I’m currently working on a side project where I’m trying to establish how youth workers view the “basics”. If you are in any form of youth work or youth ministry, either as leader or volunteer or any other, then check out this survey:
“Youth Worker Basics” (on Survey Monkey)
“What would the ultimate youth worker look like?” asks Aaron Garth of Ultimate Youth Worker in Australia. I love the work that guys like Aaron are busy with; always looking for ways to be more effective, make a bigger impact and reach a little further in society.
I have wrestled a bit with Aaron’s question and here are five characteristics that I think the ultimate youth worker possesses:
Since my days in High School, I’ve managed to make friends with people who tend to be on contrasting ends of the spectrum in terms of faith and religion. As youth workers, we all have friends who have different core Christian beliefs, come from different denominations etc. But these abovementioned friends of mine do not believe. They are atheists.
Why they are atheists, I’m not sure. From what I could gather most of them have been hurt by the church in some manner. The purpose here however is not to judge them on their reasons…
A while back, I had the privilege of doing an interview with ‘Youth Workin’ It’ about our ministry here in South Africa. Somewhat surprisingly to me, one of my atheist friends decided to read the interview after which he asked a very thought-provoking question – “What about the kids who are atheists?”
At one of our recent Grade 11 teachings, I asked the kids to take a few moments to think about what the most important things in their lives are. The answers were what you would expect ranging from family and friends, all the way to the clothes that they wear. Since I like asking questions, I proceeded with the following bomb: For how many of those things have you given thanks today? One of the girls in the group responded tongue in the cheek: “I haven’t had time for my evening bible-study and prayer yet.” The others just sat there in silence.
If we were to reflect on those questions right now, we should be able to make a whole list of things that we hold dear and that are very important to us. The problem is that after a while we start to develop a mindset that we somehow deserve these things and ‘we don’t need to give thanks for the things that we deserve or worked so hard for’ (especially the smaller things). At least that is what we think.
If you’ve had me for a while on your Twitter timeline, you would’ve realized that apart from youth ministry things, I tweet a lot about rugby. I love sport; I grew up with a sport-mad dad and in a sport-mad family. It is part of who I am (as I’m writing this I’m also watching a game of IPL cricket).
As is the case with many of the team-centered and ball-oriented sports played worldwide, one of the essentials is knowing when to pass the ball. Part of your vision as a player is that you need to understand when to pass the ball to your teammate who is in a better position than you are so that he or she can possibly score.
In terms of my ministry, this week wasn’t a great one. I had to deal with a very difficult parent who in the past has had some problems with one of my volunteers. He doesn’t really like or respect my volunteer or me and to be honest with you, I don’t think he really likes anyone. He seems to be a very deeply unhappy man. Unfortunately, this led to an inevitable escalation in conflict (ending in him screaming at me over the phone).
A while back Youth Workin’ It started with a series where they asked youth workers and leaders from around the globe about the types of youth work that they do. I had the privilege of doing an interview about the way that we as youth ministry approach youth work in South Africa. You can click here to read the interview.
In Matthew 22 the Pharisees ask Jesus the question: what is the most important law? To which He gives that well-known answer of love the LORD your God and love your neighbor. In this post I want to take on the “love God” part from a different perspective; as a guide to counseling teenagers.
Let’s just quickly take a look at that verse again:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Mat 22:37 NRSV)
Heart, soul and mind – three important parts that need to nurtured and looked after in the lives’ of your students.