This could have big implications for youth ministry in our churches.
One of the great things about the Presbyterian Church is that we believe in the Priesthood of all believers. It means that everyone in our church can have their say. A team of people got asked last year to review the way our church does theological and leadership training. They have recently presented their report to Presbyteries and are currently asking for feedback so they can prepare their final report for General Assembly next year.
The team is recommending a number of things, including making changes to the way ministers are trained, what happens when a minister comes from a Presbyterian Church overseas or from another denomination, there are also some changes to the Presbyterian Research Centre, all of which you can give feedback on.
We wanted to highlight a couple of the recommendations as they may affect you as a youth leader. They are proposing to create a second tier of ordination below the minister. They would call such people deacons, and would have titles such as Youth Pastor. To become a Deacon there would be a lower entry level than for ministers, there would also be a shorter internship, and there would be a graduated training scheme if the deacon then decided to become a minister later on.
We are sure the team will receive much feedback from ministers and elders, but we think it is important for youth leaders to give feedback to this proposal as well because it affects youth workers and youth leaders. Whether you support it or not, it will be helpful for the team to hear your opinions
In the video below the team present an overview of the report, we have set the video to start with the 2 minutes related to the proposal about deacons, but you can go back to the start and watch the entire video.
Text in Red is directly from the report. In the Executive Summary it names 5 major streams coming out of the recommendations. Here are the two affecting youth workers.
2. We are suggesting the establishment for a new Diaconate which will replace LOM as a flexible second tier of ordained ministry. The Diaconate will have lower entry barriers and will be open to youth and other recognised ministries. We expect that a number of Deacons will also go on to become Ministers through a graduated training scheme.
4. We are suggesting retaining the core of the internship as an excellent model, but also making some simplifications and changes in delivery so as to provide for the incorporation of Deacons into a mini- internship and Ministers from other churches into a micro-internship.
The report then has 30 pages or findings from the teams research which are worth looking at. In their general survey, the themes that related to youth are:.
4. Youth: There was a real concern about the aging of the PCANZ, and a loss of youth. There was a repeated emphasis on ministry to children and youth. There were comments about reducing the average age of leaders and making our calling attractive and accessible to younger leaders. “All our leaders need ongoing training to be able to relate to children and youth.” We heard that “if we recognize there are different age cultures in our church, we need to recognize that all our Ministers need to be able to connect with those different age cultures and especially youth and children, not segmenting that work to someone else.” There was a call for ordaining youth pastors, and with some extra training seeing them transform into our current ordained role. We also heard a cry to improve the pay-scale and terms of employment for youth workers. There was feedback to recognize other specialist roles also. “We need to inspire and mentor young people to become Ministers.”
From the Presbyteries they heard:
We need ordained pathways for Children’s and Youth ministries in order to resource our churches better.
We need ways to train and recognise lay leaders and lay ministry and consider ordained children’s and youth leaders.
When the group looked at the current practice in regards to Youth and other recognised ministries they said:
We have heard a cry for a better career structure for youth workers, and a pathway for progressive vocational growth. This call for training youth and other recognised ministries has been heard for many years now and was reflected in the 2008 review of the school of ministry. In Dr Rae’s report streams of training for youth workers were envisaged. The church currently provides specific youth work training through PYM and we hear a call for further coherence of training and a clearer pathway through training.
So taking into account what they heard, the group had the following conclusions:
Youth and other Recognised Ministries 13. There is a need to mark-out, but not necessarily provide pathways for career development for those individuals who feel a call to specialised ministries such as youth, children and families, music and worship, and pastoral care. 14. People who work in specialised ministries for 3 to 5 years could benefit from ordination by their Presbytery to a diaconate with the title of Pastor. 15. The LOM pathway would incorporate into the diaconate pathway. 16. A deaconate pathway could incorporate a discernment phase, a training phase, and a miniinternship.
Ministers (National & Local) 17. LOM should be replaced with a second tier of ordination (Deacon) with a reduced scope and a reduced expectation of pre-ordination study. 18. We value an educated clergy, but we need to be more nimble and able to quickly deploy new workers with lower academic qualifications. 19. Ordination to a diaconate with the title of ‘Pastor’, could enable the replacement of LOM with a more functional and theologically coherent alternative. 20. A Deacon might oversee one ministry and a Minister with a higher level of training should oversee a wider range of ministries. Deacons would be able to preach and administer both sacraments. 21. A simplification of internship could be beneficial to the NOM pathway, some Deacons may go on to become Ministers.
You may read the report and think “this is awesome, it would be great for my sense of calling to be recognised through ordination”. Or perhaps you have some concerns about the proposals. Either way, we encourage you to give feedback.
Each Presbytery has a different format for giving feedback. We suggest your contact your Presbytery to find out how. The time frame is short also, probably by 12 August
SUNZ Youth & Camps Team have developed a weekend retreat resource for youth groups in this season of rebuilding and reshaping church communities.
This resource is designed to help process the past, acknowledge the present and dream/work towards the future as a body of Christ. SUNZ’s organisational mission is to be a resource supporting churches (and parachurch organizations) to help young people discover Jesus and become life-long disciples who serve the world around them, offering you these templates to use and to support you in varying degrees, from collaborating with you in the planning process, to facilitating the weekend for you, subject to conversation.
The Council for World Mission is inviting applications for next year’s Training in Mission programme (TIM). This programme will be held in New Zealand, Fiji, South Korea and Jamaica, which is fully funded by CWM, is open for all interested applicants aged 18 to 30 years old at the start of the programme, single and not an ordained minister (a maximum of two Presbyterian members can be selected).
