Intro to the detached Process

Continuing the church on the edge series here is an abridged version of the process we will be looking at following and where it connects with the Church on the edge stages.

1. SURVELLENCE -Working out which geographical areas or groups of young people to engage

2 COLD CONTACT. Visual stage where we acknowledge the groups

3 COLD CONTACT. Introductions where we introduce ourselves and the project (could be interesting for Church on the edge project as it is one time I have had more of an agenda)

4. AREA BASED WORK This is when starting in an area or patch and a wide variety of contacts are being made.

5. PEER GROUP WORK This happens as the work becomes more defined and consists of natural groupings of young people. This stage is often where larger groups are identified usually around a shared interest. e.g. football or hanging out and may be too many work with or inconsistant attendance.

6. BASIC SMALL GROUP WORK As key young people are identified the work should be forward to this stage. This group is made up from the groups that exist within the larger peer group.

7. RISKY SMALL GROUP WORK This is about taking calculated risks to move the work and relationships forward such as 1-1 work, a relaxing , perhaps having a meal with the young people etc. However this is not about putting yourself or the young people at risk. This will be the key stage for Church on The edge project

8. EXPOSURE AND EXPLORATION OF SPIRITUALITY Young people should be introduced to aspects of Christianity in practical supportive ways. It can range from events to raise their consciousness of Bigger things, e.g. watching the sunrise, exploring creation, to going to an event. The worker should explain some of the things that may happen at events and translate what is happening at the event and use the opportunity to explore spiritual issues in a supportive way. This stage will centre around definition for the Church on the edge process and will be part of the action research stage

9. RELATIONAL BASED EXPRESSION OF CHURCH This refers to supporting the young people in local churches or relevant groups, and developing new groups based around the young people developing their own expression of a discipleship group with the worker. This will be the beginings of the Church on the edge final stage as the young people define what they mean by Church and those that wish to continue the journey

Between each stage there are tools or mechanisms that enables work to progress from stage to stage. These are varied and depend on the interests of the young people you are working with it could be kite flying, sports, hobbies, issues explored, trips etc Anything you do as group together that helps the relationships deepen.
It is possible to identify the groups you are working with and guestimate where you are on the development plan. From there decide where you wish the group to be in six months time and how you propose to get there, e.g. explore doing a residential. This enables you to gauge your progress in some way.

Taken from Meet them where They’re at

A lonely no

At the meeting with the church yesterday the person introducing the time asked “Is music important to God” Whilst the rest of people answered “yes” I gave a no and mumbled something to L about people and justice. The second time of asking I answered louder but was still a lone voice. So I turned my daughter B who is 8 and asked her the question. She was caught, here was her dad disagreeing with everyone else asking her the question, I could almost see the cogs turning as she thought about the answer. Her answer was so cool, she gestured a level with her hand and said “people at the top, then the world and then music”. Maybe she was trying to be diplomatic, but maybe she was right.

Missional Anthropology

Rev TC and I have been discussing a couple of projects we are involved in. The project I am involved in is called Church on the edge (working title) and is a partnership project between FYT, CMS, and Local churches. It has always been part of the plan to blog the journey, so I have borrowed Rev TCs term, Missional Anthropology as a category title for this section, as the church on the edge title is only a working one and I hope to broaden this section out as we get others’ insights.

A sample from the project outline is below. The project came about through reflecting on the links between the detached work I have done before which resulted in what we then called relational based expressions of church, developing stuff like the FaSt game and how since the growth in the emerging church scene peoples understanding around what is church had changed and that it was time to look at what we can learn from one another (missional youth workers and emerging church). It connected with some my questions about the how truly missional in nature of some the emerging expressions were which is why I love Rev TC’s phrase and nicked it.

So the shape for the next few posts are:-
Introduction to the Detached Process
Update on the story so far
5 or so Posts on the process we are looking at
A Contacting Community
A Growing Community
A Connecting Community
An Exploring Community
An Ecclesial Community

A unique approach to emerging church and young people at risk that has at its’ heart the intentionality of growing church with young people on the edge as a missionary endeavour.

Building on the partners strengths and knowledge of working with young people on the edge of society to develop a fresh approach to challenging young people’s behaviour through good youth work processes with the critical intention to grow a relevant expression of church with marginalized young people.

To identify the key issues in establishing church with marginalized young people through the process and disseminate this through the Christian community in the UK to facilitate locally grounded and resource light expressions of church.

