Introduction to The Youth Work Forum
Why? (a bit of background)
There are over 2 million children and young people in London that’s around 25% of the city’s population! Without question our capital presents the church with an incredible opportunity to reach the next generation with the amazing truth of Jesus! But this vast, diverse and complex city also brings many challenges and as God’s people we must be at the forefront of understanding and reflecting on our ever changing culture and the challenges it brings these young people!
Baptist churches across London are already engaged in fantastic ways, serving and reaching the children and young people of our city with the good news of Jesus and the LBA wants to come alongside the great work already happening to further resource, equip and encourage you in this. We believe the best way of making this happen is pulling together different voices (youth workers, church leaders, parents and young people) to think through how we can best bring the love and truth of Jesus to the youth and children of our city!
As part of this thinking, in the autumn of 2012 and in response to the need for a more coordinated youth and children’s work strategy the LBA Youth Forum was started.
The LBA Youth Forum is collection of youth and children’s workers, church leaders and parents from across London represent it’s diversity in gender, age, ethnicity and cultural background! Each member brings to the discussion different experiences, skills and perspectives as we seek to consider the opportunities and challenges before the church and youth & children’s workers in London. Above everything else we are united in our desire to see children and young people discover Jesus for themselves and the church fully resourced and encouraged in making this happen!
Current members of the Forum are;
- Chris Andre-Watson
- Amie Buhari Clapham Baptist Church
- David Constable Kensal Rise Baptist Church
- Mark Humm Purley Baptist Church
- Pete James The King’s Cross Baptist Church/LBA
- Norman Kincaid London Baptist Association
- Michele Mahon Brockley Baptist Church
- Matt Moore High Road Baptist Church
- Sherrin Neenan Balham Baptist Church
- Daniel Shillingford Edmonton Baptist Church
- Mave Whitchurch South Eastern Baptist Association
In addition to this we are seeking to find ongoing ways to involve young people as part of this discussion.
In response to needs shared by church leaders, youth workers and volunteers at a series of gatherings organized through 2012 the Forum will focus on the following areas in the coming months;
- Support churches in the development of the children’s and youthwork, enabling them to have confidence in addressing children, young people and youth related issues
- Encourage the discipleship and bringing to maturity the faith of children and young people addressing those obstacles within church life that can hinder their relationship with Christ
- Resource churches where possible in their delivery of children and youthwork
- Share and disseminate good practice and innovative projects wherever they are taking place
- Organize relevant training and conferences that strengthen and when necessary create or highlight relevant theological and training material relevant to children’s and youthwork
- Research and collate the breadth of youth and children’s work across the Association
- Establish a database of youth and children’s workers within the Association
- Seek the establishment of a youth contact person within all Association churches
- Maintain the vision as well as serve as the accountable body for the 20/20 initiative
We are still in the early stages of the Forum’s development and so still learning and listening to what is needed. However we have currently targeted a number of key areas as we seek to serve churches in their work with children and young people.
As a forum we meet every two months, talk through ongoing opportunities, ideas and needs from across the association discuss the development of resources, training, support and connections for youth and children’s ministry to share with you as churches.
We hold 3-4 wider gatherings each year! These last for around 2 hours and take place over some lunch! This is a chance for ALL those involved in youth and children’s work to come and network, be encouraged, resourced and share directly with us how the association can better support them in their work. In addition to this we will be hosting one bigger gathering each year, (held through the day on a Saturday), offering opportunity for a longer period of time together for worship, training, networking and fellowship! Check out the diary for details of the next gathering!
This exciting venture began at last year’s Baptist Assembly (London 2012), in which hundreds of young people gathered in central London to celebrate God’s love for them and be encouraged and equipped in what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Check out the 20/20 link for more of the latest details of this year’s event.
We have a growing database of youth and children’s workers from Baptist Churches across London. Through this we can let people know about upcoming opportunities and gatherings. If you are a youth or children’s worker and not sure if you a part of the database just EMAIL US and we will make sure you are!
As a forum we are here to serve you! If you have any questions, ideas or needs regarding youth and children’s work in your local area then we would love to hear from you! The forum is made up of existing church workers, leaders and parents who take time out to serve voluntarily and we will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible with any ideas, suggestions or connections.