TIM promotes leadership and service to the church and Christian mission, by providing opportunity for a group of young people from CWM member churches around the world to learn about mission in theory and in practice through classes, exposure visits, projects and hands-on work in various contexts for 6 ½ months. This could be an excellent gap year option, or an opportunity for someone who is considering a change of direction and would like to learn about mission and theology in a multicultural context.
Social activists Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove offer a modern take on an ancient way of practicing faith with this new cutting-edge Common Prayer App
Grand Rapids, Mich., Nov. 29, 2012 – In a world where social classes are extremely divided and cultures remain separate rather than unified, the Common Prayer app may just be the common prayer that a socially, racially and politically segregated world needs to be transformed.
Following the release of Common Prayer on paperback, which sold 56,000 copies, the Common Prayer app is available on both Android and Iphone.
“This is truly a different kind of app,” authors Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove share. “It’s not one you try to pick up and simply read. In fact, this is a daily tool to be used at users convenience…meant to bring ultimate convenience and community. It’s a devotional broken up into days and times, so that everyone can essentially pray together.. on their schedule.”
Broken into easy-to-follow tabs, the Common Prayer app is accessible to someone who’s followed the Christian faith their whole life and someone who’s never held a Bible in their hands. Divided into tabs for different parts of the day, Common Prayer aims to connect people of faith around the globe, across cultures, theologies and continents. For one year, they will be praying the same prayers every day (at their desired time) and subsequently discover the richness and power in this tradition. The Common Prayer appcontains:
Evening prayers: Seven prayers; one for each night of the week
Morning prayers: 365 prayers; one for each morning of the year
Midday prayer: One prayer; to pray during the day throughout the year
Occasional prayers: Multiple prayers; to be used on special occasions like holidays and gatherings
Songbook: Collection of best-loved songs of faith from all around the world
At the basis of the Common Prayer app, social activist, renowned author and the often controversial Shane Claiborne and sought after speaker and author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are setting out to enliven the ancient and historical practice called “liturgy.” An all-inclusive invitation, Claiborne holds certain that liturgy, a traditional act of praying collectively, has the power to transcend culture, create community and move hearts.
“Liturgy,” the authors note “invites us into a new ‘we’…The Church actually reflects the most diverse community in the world—white, black, and all shades in between, rich and poor, all walks of life… called together to bring our lives and our cultures and become a new community.”
“The world the liturgy reveals may not seem relevant at first glance, but…the world it reveals is more real than the one we inhabit day by day…outlasting McDonalds and Wal-Mart, America and South Africa,” they write. “The songs and readings and prayers of the liturgy are more ancient and true than any culture or empire.”
With the Christian faith home to more than 38,000 different denominations, it’s a known fact that the greatest barrier to becoming a Christian is the alarming amount of division seen within the church. Perhaps not any longer.
The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) is holding a Youth Assembly in Indonesia in April.
Young adults from the Presbyterian Church with an interest in this can apply to be a delegate (the age criteria is young adults aged 20-35). Some travel subsidy will be available, but all costs are not yet confirmed. Download application forms here. Applications will need to be confirmed by the Assembly Executive Secretary. The closing date for applications is 15 February.
URGENT PRAYER REQUEST | Can we ask you to join together to pray for the wellbeing of our young people in Canterbury?
(Letter from Mike Dodge, our regional youth enabler in Christchurch)
All of us who are working with young people are very concerned at the alarming increase of suicides across the region this month. In my 36 years of youth work I have never seen anything like this before. We strongly feel the need to call “the whole church” to prayer together over this (PUSH – Pray Until Something Happens)
Can you as a church pray this Sunday (and the following weeks) – as we stand together with all the churches of Canterbury – praying for breakthrough in this area of mental health. We would love you to ask and encourage your congregation to pray over the week, in their personal prayer times and small group gatherings.
Over the last year at least 6 different prayer gatherings have all had a similar picture of a black cloud/heavy fog/pollution/smog and darkness covering the Canterbury region.
We’re asking that you would pray against this dark cloud of anxiety, depression, despair, self-harm and suicide – especially among the young people of our region. Pray for hope instead of hopelessness, light instead of darkness, love, power and a sound mind instead of fear so that we would see a change in the mental health and wellbeing of our young people.
We are in need of a miracle and I love that as the body of Christ we get to stand together, pray together and see what the Lord does in response. He is the only one who can bring light and change to these situations.
God-Talk is a digital outreach-training resource for youth and youth leaders. It includes free online video content, and is purposed to see young people throughout our nation talking about the Christian faith again.
Currently God-Talk currently has 5 video for training youth to share the Gospel.
Kara Root has put together this awesome liturgy to use in youth group or youth services when collecting and returning devices.
We surrender our phones To acknowledge that we are not as essential as we would have ourselves believe. And to recognise how essential we are to this moment, this conversation, this process.
We put down our phones to put down the false belief that we can be more places than here, doing more things than this. And to commit to being fully present, here and now.
We turn off our phones to turn to each other and to the moment at hand, with full attention, creativity and welcome. May we receive the gifts of full presence and essential connection. May God meet us in this moment.
(phones are shut down and surrendered eg basket passed around and phones placed in them)
We return from this moment, taking with us the gift of being fully present. May we return with gratitude and perspective to the tasks before us and the noise around us, a little more willing to resist the urgency and a little more able to receive the quiet gifts of each moment where God is present alongside us.