The project will to seek to work within a professional framework and believe good youth work is participatory, empowering, educative and promotes equality of opportunity. We seek to enhance the personal, social, emotional and spiritual development of young people that they may realise their full potential.

1. To build meaningful and purposeful relationships with young people in three areas through detached youth work and/or a mobile drop in facility.
2. To build a sense of community with the young people through a variety of means including, regular contact, mutual support, activities and trips, and residential experiences.
3. To identify and develop a second step project, where young people go through (with the worker) a wilderness or rite of passage experience, that consolidates them as a group and develops a sense of openness to one another and desire to change/grow.
4. To work with the young people through action research to develop a culturally relevant expression of church.

Love fear and detached

Tony and I have been having a bit of a chat (if comments after a blog constitute a chat) based on some his reflections on Zacceus. It started about Jesus inviting himself to the party and making the first move, but for us this is a fearful thing to do. Tony commented on 1 john 4:18 says that perfect love casts out all fear. If God is perfect love, then there is no room or even possibility of fear in him. so, if he loves us perfectly, then why would he be afraid to make the first move?

Got me thinking about the link with detached work and how it’s the cold contact thing that people still find most frightening. I was wondering about some sort of image people based on jn 4.18 that people could hold when the make those first tentative steps towards a bunch of young people. Yet whilst this could help it is the experience of God’s perfect love that can’t be pinned down to an image that will release us from fear. In the training how do I communicate that personal experience, of God meeting with you personally and perfectly that sustains the whole of life not just enables the cold contact. Maybe it about my story being part of the story and people discovering their own part in the story, and not something that can be communicated.

Slope and Control

With regards to Richard’s piece on ‘slope‘ and the comments about it:

I was thinking about the time I spend with the youth of our local church. Am I:
1. Running a group with the agenda of communicating Christ to them
2. Running a group with the sole agenda of enabling them to be a group and have their own agenda’s, and just being Christ to them.

Certainly the pressure is on me (from tradition) to do (1) and sure I hope that I do communicate Christ to them, but is that my agenda?

Hmmm, is there a condition that I attach to attendance that they must allow me to control a certain amount of the time we spend together? If so, do they come in spite of that? If so, is that a positive thing?

Would it be better to relinquish any attempt to control and just to be there on their terms?

Whilst I’m tending toward the idea of a lack of control I’m not sure that this is a lack of slope. Surely if I practise ‘being Christ to people’ then I am always a slope, always a way in?

But this is slope without hidden agenda, without control, without events – just me being the new me.


Can Words bring change?

Words and definition of words shape our meaning and response, and the outworking can corrupt the meaning of words. I am throwing out a challenge for us to rethink how we use certain words to be more authentic to their orginal meaning and stop misusuing them. I am thrinking particularly of the christian words that have been corrupted, so tomorrow I am going to meet with the CHURCH, where we may do some singing, but this will not be a time of WORSHIP any more than eating lunch later that day will be. I wonder if enough of us took more care with our language how quickly peoples perception of these two misinterprited concepts would be reclaimed or redeemed?

Feeling uneasy

Finally moved house. Blogging has been on a low due to the various issues associated with moving, now we just have masses of decorating to do, not to mention the conservatory/office and extension we hope to to build. Anyway a few recent conversations have made me feel uneasy. A few years ago we conciously opted not to be part of established forms of church and to try different things, all of which was great and the process helped me in my understanding of church and mission, and is in many ways where I still am.

Changes meant moving and as such we started going to church, which at the time was a fairly mission shaped event happening at a local school, we went to build some relationships, get to know the area before moving and importantly as a way for the children to build relationships in an area where they are at schoolwise. (life is so complex) The church then regrouped with its parent in another setting and the more traditional approach and culture has swampped the little mission shaped event.

Now we have landed in the area I think the time to reevaluate is fast approaching. I guess we will see how the discussions with the misson group pan out but the people have been great to us and I am not of the mindset to jump ship, but struggling with the growing uneasiness and what questions I need to ask myself and the family regarding church. Maybe four days from moving it is the wrong time to ask any questions anyway! The trouble is if I dont do it soon the process of getting sucked into a way of being church that I can no longer authentically and wholeheartedly agree with will happen weather I like it or not. In the mean time seeing the process as part of the DO -BE – DO approach to church helps, so thanks to those of you who have helped promote the uneasy feelings by questioning my involvement.