As Lori and I have been working on Still Meeting Them Where They’re At as follow up to my first book, I have been tweeting bits around Relational Youth Work. These have met with a bit of a response and exploration about a few relational youth work issues, that need a few more words than the 140 characters twitter allows. So to follow these conversations up I am going to start a conversation here with the first of a series of roughly a 150 word posts on the theme of Relational Youth Work, followed by Richard Davies (Taff) and Nick Shephard and then we will see how it goes.
“To reduce relational youth work to a tool to get YP into church is to miss the heartbeat of the incarnation”. I’ve become increasingly frustrated as people seem to reduce relational youth work to a tool to get young people into ‘church’, an alternative to Alpha, or the latest programme. This is compounded by the growth for outcomes based youthwork in local authorities. Both approaches can too easily undermine the intrinsic value of people, the orientation of the work becomes predicted rather than stemming from the relationship, devaluing both. Valuing humanity naturally leads to a relational approach, which was demonstrated so well by the incarnation, which in turn enables a youth work approach rooted in, emancipatory education, a discovery of equality, joint participation, and empowering of the other towards humanity, that when practiced with integrity takes us beyond the old dichotomies of kingdom and church, youth work and youth ministry etc.