This has been a real labour of love for me. I was struck by a stat I read in Dr Peter Brierley’s book ‘Pulling out of the nosedive’ a few years ago, which revealed that around half of the UK’s churches still don’t do any work with teenagers at all. When you get to age 14, the numbers get even lower. Now, when the church is by far the UK’s biggest provider of youth work, that’s bad news for young people, let alone for the the future of the church.
So, driven by a passion to see more churches take on the challenge of reaching out to young people, I’ve written this really, really practical book. It takes you from the planning stages, through volunteer recruitment, setting up good structures and delivering your first session, right through to evaluation. There’s also stuff on safeguarding, programme planning, and also a bit on the philosophy and theology behind what we do. By no means do I claim that it’s a work of staggering academic depth, but I do think it’ll get you up and running – and I really pray that it does exactly that for a number of projects around the UK and beyond.
A couple of other things to mention. First – because I am increasingly a believer in collaboration – mine is certainly not the only voice in the book. There are some amazing contributions on a range of subjects from a number of my youth minstry friends: Gavin Calver, Matt Summerfield, Jenny Baker, Pete Wynter, Steve Griffiths, Pippa Elmes, Matt Costley and more. And second – there are quite a few photocopiable resources which I hope you’ll find helpful – observation forms to help you listen to your community, evaluation forms and appraisal/line management resources to keep you on track.
The book is strap-lined ‘How to launch or revitalize a church youth ministry’ (apologies for the American spelling, my publisher insisted) and I honestly think it works in both cases – as a first step into starting from scratch, or as a handbook for implementing change to a youth ministry that’s gone a bit stale.
I hope you find it helpful. And if you don’t want to buy a copy, I’d love you to join me in praying that the right people do get their hands on it, and that it plays a part in increasing youth work provision in the UK.
You can buy the book from Amazon here.