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 thoughts....no doubt I'll have some more.....