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Coronavirus: A youth ministry liveblog


We ran this liveblog from March to May 2020 to help youth leaders respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. All the content shared can still be accessed and searched for via the sidebar.

Topic: Spiritual life

3d ago.

Resource Hub: New home for Coronavirus content


If you're looking for the latest blogs, research, and resources related to youth work and Covid-19, we've made a new home for that content with out Resource Hub, which you can find at the adjacent link. So no more updates on here, but do join us over there!

Hear about the latest Youthscape News & Resources

4d ago.

Podcast: Gap Years


We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The latest edition has just gone live; in it, Martin talks to Pete Baker from Pais GB about the impact of gap years on the formation of young people's faith, and what this could look like going forward. Martin and Rachel also talk about what's going on with the wider youth work culture at the moment. Plus you get a little sneaky preview of our NEW Youthscape resource!

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

YS Podcast Special Edition 17: Gap Years with Pete Baker

YS Podcast Special Edition 17: Gap Years with Pete Baker

What does the youth work culture look like right now? Rachel and Martin offer some thoughts. Martin talks to Pete Baker from Pais GB about gap years, and how they could work in the future. Also: Martin teases a new YS resource!

11d ago.

Podcast: We Do God with Dr Lucie Shuker


We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The latest edition has just gone live; in it, Martin meets returning guest Dr Lucie Shuker, Director of the Youthscape Centre for Research to explore the "We Do God" research and the implications for the youth ministry community.

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

13d ago.

The Monday Report: Faith at home, young people’s questions and lockdown practice


Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Thursday at 3pm we ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We had 48 responses and this is not a representative group, so we can’t generalise from these answers to all Christian youth workers in the UK.

This is a short summary of the Monday report. Head here to see the extended results.

1. Faith at home – it’s a bit of a blur

A couple of weeks ago the Church of England launched their Faith at Home initiative. We were curious about your perceptions of faith in the home, and how it might be affected by these circumstances. So, we asked ‘Do you think young people are experiencing more spiritual conversation/spiritual support from parents in the home since lockdown?’

The largest group (41%) said ‘I don’t know’ - which makes sense. Unless young people or parents tell you about conversations they are having, youth workers won’t really know what’s going on at home. Nevertheless 27% said ‘No’, with some commenting that young people were more likely to be getting hassled from parents, or that not many parents had the resources or capacity at the moment. 22% said ‘Yes’ and the final 10% commented that some young people were experiencing more spiritual support from parents and some weren’t, but that it depended on the parents themselves.

2. Definitely Some Questions Asked

You might know that we did a piece of research a couple of years ago about young people’s questions about faith and God. Having been thrown into such an unusual situation, we wondered whether lockdown had triggered any particular reflections or questions on faith from young people. Just over a third of the comments were some version of ‘No’, with little extra commentary.

The other two-thirds had observed reflections or questions from young people, and they ranged in theme. Some young people had questions about suffering, while others were about the role and mission of the church in these times. Some young people were asking about what the future might be like, about injustice, heaven and their own busyness. Young people have been reflecting on “what is important in life”, “how we are reacting to different aspects of lockdown”, “the importance of real-life friendships”, “developing a personal rather than collective faith” and feeling generally grateful for what they have, according to these youth workers.


3. Lockdown practice: less singing but more celebration

Finally, this is the week when we launch our latest piece of research, We do God, exploring the role of Christian practices in missional youth work. Given that life looks so different for us now than it did a few months ago, we asked one of our survey questions again. Have you been intentionally practising any of the following in the last six weeks?

Most of the top five are the same as they were six months ago, but taking the place of worship here is celebration. Are we making more of the celebrations happening anyway (like birthdays or Easter) or are we celebrating more? Previous surveys have certainly picked up a strong sense of ongoing gratitude, and this may well be related to the practice of celebration – even in these challenging times. There has also been an increase in the practices of lament, living simply and rest. But don’t worry. in case you’re thinking we’ve all gone mega holy, fasting is still down at the bottom of the list…

17d ago.

