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THE NATIONAL YOUTH MINISTRY WEEKEND
Here's another name you'll hear at NYMW this year. Tim Chaddick.
Tim is the pastor of Reality Church in central London where he lives with his wife and three daughters. But not so long ago Tim was living in LA and leading Reality LA - a large thriving church which he founded. Tim's story of his calling and how he ended up here in the UK is an inspirational tale of obedience and humility. You can hear more about that on the Youthscape Podcast (scroll down to find week 9 for Tim's interview)
Tim's passion to see the Church actively living out God's love in community is infectious and he sees youth work as a really important part of that too. We can't wait to hear what he has to say at NYMW.
Youth work in churches everywhere is made possible by a huge army of people who bring an amazingly diverse range of skills and experience to the party. Some are paid, trained, qualified. Others volunteer alongside all sorts of other things. Planning a conference for all of them is a challenge, but it's a challenge we're willing to have a go at.
Whether you're new to youth work or an experienced veteran, we're confident that there'll be something at the weekend for you.
There'll be a seminar stream for new youth workers, looking at the basics and how to get started, as well as some in-depth theology, fresh new ideas and space for discussion for those of us who've been around a while.
Check out the programme to find out more and plan your weekend.
Two social workers, a school chaplain, a foster carer, three charity founders, youth workers, volunteer youth workers, academics, an ex medic, two singer-songwriter-worship-leaders, activists, writers, speakers, coffee drinkers, gin lovers, a ministry coach, poets, a student worker, a fashion blogger, people who admit to watching Downton, Dr Who and Love Island, a vicar and someone who dances in her kitchen with her kids.
These are just some of the skills and strengths of the contributors who are coming to make the Weekend sparkle.
If we added all the characteristics and skills of the delegates too, the list would be endless! So what are you waiting for? Add yourself to the crowd.
Tickets available here.
We’re incredibly excited to welcome Kenda to the first ever NYMW. In 2014 she brilliantly opened the Manchester Youth Work Summit, and now she’s going to be back in the UK, sharing her passion for creative, theologically-sharp youth ministry. Kenda is Professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States, and the author of a number of books including Almost Christian and Practicing Passion. She’s also an ordained Methodist pastor, and a confirmed anglophile (listing Downton Abbey AND Doctor Who among her personal faves).
At the NYMW, Kenda will be helping us to think theologically about innovation – a subject that’s increasingly close to her heart. She’s one of the founders of Ministry Incubators, an organisation set up to support entrepreneurs launching creative Christian faith-based projects, and loves to help new ideas to get off the ground. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from one of the most experienced and brilliant youth work thinkers on Planet Earth!
Whether you’re just back from Focus or Soul Survivor A, in the middle of New Day or preparing for Limitless, Soul Survivor Scotland, B and C or your own church camp, most youth workers spend some of their summer away with their young people. There’ll be plenty of fun and games, worship and great speakers, challenging seminars, at least one all-nighter and the chance for young people to develop in their faith and meet thousands of young people just like themselves.
And somewhere in the midst of that there’ll be a session or three that’s just for the youth workers. A bit of teaching, worship, prayer and quiet away from any tents or teenagers to restore your soul. At Soul Survivor that’s Soulnet, and we’re sure you’ll find it if you search the programmes at the other festivals too.
Now imagine a whole weekend of that!
At NYMW we’re planning seminar streams that’ll develop your theory, late night discussions to challenge and inspire your thinking, keynote speakers from the best of the youth work world, surgeries, prayer opportunities, places to network and even some fun.
Take some time out. Spend some time with your youth ministry team. See you at the weekend!
It’s that time in the youth work year where everyone packs up all their belongings and goes to live in a field for a week. Well, wherever the youth workers are, that’s where we want to be. This summer you’ll find the Youthscape team at Soul Survivor A, B and C. Here’s what to look out for on the programme:
Soul Survivor A:
Day 2, Prayer at the heart of youth ministry with Martin Saunders at Soulnet
Day 3, The Bible at the heart of youth ministry with Martin Saunders at Soulnet.
Both 9.15-10am in Cafe Uno
Soul Survivor B:
Day 2, Prayer at the heart of youth ministry with Chris Curtis at Soulnet
Day 3, The Bible at the heart of youth ministry with Chris Curtis at Soulnet.
Rachel Gardner speaking in the Big Top on day 3
Soul Survivor C:
Day 2, Prayer at the heart of youth ministry with Rachel Gardner at Soulnet
Day 3, The Bible at the heart of youth ministry with Rachel Gardner at Soulnet.
Rachel Gardner speaking in the Big Top on day 3
Look out for the Youthscape stand in the Toolshed where we’ll have some shiny new products, fab NYMW postcards and a great free gift for youth workers to take away.
Come and say hi - we'd love to catch up.
No, we don’t have a fully-fledged kids programme, hosted by a lovable puppet*, but we are committed to serving those of you with young families as well as we can. First of all, parents are most welcome at the event, and we would love you to bring your children if it enables you to be present. We’ll have an area set aside for feeding and nappy changing, and we’ll also have a dedicated crèche.
