Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Real Thing blog

The Real Thing is a Youthworks Holiday Camp (formerly known as Camp Howard) that I lead on for 5 years or so. It's the sister camp to Swing into Action - another Youthworks camp that Row and I direct during the July Holidays.

They have a blog set up counting down to the camp this year. I think it's a great idea. Check it out here. I'm not sure who is running the blog - but I found the link on James and Anita's blog.

Youthworks Holiday Camps are great for Christian teenagers and for their non-Christian friends. They are great for Christian teenagers in that they can hear the gospel clearly proclaimed and be certain of their stance before God. They are fantastic for non-Christians to hear the glorious news of Jesus death and resurrection in a super-fun context. Youthworks Holiday Camps work hard at seeing teenagers followed-up into local youth groups.

For more info click here. Download the rego form here. And encourage any teens in your youth groups to think of friends they can take along.

Have you been on a Holiday Camp before? What's your fondest memory?

Congrats Matt & Tash on the engagement!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Emo Evangelism

Go over here to read my thoughts on Evangelism to Emo's.

Would love to hear your comments...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Australian Youth Facts and Stats

Here's an awesome research tool for writing and thinking about Christian youth ministry in the Australian context. It is a website called Australian Youth Facts and Stats put together by the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies. Whenever a significant academic study into some aspect of youth in Australia is released the people to the following very helpful things:

  • Explain who did the study and why

  • Give you a summary of the main findings

  • Link to more detailed stuff about the study, and link to the study itself if it is available online.

  • Link to newspaper articles that have referenced the study

They also categorise all the material for easy access. Of particular interest is the Religion & spirituality section.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Youthworks Youth Ministry Conference 06

The following is copied from an email from Youthworks. For more details on this conference click here. Who is planning on going?

Just letting you know that REGISTRATION IS CLOSING SOON. Final registration for the Youth Ministry Conference closes Nov 22. So now is the time to talk to your team and get booked in.

  • Jodie McNeill (Youthworks)
  • Scott Petty (Christ Church St Ives)
  • Andrew Cameron (Moore College)
  • Stu Crawshaw (Gymea Anglican)
  • James Fong (Youthworks) will be speaking at the dinner on Monday Night
  • Connecting with God’s People - Where does Christian community fit within our increasingly individualistic culture?
  • Connecting within God’s People - How do we see youth in the bigger picture of the church community and the dangers of being lost in transition from one group to the next.
  • Mission in a Disconnected World - There are thousands of youth in every suburb who do not know Jesus. How do we connect with these youth in a God honouring way? More importantly how do we help them connect with Jesus?
  • Right and Wrong in a Disconnected World - How do youth today understand the concept of morality and how should we respond in our youth ministries?
  • Connecting for Eternity - Exploring the importance of helping young people become mature Christians, with deep roots that can withstand the turmoil and temptations of life.
WORKSHOPS - Practical workshops to help you work through different areas of your ministry.
  • Creating Focus and Flow at youth group
  • Using Music
  • Conflict Resolution
  • School Ministry
  • Teaching times
  • Discipline
  • Where to Next?
FORUMS - The forums are an open discussion on issues facing Youth Ministers and leaders.
  • Volunteers- Serving in a Time Starved Life
  • Starting out- Surviving and Growing in the first 3 years
  • Veterans- Dealing with Baldness, cellulite and the Long Haul
REVIVE will be encouraging us with the music and playing some of their new stuff.

1) Go to Youthworks.net and register online
2) Go to Youthworks.net, download the brochure and fax/ mail it in.
3) Call 8268 3388 and ask Julie to send you a brochure or book over the phone
To Find out more go to www.conferences.youthworks.net

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another Teen Car Crash

I just read this article in the SMH. This is the second crash in a couple of weeks, and one of many over the past few years. It's been quite a talking point in opinion columns and with politians in NSW over the past little while. My guess is it doesn't really concern teenagers in our youth groups, unless they are in a community directly effected by a death (I could be wrong on this, just my guess). However, I'm sure it is on the mind of parents in every youth group in NSW. I'm not really sure what to say about it all, or if there is anything that should be said. But, as leaders of you groups is there anything we can contribute to the discussion? How can we help look after parents as we also look after teenagers? I wonder how many of our youth group parents see our main purpose as creating a safe place for kids to be, as opposed to our main purpose being the growth of Christ's kingdom amoung teenagers?

Youth Ministry and Culture: An Introduction

Well friends, this blog is about youth ministry and writing, so here's our first real post in that direction. I've been reading Niebuhr's book Christ and Culture recently, and it's really helped me get started thinking about youth ministry and the wider youth culture can and should relate. Here's a possible introduction for an extended article:

Youth ministers are forever watching, analysing and copying secular youth culture. This isn’t a fundamentally good thing, or a fundamentally bad thing. It is simply a necessary part of the job. Youth ministers are frequently aware that be they 25 or 55, they no longer inhabit the same cultural sphere as a 13 year old. Whilst it mustn’t be overstated, there is some degree of cultural remoteness between youth ministers and those they lead. Thus, to effectively bring the light of Christ and the word of the gospel to teenagers, youth ministers become students of youth culture. Many youth ministers pause to take in the nuts and bolts of youth culture, such as musical styles, technological trends, and linguistic variety. However, fewer youth ministers stop to consider their fundamental stance toward youth culture and the theological foundation, if any, for that stance. Is youth culture something that needs to transform and inform the church in order to serve the youth of today? Is youth culture so full of evil that Christians must come out and be separate from it? Or is youth culture essentially good, whilst being tainted by sin, and in need of redemption? Wether we have thought about it or not, our answer to these questions will fundamentally shape that nature of the youth ministry we pursue. Wether we have thought about it or not, the way we answer these questions must be theologically grounded.

I'd love some feedback. Does the intro seem clear? Is it interesting? Does it make you want to read more? Does it raise an issue for you in youth ministry?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How to Get Teens Excited About God - time.com

It looks like Time magazine is becoming a youth ministry magazine... two articles in the last week!! This article is based on some Barna research.

Our context in Australia is significantly different from the USA... but...

What gets your teens excited about God?

Maybe the more foundational question is:
ARE your teens excited about God?

What are the drop-off rates of teenagers from your church/ministry?

(The picture is from the website - they always get these photos when people are in odd-looking poses...)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

About our name: The Youth Vanguard

We've called this blog the 'Youth Vanguard'. It's got youth in the title, cause it's about young people - that's pretty simple. But, what's with the 'Vanguard' bit? Vanguard simply means the forward party, the group who are pushing ahead, testing out, trying, scouting. We are not claiming that our little group is some sort of leader in youth ministry. Rather, this is where the members of our group push ahead with ideas about youth ministry they are working on, where we try out thoughts on others. This blog is the forward party for ideas that will hopefully become polished pieces of writing published in youth ministry books, journals and magazines.

Hope that makes sense. We think it's cool.