Together Apart Download


"Together Apart" is a short series of curriculum resources enabling you to explore life and faith with young people, and is designed specifically for use in the context of an online youth work session.

We've now combined all six session plans into a FREE downloadable PDF of six session plans for young people, along with copious notes on everything that a youth leader might need to consider when running the sessions online.

17d ago.

The Thursday 3x3


The Thursday 3x3 is a chance for us to ask Christian youth workers in the UK about lockdown. If that’s you, step right up. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions about you, young people and youth ministry, which should take you about three minutes to answer. Today we’re asking about faith at home, young people’s questions and your own spiritual practice.

This micro-survey is anonymous and the answers will be used to write a short report, which you can read on our blog next Monday.

Thank you so much for taking part!

Create your own user feedback survey
19d ago.

"We Do God" launch


Check out the video of Dr Lucie Shuker below, here to tell you about the launch of our newest research report, "We do God".

"Youth workers know how to create an experience: whether it’s choosing the right music, taking young people to new places or creating some ritual that only your youth group will ever understand. But when it comes to faith, much of church culture focuses on learning about ideas rather than direct practice.

This new report from the Youthscape Centre for Research highlights the experiences of youth workers who invite young people within and beyond the church to experiment with Christian faith. Through case studies, interviews and survey data we identify which practices are being used and what people are learning about practice-based ministry."

We'll be going live on our Facebook on Tuesday 12th May at 11am to unpack the findings and apply it to the current context we're living in. Don't miss it! You can pre-order the hard copy of the report here, and a digital download will be available for purchase (alongside a free sample download) upon release.

24d ago.

Youth for Christ: Pray through May


Youth for Christ are taking some time in the month of May to pray for young people, and join others to do the same in their campaign "Pray through May". You can find out more about it here, as well as all the other resources available on the YFC website. You can also download a prayer booklet.

Liveblog maypray
26d ago.

Download: A Theology for the Rebellion


Just over a month ago, Youthscape and St Mellitus held our annual lecture, titled: "A Theology for the Rebellion". We heard from Dr Sarah Williams and Dr Mark Scanlan about how youth workers can help young people navigate periods of unprecedented change. You can download the recording for only £3 on the YS Store - it feels especially relevant right now:

"In and through prayer, we meet the missional challenges of our day." - Dr Sarah Williams

27d ago.

Podcast: Youth Evangelism


We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The latest edition has just gone live; in it, Rachel Gardner talks to Dan Randall about how the importance of mission, and how we can inspire young people to talk to their friends about faith. Martin and Rachel talk about the new Netflix show, "Too Hot to Handle" and some of the implications for young people. Find Rachel's blog post here.

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

27d ago.

We Are Tearfund: Together Podcast


Looking for great podcasts to share with young people? We Are Tearfund publish new podcast episodes fortnightly, discussing "how to live out God's call to pursue justice". Check out this recent interview with Pete Greig about prayer and justice:

Liveblog tearfundpodcast
28d ago.

New blog post: Is TV's Sex Lockdown "Too Hot to Handle?"


Netflix's answer to Love Island involves a different kind of lockdown. Rachel Gardner explores what this means for young people. Are the young people you work with watching it? This could be a great opportunity for a discussion. Check out the blog post here.

"One mistake can label you for a long time, especially in some church communities. Little wonder that some young people react like the contestants; if you've been unfairly singled out for a small misdemeanour, you might as well go the whole hog. Oh, and that’s the other thing Harry says as he kisses Francesca, ‘We’re already f*** up, we might as well do the whole lot.’ Sound familiar?"

1d ago.

Soul Survivor "Loud & Clear" training course


Do you know any young people who want to learn how to be good communicators? Soul Survivor have uploaded their "Loud & Clear" course on their website - you can download materials and watch videos for training in public speaking and communication. This could be a great way to help develop some of the young people you work with. Why not go through the course together?

2d ago.

Online church: who's tuning in?


Trying to get a sense for how many young people are engaged with the groups and services you're running online? Mark Crosby, Director of Communications for the Vineyard Church, has written this helpful guide to understanding the metrics for online stats.

Liveblog stats
2d ago.

