Today I have had the privilege of being able to make a contribution at the Annual conference for all the Church of England Diocesan Youth Advisers, on the subject of Evangelism.
I was part of a four header, in which 3 others also contributed to the discussion. All shared of their experiences, their projects, their trials and how they related what they did theologically. It was fascinating.
What was fascinating was that all of the pieces of practice emphasised working in the specific context. as a contrast, none spoke of culture. All spoke of how faith with young people became something organic, and occured when the environment was right for young people to take a risk. Very few talked about evangelism that is outside of the ongoing process of facilitating spaces for young people to opt into faith, often in a very everyday manner. Its as if discipleship & evangelism & church all sort of combine, and thats ok if young people are contributing, participating and becoming of faith.
The sessions didnt include many of the buzzwords like ‘lost generation’ , intentional, or ‘reaching’ – the practice of contextual youth work provision, of developing conversation, groups and the slow generation of faith in a specific place seemed to be at the core. Long term presence accompanied by meeting needs, showing interest, faithfulness and acting in love with young people, and along the way taking the odd risk with spirituality or waiting for the moment.
It was also great to have conversations with some of the diocesan youth advisers and be inspired by the work of others in the projects.
On my drive home I started to ponder a number of questions from the day, some prompted by the sessions given, and also the questions directed to the panel of the four of us, keep an eye on my next few articles over the next week to see whether my train of thoughts on working with young people in a faith context might be useful. The theme of performance is interesting as this was something raised twice, as are concerns about Faith, the kind of faith that young people have, and also how to evaluate success. They may all feature in further discussions here. (you can click the follow button to receive these)
However, in the meantime, and at the end of a long day of travel and talking I here is a link to the powerpoint slides for anyone interested: click this link: Diocesan Youth Adviser Conference presentation 2017 – not sure anyone who wasnt there could make sense of them. Theres a good conversation of the themes and discussions via twitter on #dyo17 if thats something you want to engage with too.
Anyway, thats all for now. Thank you to all in the room for the inspiration, conversations and stories.