Wednesday, October 04, 2006

the future of youth ministry/youth work contd.

Ok, here are some more thoughts on the future of youth ministry/youth work.

Pete talks about the sustainability of church-employed youth workers. Apart from wondering about my career prospects (!), I wonder what implications this will have. I know the Anglican church for one is in a bit of a mess financially, and I guess this I kind of agree that unless a rather large source of income is found, that church based youth workers will be unsustainable in the majority of churches which currently employ them. I expect there will still be a few large churches, whose attendance and financial support, will mean that they can still employ a variety of staff.

But what might this mean for other churches. I guess it would mean that there would have to be an increase in volunteering - this would mean some changes would have to be made to current attitudes. OR, perhaps there might be other ways which churches could continue to 'minister to young people', perhaps through negotiating partnerships with statutory organisations, schools, etc

I remember writing an essay about the deprivatisation of religion some time ago. In thinking about the future of youth work/youth ministry, do we have to limit ourselves to working solely by ourselves? Perhaps churches need to investigate further the possibility of working alongside other organisations, and perhaps rediscovering a greater place in the public sphere in terms of meeting the needs of young people.

But I guess all this kind of assumes the continuing existence of institutionalised religon in some format. I'm not sure if its safe to assume this.

One thing the aforementioned article did pick up on was the notion that young people (perhaps people in general) want some sense of community. Maybe I need to think about that some more.....though if dis-institutionalisation is the way things might progress, I can't help but remember the kind of things Shane Claibourne was talking about at Greenbelt (I never really blogged on that as properly as I might have done) - the kind of verging on anarchic, underground, protestifying (protesting combined with prophesying), community lifestyle thing.

Just some doubt I'll have some more.....


Mr Jones said...

Sometimes the Church has too much of an inwards mentality meaning that the idea there is a whole raft of funding options from the government and opportunities to provide youth services to the community funded by the council AND do their own youthwork stuff just goes way over their head.
I mean, look at the opportunities inherent for the South West Sheffield in the Councils strategy documents found at
"The VCF (Voluntary, Charity and Faith) sector is a vital contributor alongside the
statutory and private sector providers of services
for children, young people and families. It’s great
ability is to create capacity to address small local,
hard-to-deal-with issues or client groups that
statutory agencies are not designed to deal with."
"The local authority is committed to supporting the
VCF in achieving sustainable and continuous
funding and in building its management capacity."

Come on Church - wake up and make the most of these opportunities...

Sid said...

hey phil, just checking in after a long time away from doubt to be followed by another time of out of blogging ! Anyhow, the URC church employ community development workers who set up pieces of work in conjunction with other agencies....I am currently trying to get the church, the council, the school etc... talking about funding posts together. i reckon it can be done, but it seems to take a patient diplomat to forge the relations....I reckon its the way forward, less institutionalised. more out there in the market place!