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Free Resource for Lent


I've just been reading about this on Doug Franklin's site. Here's the blurb...

This free lesson will help you effectively teach students about the significance of sacrifice in the Christian faith. In the days and weeks leading up to Easter, it is common for us to focus on Christ's ultimate sacrifice, yet it is also an important time to examine our own hearts, to see if we are truly leading a life of significant sacrifice, one that brings honor to Christ. We hope this lesson helps you in this process.

It's not a Catholic resource, so be certain to check it through before using it. You can download it here.

Music Interlude: Matt Redman - Facedown


I love this song. It's very much a marmite song though - some love it; others hate it!

New free online forum for the youth sector


This week, the National Youth Agency (NYA) working on behalf of the Local Government Association (LGA) and in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) has launched the Supporting Services for Young People community. The community is a free learning environment where people with an interest in the youth sector, not just those in local government, can discuss issues, access resources and take part in discussions.

All members will be able to fully interact with the community posting questions, seek help from others, showcase their own research and case studies and find the latest information that they need. Over the coming year the community will host a number of 'Hot Seats' from key figures in our sector where you will be able to ask questions and join the discussions.

The community will also be the online place to be if you want to find out about Positive for Youth, the Government's youth strategy. Running in tandem with the DfE's consultation on its draft statutory guidance for local authorities on services and activities to improve young people's well-being we will be posting our thoughts on the guidance and would welcome your comments and ideas.

NYA Chief Executive Fiona Blacke commented, 'This community represents a real opportunity to our sector. It is for the sector, and we want it to be owned by the sector. As part of our programme of work with the LGA we are pleased to have established a partnership that brings for the first time the statutory and voluntary sector providers and practitioners together in a way in which will help to improve the services that we all provide to young people. We would urge all of you to join up now!'

LGA Children and Young People's Board Member Councillor Apu Bagchi commented, 'Councils firmly believe that giving councils and their partners a platform to share best practice is the best way to improve public services. As part of our work with NYA we commissioned the Agency to develop a community of practice for promoting excellence in services for young people. Opening the community to all our partners who support young people locally is an exciting development. We look forward to seeing a lively debate about how we can best support young people to achieve their potential and fulfil their ambitions.'

NCVYS Chief Executive Susanne Rauprich commented, 'We are very excited about offering a space to our membership to explore key issues affecting young people with their statutory sector partners. We hope that the community will provide a place for conversation and knowledge exchange that can help to share practice and shape new thinking across the sector.'

DfE commented, 'The Department for Education welcomes this new forum. Positive for Youth embraces supporting and facilitating those people working closely together at the forefront of reforming youth services. The community makes an important contribution to the support that is being given to the sector to help them share knowledge and learning from each others experiences'.

To register to join the Knowledge Hub, click here. Once you have registered you will need to click on 'Groups' and search using the ABC list for the 'Supporting Services for Young People' hub and ask to join.

What I wish I knew when I was younger...


This is a photo of me (front - geeky shirt) when I was, I think, 19. Specifically, it's at the end of a water fight in our first year of University.

My reason for taking this little trip down memory lane is an article I read on ChurchLeaders.com called What I Wish I Knew When I was 16

(Yeah, the only photos I have to hand of me at 16 are taken on an airfield wearing the world's ugliest flight suit, and for some bizarre reason, they're in Black and White!)

Anyway... I'll be 34 next week. How time flies. And I know that I'm a lot more confident, capable and self-assured than I was back then. That's what happens when you grow up - you learn and grow. And that's why youth ministry is so important - because we're dealing with people who haven't learned that much, but have no idea that they haven't.

It all makes me wonder how best to communicate our wisdom (such as it is). How can we put it in language that's understandable without sounding hideously out of touch?

I'll leave you with that Friday morning teaser...

What would Jesus Tweet


Ever wondered what the big guy would make of the internet?

This rather interesting piece from youthworker.com helps you to like social media and faith and to put it into a format workable with young people.

Read about it here...

Love is the Key...


Well, when St. Paul said that nothing really has any value with out love, it turns out that he actually knew what he was talking about.

We know, of course, that love matters. It's the nature of God. It's the true nature of all those he created, and in the end it's the only thing that really makes a difference in people's lives.

According to a CNN article love is the key to brain development in children. Those who are loved do much, much better than those who aren't. This is obvious stuff, but it reminds us of the importance of helping young people to feel that they are loved and cared for.

I'll leave you with that thought...

Sheldon Cooper - Legend of Dating...


In my last job, I was forever looking for interesting clips to introduce sessions on relationships. Being a fan of the Big Bang theory, I think I've found just the thing...