This won’t be staffed, and you can’t leave your children there unfortunately (bear with us, this is Year One) - but it will be a designated safe space, with sound piped in from the main sessions, and plenty of toys and distractions to occupy you and your offspring. And maybe you too.
If you are considering coming along with small children, PLEASE drop us an email to let us know, just so we can make sure that we cater accordingly. Thanks!
*Although we have been considering which role to give to Martin Saunders.
Everyone loves being given free stuff at an event, right? Well… it depends on the nature of the stuff, doesn’t it? There’s a sliding scale, and at some point, that amazing gift you’ve just been handed crosses over from ‘useful resource’ to ‘recycle immediately.’
With that in mind, we wanted to say a little bit more about the three brand new resources we’re giving away at the National Youth Ministry Weekend. Hopefully you’ve already heard that we’re working with some amazing partner organisations to launch three completely new youth work resources at the event – and also that every delegate will get a copy of all three of them, absolutely free.
What we haven’t told you is that our partners on this aspect of the event are Tearfund, the amazing relief and development charity and the evangelism-focused youth organisation British Youth for Christ. Between the three of us, we’ll be giving you a training course for youth evangelism, a brand new mental health resource, and a fabulous new toolkit to help young people engage with justice issues.
If you come to the event, you’ll get a copy of every one of these brilliant new resources as part of your ticket price. If you don’t, you’ll be able to buy them all afterwards!
We’re really excited to be welcoming a number of international visitors to the NYMW, and we’re working hard to ensure that you’ll have an amazing experience whatever it says on your passport. We’ve just launched a dedicated international page with the latest travel and programme information, and we’re currently creating some special elements of the programme to ensure NYMW feels like a home from home even if you’ve flown in from Japan.
As part of this, we’ve set aside some of our one-to-one coaching slots – where you get to meet with a youth ministry veteran to talk about the joys and challenges of your work – specifically for international guests. And there will be a special reception for youth leaders coming from outside the UK, over lunch on Saturday 11th November.
We really appreciate the extra effort that our amazing international guests are making to be a part of the NYMW. If you’re one of them – or considering it – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or ideas that you might have.
At Youthscape we’re pretty keen on research - we even have our own centre that exists to do nothing else. Last year we released the Losing Heart research, which as the title might suggest, indicated that churches are struggling with their confidence around reaching and keeping young people. It also showed that a growing number of churches are offering little or no activities for young people, even though many have teenagers within their congregations.
At the National Youth Ministry Weekend, we’ll be very intentionally addressing these challenges, and others identified by the recent surge in youth ministry research. A special ‘from scratch’ seminar stream will be aimed specifically at churches who want to start new youth groups but don’t quite know where to begin, while we’ll be releasing and showcasing three new tried-and-tested resources which will give you confidence that you can connect relevantly with young people.
We’ll also be unafraid to tackle some of the big, difficult topics – from sexuality to mental health to gang issues. Our research showed that while young people want to talk about these things, youth leaders often feel ill-equipped to do so with them. We’ll equip you to do exactly that.
It would be crazy for us to put on a conference which didn’t directly engage with the questions that our own research has identified. Please, come and be a part of the conversation as we explore some of the possible answers.
One of the things we really want to encourage at the National Youth Ministry Weekend is the idea of bringing your whole volunteer team with you. Yes, we know that comes as a financial cost, but what better way to recognise the invaluable support your volunteers give than by treating them (via your generous church or organisation) to a weekend away to engage together with the challenge of reaching, discipling and caring for teenagers?
Coming away as a team means you’ll be able to accomplish even more than if you attend the NYMW on your own. By co-ordinating your schedules, you’ll be able to attend more of the seminars and optional events across the weekend between you, but perhaps even more importantly, you’ll be able to spend some quality time together, processing what you’ve heard and learned, and dreaming together for the future of your youth work. What a fantastic investment!
To incentivise this, we’ve made a limited number of tickets available at the discounted price of just £79, when you book more than one place (usually £99). This amazing offer, generously subsidised by trusts and individuals who recognise the value of team investment, won’t last forever - so grab the best ticket deal we’re going to offer, right now. Just click here to book your tickets.
This may just be the NYMW’s best-kept secret. Over the course of the last year three key youth ministry-focussed organisations have been busily developing special new resources just for you. They’re deliberately diverse, and designed to support you in a different area of your work among young people. All three will be debuted exclusively during the main sessions at the NYMW, and here’s the best part… every delegate will get a copy of all three resources – absolutely free!
These high-quality resources, developed by Youthscape and our partners, have been robustly developed, piloted and refined. They’ll all be on sale at the event and beyond it, but as a ticket holder you’ll get copies of all three products as part of your ticket price. Who doesn’t love free stuff?!
Key reasons to come to the NYMW #1 - Encouragement and time out with other youth leaders
Youth ministry can be a lonely and thankless task. Even as volunteer leaders, we’re often left alone to serve young people - especially in churches where so many people claim not to understand them. Feeling like you - or your small team - are on your own can be draining and even demotivating. That’s why gathering together with hundreds of other youth leaders, from right across the UK, can be so important and life-giving.
