the BLOG

‘Conquer and keep’ or ‘nurture and release’?

A friend on Twitter asked:

Dear Church, what is the vision you have for nurturing and releasing rather than conquering and keeping young people?

blowing-bubbles-1351843It’s a conversation that needs to happen. Too often children and young people are seen as the ‘salvation’ of the church, those who will ensure its future. ‘If we have a thriving Sunday school and youth group, we’ll be ok’ seems to be the underlying concern. Churches look back to ‘the good old days’ when memory tells them leaders were numerous, group sizes flourishing and all was well with the world. But that seems to make numbers the driving factor.

At the first Faith Forward conference in Washington, Brian McLaren asked, ‘Why do we keep passing on a form of Christianity to our children that no longer works for us?’

Learning Bible stories isn’t discipleship. Being able to recite the Ten Commandments won’t nurture faith.

So how do we change the narrative to one where each child and young person is valued for who they are – not what they might offer to the church? How can we help those who have assumed status and power because of age to see the gifts, contribution and prophetic voice of a younger generation as of equal worth? Where is the space for this conversation?

Well – we can start the conversation at The Conversation. Join us and have your voice heard. Join us and challenge prevailing views. Join us – and together we can begin to envision new and change-bringing ways which nurture and release rather than continue to conquer and keep…

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The Transition Time: re-imagining ministry with children and young people

In the foreword to Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus, John Westerhoff writes:

51kzajbln7l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Transition times are difficult to live in. Old, familiar understandings and ways of doing things are dying, and new understandings and ways have yet to be born. It is for some a pregnant time of hope and opportunity. New understandings and possibilities are waiting to emerge. It is experienced as a time to explore new theologies and new educational theory and practice. For others it is experienced as a time of dislocation and loss……

(we need) to reflect on (our) understanding and practice of Christian education and formation in a new day….

  • What is the Spirit saying to the church?
  • What are the transition conversations we need to be having?
  • How will we know  when the new has emerged?

Join The Conversation where Dave Csinos (co-author of Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus) will help us think, talk, act and imagine new possibilities in ministry with children and young people.

Book your place now.

What is The Conversation?

Sometimes things take a long time to come to birth. That’s true of The Conversation – it’s had a gestation of over 4 years and at last it’s almost here.So where were the beginnings?

cynkc Back in May 2012, an innovative conference took place in Washington, DC. Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity brought together 450 leaders from 7 countries and over two dozen denominations. They promised innovative practices, critical issues, and controversial topics like violence, racism, and sexuality. Lured by a stunning speaker line up (Brian McLaren, John Westerhoff, Dave Csinos, Ivy Beckwith, Joyce Mercer, Shaine Claiborne, Almeida Wright) a small group from the UK crossed the ocean to see what the buzz was all about.

What we found were people committed to finding new ways of engaging children and young people in innovative ways around faith. People who wanted to talk about taking risks rather than the next best product. People who sensed that ‘the way we’ve always done it’ was no longer good enough – it was time for change.

We came back, keen to share what we’d learned but unsure how to do it. So we started talking….and talking.

faithforwardTwo years later, Faith Forward gathered in Nashville and again, we were fired up by what we heard, but still unsure how to bring it back to the UK.

And then we realised – we needed to do what we’d been involved in. We needed to take a risk, to see if there were others across the UK who also felt that something new needed to emerge in ministry with children and young people. We needed a place where we could ask questions, listen to the Spirit, engage with emerging expressions of church.

cropped-cropped-cropped-convo_white1.jpgAnd The Conversation was born.

We’re excited and scared and anxious and eager to see where God will lead us.

Come and join us! Be part of the Conversation, be part of the change we need to see, be part of a risky, exciting, unique gathering, seeking out the new paths God wants us to tread. Be with us for the birth.