Youth Leader Insecurities


Over the years I've met a ton of people in important positions who are really insecure. In fact, relatively recently I saw one particular youth minister's insecurities rip apart a team and threaten a project which had had hundreds of thousands invested in it.

We all get insecure at times. It's only natural. And part of youth ministry, perhaps, is about encountering ourselves - as well as God and the young people - in a deeper way and building up something more positive.

ChurchLeaders.com has an article on signs that you are insecure. Some good stuff to reflect on. If I can add two pieces though, they would be these... firstly, if you are insecure, relax. Start to believe that you are worth your job, and if there is something or somebody constantly knocking your self-esteem, get away quick! 

Secondly, if you are working with somebody whose insecurities are causing damage, try to help them. If it becomes obvious that you can't help them, then you need to seek life elsewhere.

These may sound like rather obvious - or maybe even random - bits of advice. Believe me though, I've learned them both the hard way. The very hard way!

[Source | image hotlinked from Flickr user Christina Welsh]

Why Small groups are worth it


Josh Griffin has a great post about why Small group work is a must in youth ministry.

No time for intelligent analysis from us at the minute unfortunately. You'll just have to go read it...

[image hotlinked from Flickr user micmol]

re:Build My Church 2.0


 

The organisers of the excellent ReBuild My Church event have announced the date for the next live broadcast. It will be on Thursday April 19th at 12pm Central US time and then replayed at 7pm. That's 6pm and 1am (Friday 20th) in the UK, and in Sydney, Australia that's 1am and 8am (both Friday 20th).

This is quite a complex calculation since the clocks went forward in the US last weekend, but haven't yet in the UK and Australia, but trust me... we checked it and double-checked it!

The next live broadcast will feature videos from Armando Cervantes, Scott Dougherty, Colm Leyne, D. Scott Miller, Katie Prejean and Jack Regan.

(we're not so sure we like the sound of the last one!)

More details on the Facebook page and the website.

Church Politics and Youth Ministry


I read a lot of youth ministry blogs from the evangelical world. To be honest, they're light years ahead of us in many aspects of youth ministry and so they've often got a lot of really good stuff to offer.

Naturally though, stuff from non-Catholic sites needs sieving and translating a little at times, and there are quite a few posts which I read and find myself thinking 'woah! you think that's a problem for you guys... you should try it on this side of the Tiber!' I had this reaction a few weeks back when I picked up a piece about tradition, and I had pretty much the same reaction with the piece in question here.

What I'm talking about is a great post on YouthMinistry360.com about Church Politics and Youth Ministry. It's a good piece, but as I read it I found myself realising that I work for the Church that pretty much invented Church politics. I work for the Church whose politics pretty much shaped the western world for a generation.

I mean, seriously, our Church politics has toppled Kings and Queens.

Yep. There are some things us Catholics are just unparalleled at: Candles, High liturgy, Vestments, Tradition, and most definitely - definitely - Church politics.

On a serious note though, rea the article at ym360. It needs a context-translation, but it says some interesting stuff. And if you have ever been stumped by some silly aspect of Church politics, feel free to vent in the combox!!

[image hotlinked from ym360 - courtesy of shutterstock/Jezper]

Minnesota Bishop Encouraged by Young People's Quest for Truth


Bishop John Quinn of Winona, Minn., has welcomed Pope Benedict XVI's call for better instruction of young people, saying it will meet their desire for solid truth over self-centered relativism.

"Our younger generation is breaking out of it," Bishop Quinn told EWTN News, observing a growing discontent with worldviews that reject the idea of truth in areas like religion and morality.

"They're looking for the truth. One of them said to me, 'Bishop, just tell us the truth. Don't sugarcoat it. We want to know what the truth is.' And someone else said to me: 'You know, bishop, we've been told so many lies, throughout the culture and by other people. Just give us the truth.'"

Bishop Quinn offered his thoughts on March 9, hours after his second meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Bishops of his state, as well as North and South Dakota, were in Rome for their traditional ad limina visit involving talks with the Pope and Vatican officials about the health of their dioceses.

You can read the rest of this article on the (US) National Catholic Register site...

Brilliant 'Footprints' Video


We all know and love the 'footprints in the sand' poem. Here is a brilliant video version, courtesy of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

Pope meets the Prior of the Taize Community


Some video from last week of the Pope meeting the Prior, and some other brothers, of the Taize community.

Taize is still a place which attracts thousands of young people and young adults each year. If you've just been, or if you're about to go, write something in the combox and tell us all about it...

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Salesians of Don Bosco

Rebuild My Church

Youthwork Magazine

YouCast - Catholic Youth Ministry Podcast

Catholic Youth Ministry Federation