational Resources
Sticky Faith – a host of resources for intergenerational Youth work from the Fuller Youth Institute
Intergenerational Church Toolkit – from the Christian Reformed Church

For an Overview of IG thinking:

Job Advert – Children and Families Worker, Christchurch Priory

The parish of Christchurch in Dorset is looking for a committed, experienced and motivated person to be our first Children and Families Worker.

 

We are seeking a committed Christian to work in our existing team and liaise with schools and other churches in Christchurch to find new ways of connecting with children and their families in order to bring the Gospel to them, support them socially, and engage them in either the existing children’s ministry at the Priory Church (which has scope for development) or by pioneering new provision at St George’s.

 

We are looking for: someone with previous experience of working with children and families; a team leader who is also a team player; a ‘self-starter’ with a flexible outlook and plenty of initiative; who is able to engage with others with sincerity, humility and humour; and who has a heart for evangelism in working with children and their families. S/he has good communication and organisational skills, can rise to the challenge of a diverse workload, and can work well under pressure.

 

Hours:        Full-time, i.e. 37 hours per week

Salary:        £22,000 – £28,000 (depending on experience)

Interviews:  27 March 2017

Start date:  1 September 2017

 

There is a genuine occupational requirement that post holders are practicing Christians. An enhanced DBS check will be required. Housing may be available.

 

We hope you sense our excitement at this new post and what we believe God is calling us to do together. For further details, including Role Description, Terms and Conditions etc., please contact: prioryhouse@christchurchpriory.org  For a conversation about the post, please call Canon Charles Stewart on 01202 800888.

Young People and Mental Health Safeguarding Dicussion Update

Mental Health – it’s the hot topic of the moment when it comes to working with young people. But how well are we managing to keep up as Christian Youth workers and churches? That was the topic for discussion when we gathered a group of youth leaders for a Round table discussion in November.

safeguarding roundtable

It was evident that all of us had brought our own stories, questions and experiences with us and evident that the young people in our youth ministries are all grappling with questions around mental health, whether for themselves or for their friends and families.

 

We brought some really big questions with us:

  • When do I talk to parents/school about mental health disclosure?
  • How can we best support and help young people when the NHS/School systems are so full of people needing help?
  • How can we best support CYP, families, and peers who struggle with mental health (ADHD, Autism, Self-Harm, Suicide)?
  • What’s the scale of the problem?

 

And some wide ranging concerns

  • Anxiety – an epidemic
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Self-harm
  • Not knowing who to go to to find information
  • Culture of escalation/Rising tide
  • Meeting needs of CYP and parents
  • Supporting schools
  • Dealing with suicide

 

It felt to the whole group like a whole lot had changed in the landscape in the last 5 years or so…

  • Increased pressure on young people – like Image and social media and Career choice by Year 8
  • Decreased CAMHS capacity
  • Social media – Cyber bullying = 24/7, Role models, Trolling
  • Internet
  • Drugs – MCATs, Vaping, Sex, Psychosis
  • Labelling– Traits vs. Diagnosis, Self/Parent Diagnosing
  • On the plus side – it’s now ‘on the radar’ -Some church engagement, Talking more, More resources & expertise

 

But we felt, there were a growing number of challenges for us as Youth leaders. Ranging from:

  • Being Leaders with mental health struggles or working along side colleagues who are struggling
  • Organisations, like NHS and local government, sometimes looking to churches to pick up the slack
  • Support can be very resource heavy (especially for Leaders)
  • What does Discipleship look like in all this?
  • How do we support Parents
  • Facing issues of Suicide in our ministries
  • Engaging with issues around Gender dysphoria – challenges of legality, safeguarding, parents, and leaders’ clarity.
  • And many more

 

So what was the group’s advice for youth leaders?

  • Talk about Mental Health issues – both in up front/organised Talks and but also in passing conversations
  • Be Pro-active in engagement when stuff has gone wrong
  • Create programmes that encourage positive mental health – engaging with exercise, quiet space, fun, etc

 

And, finally, Jackie (Diocesan Safe Guarding Adviser) and I (Sarah) got our homework to do, with requests for:

  • Training Days
    • In-house or small regional events
    • Potential of working with candidates
    • Professionals – get it right
  • Process mapping for disclosures
  • Resource list (to include Christian counselling and secular counselling)
  • Gather stories from people who’ve gone through youth groups with mental health struggles
  • Create a debrief process for leaders and safeguarding advisers
  • Support for Campaigning on Mental Health issues

 

We’re in discussion about how we follow up – so watch this space!

 

A huge thank you to those youth leaders who brought their wisdom and expertise to the discussion. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got thoughts. And please know, if you’re grappling with Mental Health challenges in your ministry, we’re here to support you!