New blog post: Order out of chaos: Creating a Rule of Life


Martin Saunders explores the monastic idea of a "Rule of Life" as a way of ordering our everyday lives. Could this also be something you encourage young people to do?

"Our markers and cues for daily living have been replaced by a swirling mass of emptiness, and for some of us, chaos. In this new, unplanned and unmeasured version of life, it’s hard to know whether we’ve had a good day or not; whether we can feel a sense of accomplishment that the day has been well-lived."

2d ago.

Liveblog: midweek round-up


Welcome back to the mid-week round-up – bringing you liveblog highlights from the last seven days just in case there’s anything you’ve missed.

  • We’re a few weeks into lockdown and the exhaustion of constant video calls is starting to take hold. Will Van Der Hart from the Mind and Soul Foundation articulated what so many of us are feeling his recent blog post ‘Telephone Empathy’. The article is full of insights and reflections on the exhaustion of video calls. There’s also a load of useful tips which are beneficial for youth leaders to read through and to recommend to any young people who are struggling with the beginnings of digital burnout.
  • The theme of being tired of life online continued in Youthscape Podcast Special #10 where Martin and Rachel discuss ‘screen fatigue’ and how young people might try and reclaim online spaces.
  • Many new resources appeared on the blog this week from several different organisations covering a variety of topics. While only a few are highlighted here, it is definitely worth scrolling through the blog to see what other excellent resources have been posted. Church Army has created a booklet titled: "Death, grief and hope", aimed at helping support young people during Covid-19. Premier Youth and Children's Work have published a really helpful article, by Mark Arnold, about how to help children/young people with additional needs to understand Coronavirus. Lastly, Youthscape released the final session in the online Together Apart series. All sessions are still available on the liveblog and provide comprehensive session plans to enable youth leaders to run a traditional youth group model online.
  • Youthscape's Head of Theology, Dr Phoebe Hill, has written a blog exploring the dangers of "theologising" a crisis. The blog is inspired by a current area of research into theological reflections in youth ministry. The research team is asking for youth leaders – both employed and voluntary – to join with them on this project by filling in a survey. By taking the time to complete the survey you’ll also be in with a chance of winning a £100 voucher!
  • The weekly Monday report summarised the discoveries of the Thursday 3x3 and provided insights into what youth workers are seeing and experiencing in relational to quarantine struggles, online church and life after lockdown. Please join us on 3pm each Thursday and spend 3 minutes answering 3 questions to help give us a greater understanding of what life is like for youth leaders and young people around the country at this time.

As always, we want to thank you so much for your support and if there’s something you’d love to see or even something you want to contribute in coming weeks please get in touch!

3d ago.

Together Apart: Session #6 download


Together Apart’ is a short series of sessions enabling you to explore life and faith with young people, designed specifically for the context of online youth work. And it's completely free! The first two sessions can be downloaded here, the third session can be found here, the fourth session here and the fifth here. This is the final session in the series.

Each session includes a short programme around a theme, along with copious notes on everything that a youth leader might need to consider when running the session online. We’re not claiming that this is a revolutionary new youth work model – but we hope that it will prove really useful in the immediate context in which we find ourselves. As always, we welcome your feedback!

Session Six, written by Youthscape's Hannah Bradley, explores the theme of prayer (download it via the adjacent link). Ask the young people in your group: "Do you think prayer works?"

3d ago.

HOPE Together resources


HOPE Together have drawn together a list of resources on their page for youth evangelism during the pandemic, including an invitation to join them in prayer. You can download prayer resources and find some ideas for schools work. Check it out!

Liveblog hopetogether
3d ago.

Church Army resources for young people: death, grief and hope


Many young people will be dealing with bereavement at the moment; how can we, as youth workers, best help and support them? Church Army has drawn on practical experience to create a booklet titled: "Death, grief and hope", aimed at helping support young people during Covid-19. It includes guidance on:

  • Grief, and how it can affect us.
  • How we can positively remember the person who has been lost.
  • How saying goodbye is different because of the current crisis.
  • Why Christians are still hopeful.
Liveblog churcharmy

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