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. The report has three parts.
Part 1: Literature review. What do we mean by the word ‘practice’? This section summarises key ideas from theologians, youth workers and researchers on the role of practice in youth ministry, and why ‘experiential apologetics’ might be particularly important for young people in Generation Z.
Part 2: Survey of youth workers. What practices do youth workers think are most attractive to young people? Which ones help to form Christian identity? What are youth workers intentionally practising themselves? This survey takes the temperature of the youth work community and helps us see the areas where we aren’t practising what we preach.
Part 3: Learning from case studies. The final section of the report distils what we have learned from youth workers who are intentionally creating opportunities for young people to experiment with Christian faith. If you are interested in deepening practice in your own youth ministry, then this is where it gets practical.
In the ‘age of authenticity’, faith becomes real to young people when it is grounded in their everyday lives. ‘We do God’ will take you on a journey of reflection, considering where practice fits within contemporary youth ministry, and what it might mean for your own life.
We do God (Digital download)
A downloadable PDF of our research report into youth ministry, spiritual disciplines and Christian practices.
"When they were like explaining it and stuff, I thought ‘What? Like, you can’t just forgive someone by writing their name on a stone'. And then like when you actually do it, like if you believe in actually giving them forgiveness and you’re willing to forgive, then you can forgive someone...I was holding a lot of grudges against a lot of people, the things they’d done, big or small, so to be able to sit there and actually forgive someone, and actually feel the relief of forgiving them helped me a lot.”
Kelly, 17 Interview from 'We do God'