Book here for: ‘Re-Fresh’- Youth Ministry training for everyone

Hartlepool Youthwork Session poster v2

Hello! These four sessions have been run by me in Hartlepool, (the fourth one is next month.) Each has been on a different aspect of youth ministry and have developed themes of group work, education, valuing young people, developing gifts, and a whole load of other stuff besides, like discipleship, mission and ministry.

I have now added below some of the feedback from the sessions run so far (and I have now run the introductory one twice, hence the larger amount of feedback) .  If you would like me to run these sessions in your church or community context, I am willing to deliver them for £120 each + (public transport travel to your location). As you can see from below the feedback has been good, each session being well received. Do let me know in the form below if you would like me to run the sessions with your teams of volunteers.

Session 1. Introducing Pioneer Youth Ministry . 

This session will be particularly appropriate if you have ‘open’ childrens/youth/family work, the drop in type – in which its all fairly informal. It will also be relevant if you’re thinking of starting this kind of work, or thinking of developing detached or street based work with young people. We will look in this session at different approaches to youth ministry and how it relates to the church, we will look at some of the key themes, and ideas that will help in developing youth clubs/community work. We will look at Mission, Faith and Discipleship.  The session will aim to help you think about what it means to be pioneering, some of the processes and also what some of the tools needed are.

If you want to read further on Pioneering & Youth/Childrens work, ‘Here be Dragons’ is a good resource, you can buy this in the link above, and they’ll be copies to buy on the day. To read a little more about pioneering, have a look at this article in which 15 youthworkers give some advice for churches thinking of starting from scratch with young people

So – This is the first session – On Pioneering, On starting something new –

It might be that developing pioneering is what you need to do, because the open space being created is a wonderful place – but the expectation of getting these people to ‘a faith’ space that looks different is causing tension. A question we will consider is’What might pioneering look like in an existing open community/youth space?’

That is session 1.

Feedback from participants included: 

‘it was great to try and look at a different way of doing youth work from the past’

‘thank you, great training’

‘it made me think’

‘liked the resources available, to spark conversations’

‘James did a brilliant job of contextualising our current models for youth outreach’

‘it is helpful to understand why we’re doing what we do now, even if its not working’

‘great to put things in context’

‘it was broadly based in principles and values that reflect my own’

‘it broadly confirmed my general outlook and vision, i always felt that the traditional approaches were limited and did not have the reach needed’

‘love the provocation’

‘loved the heart of the message’

‘it was a good introduction to the course and i hopefully will help me reflect on what we do do here’

‘it has opened my mind up to alternative ways of approaching youth/childrens ministry and inspired me to seek and open up conversations with young people’ 


Session 2 ‘Shut up back there, I’m trying to tell you that God loves you’ 

Ever thought that, at the end of the session when its time to do the God-slot?

What about the thought that ‘your talk was great, but im not sure any of the young people really enjoyed it’ 

I wonder, is it time for a radical rethink on the way that young people are educated about aspects of faith? Have we made faith something that is just listened to, and do young people hear that faith is just a form of therapy or moral compass?

This session will look at different forms of education, and also the nature of the youth practices that you do. Particularly if you do have a ‘god-slot’ type group, where an epilogue is presented at the end of an evening of Games or activities. But this session is for anyone wanting to find out more about developing faith and discipleship within youth ministry, and the kind of faith might create disciples and followers of the radical way of Jesus.

There are reviews of Nick Shepherds book ‘Faith Generation‘  on this site, his is one resource that I will be using in this session.

Feedback from this session includes:

‘great to get ideas for youth club’

‘it opened my eyes up to the way young people relate to us, to faith and to the world around them’

‘it was an opportunity to think about the ‘god slot’, how relevant it is and useful it is and possible alternatives, in light of the way Jesus trained his disciples’

Session 3. ‘But we only have 6 young people’  Making the small significant, measuring more than numbers

I have got to be honest this is one of my bug bears. So I may go off on one. This session  will cover a number of things, but hopefully not a great deal on numbers.

It will cover:

Developing group work, and will also give you tools to do reflective practice in and with your groups so that you create successful and meaningful youth work.

We will also look at the ‘only’ question – and what to do with young people in a small group- and developing ideas and resources for only a small number of young people. It may surprise you that smaller groups and smaller churches create the environment for longer lasting faith. So – this session will celebrate the small, the deep, and also the meaningful.

A bygone era remembers large youth ministry, but only a few stayed in churches, so, maybe developing small groups is the way forward.

Feedback from this session included:

‘Reaching out to young people in the church and community is an ever present challenge and opportunity and i feel i need equipping, I have really appreciated the work gone into presenting this course and find it all really helpful, this session was particularly helpful in exploring different ways of working with young people in small groups’

‘great to have time and space to reflect on what we are doing’

‘encouragement to consider new ways of looking at working with children and young people’

‘it is not always comfortable to be challenged, but it is necessary’ 😉

‘really value your learning, experience and expertise James’

‘we really do only have 6 young people in our youth group!’

‘i found it interesting and challenging’

‘thank you – i have lots to reflect on’

‘it gave me some new ideas and focus on some areas to improve’

‘we covered alot of ground, so maybe a longer session’

‘it was all useful’


Session 4 ‘What Role do young people play in the church?’ Developing Young people as ministers

(NB this session is to be on Monday 25th Feb at 7pm- Headland Baptist church)

This session will look at two main themes.

  • How do churches view young people? and
  • What role do they play in it?

So, Its a session where we think about young people as they are the main focus of the youth ministry, aren’t they? We will also have a conversation about two key aspects of youth ministry – Participation and Empowerment, these will help us to reflect further on the role of young people in churches and youth groups, and how they perceive their role to be. As a result, we may be surprised by how our role as leaders may need to change. Ultimately – how we treat young people – are we more likely to be trying to entertain minors, or empower their ministry – might give everyone ways of thinking further about discipleship, and young peoples participation in it.

If you’ve already had a look at Here be Dragons, then there’s some sections on Participation in this.

So there’s a brief run down, with a few months preparation time to think about these themes further. Some of the sessions I haven’t written or planned yet, so above is where I think they might go as I have thought about the themes.

Each Session will include time for discussions, activities, possibly role plays depending on the subject,. There will be time to go off on tangents, ask questions and share stories and experience. There will be moments of Theory, of Theology and Experience throughout, it will be challenging, hopefully affirming, and provoking, but not out of reach for a Saturday morning.

If you’re interested , you have 3 choices.

1. You can email me at and book a place on the training.

2  You could fill in this form


The third option is that If you would like to benefit from these sessions in your town or city – then do let me know via my contact details above. *Costs to be negotiated if travel is required etc.. Thank you.

I look forward to seeing you on the 10th November, for a great morning of conversation, ideas and learning on youth ministry