Youth ministry is seasonal. There is a natural ebb and flow of work as your team changes and young people move on. Working with young people goes in fits and starts. There are seasons when there are more young people than you know what to do with, and others when it can feel like nothing you do works. When things aren’t going as well as you’d like, stopping to review is really important. Review enables us celebrate the good times and to refine our work for the next season.
Every congregation and community is filled with brilliant people, so every setting has numerous, wonderful ways of reaching out to young people. The art of review is connecting those brilliant people with the opportunities present on their doorstep and allowing God to take the ministry in a new direction. Over the last few years Frontier Youth Trust has tried and tested Appreciative Inquiry, a method of review which identifies the hidden assets in a community or congregation, seeks out the hidden dreams, and considers how those dreams and assets can come together to build a better world for young people.
Recently I went to help a church in the Cotswolds to review their youth ministry, during a season of challenge. Together we looked at the very best of the project to date. We mapped out all the skills and opportunities currently available to the church. We uncovered the dreams of the congregation for young people. Finally, we took time to listen to the local community, for opportunities where the church might play an active role. It was a great journey of discovery. We found some great cross-over areas. We pitched new projects, including a breakfast club, which used the congregation’s cooking skills and a mentoring programme involving the arts, connecting with the church choir and drama group. We then offered them support and expertise to re-found their original project for the next season.
Review is an essential element of keeping a youth ministry fit for purpose as the seasons change. What we at Frontier Youth Trust like about the Appreciative Inquiry method is that it is fuelled by the gifts, skills and dreams of the congregation, team and youth worker.
We are now actively seeking churches and groups who would like to undertake an Appreciative Inquiry in early 2017, and we would be especially keen to talk to groups wishing to start new work, those who are undertaking a re-think of their existing youth ministry programme, or those seeking to do youth ministry without a paid youth worker. Normally the process take about 10 days work of our experienced team and at £2000 plus expenses this can bring some very good value for money to a congregation.
Will you join us on a journey of discovery?
How could your church more effectively build a better world for the next generation of young people?
For more information and an opportunity to talk to someone about how this might work and be tailor made for your church please call our office on 0121 771 2328 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org