Children, Young People and Families Round Table – March 2018
THE CYF Round Table met in early March at the International Mission Centre in Birmingham. This national group aims to reflect, inform, inspire and raise the profile of CYF ministry across Baptists Together. Representatives from our Regional Associations attended along with Sian Hancock from Bristol Baptist College, Martin Sweet from Spinnaker, Mike Lowe from the Faith and Society Specialist Team and Jenni Entrican, President of the European Baptist Federation. Phil Knox from Youth for Christ was guest speaker.
The group spent time in theological reflection looking at an extract from ‘Faith Generation’ by Nick Shepherd. It considered the movement from faith development to faith generation amongst young people. How can we enable a self-sustaining discipleship? The main response the group discerned were these two points
Allowing the telling of personal stories. A culture of testimony needs to exist in our communities
Allowing young people to theologically reflect, in group settings we must allow and explore the question ‘where is God in all this’?
The group heard from Phil Knox, Evangelism and Leadership Director for Youth for Christ. Phil passionately shared the stories that they are hearing and the reflections they have made on research they commissioned with 1000 young people, ‘Gen Z: Rethinking Culture’ (https://yfc.co.uk/gen-z-rethinking-culture-report-released/). There were some remarkable findings. It shows where we will find young people spending their time:
Youth for Christ – We’re about seeing young people’s lives changed by Jesus
It revealed a love/hate relationship with social media.
A high proportion (59%) called themselves followers of Jesus and yet only 32% believed in God.
We are definitely ministering to a ‘screenager’ generation and we must help them understand the implications of technology. Phil reflected on this with a humorous poem he has written based on Psalm 23:
My phone is my shepherd, I shall not disconnect
It makes me lie down in fields of distraction
It leads me beside noisy, colourful waterfalls of pixels
It clutters my soul
It guides me along paths of likes and shares
For my ego’s sake
Even though I walk through the darkest valley of no wifi
I will fear no signal
For your 4G and offline features
They comfort me
You prepare a notification for me
In the presence of my followers
You anoint my thumbs with apps
My cloud storage overflows
Surely your updates and new features will follow me all the days of my life
And you will dwell in the palm of my hand forever.
Copyright Phil Knox 2018
Phil concluded by offering a Word God had shared with him for our engagement with young people. Empowerment and encouragement is key – we have a new generation of leaders to build up and released.
YFC resources for youth groups and children’s work – www.yfcresources.co.uk
Sync: a Youtube channel and group resources to help young people share their faith:
All other aspects of Youth for Christ – www.yfc.co.uk
Where next for CYF in Baptists Together?
Key discernment and reflections included positively affecting CYF training in ministerial formation and developing links with Mission Forum. The CYF Round Table will be delivering a seminar at the Baptist Assembly in May and Momentum All Wales Baptist Assembly in June. They will also be offering thoughts to Baptist Union Council in November.
Please share this update with your church.