Many of us still remember standing together in the hall at the first Youthwork the Conference event in Southport, way back in 2003. It felt electric to be among 600 youth leaders gathered in a packed theatre, all struck by the same realisation that we weren’t alone; that we stood there united by our love of God and our passion to serve young people. We want to create a similar moment on Friday 10th November this year, when a similar number gather in Birmingham for the first National Youth Ministry Weekend.
It’s not just about being part of the big crowd though - getting away for the weekend with hundreds of like-minded youth leaders gives unparalleled opportunities for networking, sharing ideas, and perhaps most importantly, making new friends. We can’t think of a better reason to invest in the NYMW - for you and your team.
You may have already noticed that we’re only offering tickets which cover the whole of the weekend, and that it’s not possible to buy single day tickets. We appreciate that this is frustrating, so we wanted to explain our reasons.
Partly, we really want the weekend to be a coherent journey for every delegate - we’re planning to explore and open up our theme over the course of the three days, and it’ll be a much more rewarding (and hopefully deep!) experience if you’re able to be at every session. Primarily though, this is a financial decision. We have worked to keep ticket prices as affordable as possible, but that means that in this first year, we’re not going to break even on the event. In fact, we’re going to make a sizeable loss, even if we sell every single ticket. That’s ok because a) we think it’s THAT important that we get the youth ministry community together and b) next year we’ll be in a larger venue and the finances will be more sustainable. But it does mean that we can’t compound our losses by selling day tickets – each of which would mean we couldn’t sell a corresponding ticket for the whole weekend.
We hope that makes sense. We really do appreciate that finances are tight everywhere, and we’re doing our best to organise low-cost travel and accommodation options. And - if you really, really want to come but you just can’t possibly afford it, please do let us know. We would hate for finances to be the only reason you didn’t come to the NYMW.
Yes, alright, we have taken our time a bit. And we’re sorry for stretching your patience. But today we can finally announce the first set of speakers and contributors for the first ever National Youth Ministry Weekend. You’ll find their beautiful faces on our Contributors page, along with some biographical details and a tiny, not-legally-binding insight into what they’ll be doing at the weekend. We’ve worked hard to gather a real mix of practitioners, youth ministry legends, brilliant emerging voices and world-class theologians – the line-up is looking pretty awesome if we do say so ourselves! Plus we’re excited that Tim Hughes and Andy Flannagan will be sharing musical duties across the weekend, leading worship in a variety of styles. We get that you’ve been waiting for this moment to book your tickets to NYMW… we hope you won’t want to miss being inspired, encouraged and envisioned by this amazing group of people.
Central to this new weekend conference is the idea of innovation in youth ministry. We’re convinced that if the church is going to effectively reach a new generation, then it’ll need new models, new ideas and maybe even a bigger vision. During the weekend we’ll explore how in 2017, everyone from tech firms to insurance companies are using innovative processes to find new ways forward, and we’ll take you through some practical tools that will help you to think creatively in your youth work.
As part of our commitment to innovation, and to resourcing youth ministry, we’re going to be unveiling three completely new youth work resources, designed and tested by three leading Christian youth work organisations. What’s more, delegates at the NYMW will get all three resources at the event – absolutely free; plus there will be workshops provided to help you work out how to use and get the best out of each of them.
Picking a location for a national youth ministry conference was always going to be hard, and it’s impossible to keep everyone happy (apart maybe from people who live in the place you choose). We’ve gone for Birmingham because of its centrality in England, and the amazing transport links which the city offers. Birmingham also has an amazing tradition of great churches and fantastic Christian youth work, some of which will be profiled at the event.
Our main venue, St Luke’s Gas St, is a brand new church in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre. The building is a converted warehouse which opened in February 2016, now home to the church for their Sunday gatherings and more. Led by Tim & Rachel Hughes, they’ve got big plans for more work in the building increasing their capacity for their vision to serve the city.
We’re really excited to be using the venue for the National Youth Ministry Weekend – it’ll be the home to our main gatherings as well as a hub for hanging out, exploring the bookshop and catching up with your youth work friends. Being so close to the centre of the city makes it ideal for nipping to other venues, exploring the area or taking a relaxing walk along the canal too.
This city centre square is right next to the art museum and features two statues staring pensively at a fountain. Why not join them for an hour or three and see if you can work out what they’re thinking about?
Move over Hollywood, Birmingham has it’s very own pavement-based hall of fame, honouring those from the city who’ve made significant contributions to sports or the arts and it’s just round the corner from our main venue. With stars celebrating Ozzy Osbourne, Jasper Carrot, the King of Bhangra and the world’s first left handed female Wimbledon winner, you’re bound to find one of your heroes here.
The National Trust have restored a series of 19th century houses giving you the opportunity to experience home life from 1840 to 1970. Trip Advisor reviews describe it as “a historic treasure” and “a way to immerse yourself in the life of your grandparents.” There’s even a 1930s sweet shop.