Well... that's what most adults believe it seems! An excellent programme on Channel 4 made by a young journalist called "Teens in Trouble" has been looking at the myth of rising Teen crime etc. All the adults he surveyed believed that between 70 and 90% of crime in the UK was committed by Teenagers.
He argues that the media likes a good story about "feral teens" and out of control teenagers & claims that the press is the problem, creating fear, stereotypes and barriers... In the programme he interviewed Mods from the 60's who where witness to the way the Media made the most of the fighting even then... "journalists" paid teenagers to stage fights for the cameras. And nothing has changed, the media likes easy targets! The programme goes on to try to challenge the stereotypes, even getting a bunch of "hoodies" handing out Tea to passers by.
So what are the real stats not reported by the Press... well firstly you have pretty much the same chance of dying from falling out of Bed than you have of dying from a Knife attack... and you are SIX times MORE likely to die from falling down the stairs! And the actually percentage of the crime committed by teenagers in the UK...
Our Diocese is looking at ways in which Churches record their Average Sunday Attendance figures for Young People, in a welcome attempt not to punish Churches with an active Youth/Student Ministry... We have all been asked to count how many 16-20 year olds are "average Sunday attenders" answering in one of the following ways...
We do NOT have any 16-20 year olds in full time education attending on an average Sunday - true or false?
We have not been able to make a realistic estimate of the number of 16-20 year olds in full time education attending on a normal Sunday - true or false?
We think that the average number of the number of 16-20 year olds in full time education attending on an normal Sunday so far this year has been - number?
To be honest I think a deeper approach to these questions may well be needed. Firstly, I think ASA figures are becoming an unhelpful measure of Church life, they do not accurately reflect the picture of the life of many churches and communities, with more and more people gathering on other days and in other ways. Secondly in some ways there can be a danger that ASA figures sustain the misnomer that "Church" is what we do when we come together for an hour and a half once a week or even what we do when we "all" come together at any one time. The emphasis that they place can drive a maintenance rather than a missional model of community i.e. focused on "bums on pews" not on Kingdom impact - on the engagement with and needs of the community in which we live and serve. Thirdly, with the growing emphasis nationally and locally on fresh expressions of community, mission and worship, on more indigenous forms of "planting" etc. we will at some point soon have to explore the way that we understand evaluation, membership, electoral roll, finance, governance, regional and national representation/relationship, accountability etc. otherwise we are in danger of forcing these communities to look more and more like the inherited models of church in order to continue within the Anglican communion or to strike out on their own, which I believe would be a real shame and a massive loss for both.
As someone who spent 13 years as a Youth Minister I very much applaud the intention of this exploration i.e. to prevent Churches who have an active Youth/Student Ministry from being penalized and I'm not saying there is an obvious answer or that Share in some format may in the end turn out to be an appropriate method, simply that perhaps the time is right to address these questions in a more *radical* manner.
Phil Rankin (Buried Spirituality) wants to plug a day for youth workers at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. It isn't an 'Emerging Church'/'Blah' type gathering but will certainly throw some interesting stuff into the mix on the spirituality of Young People in the UK... The panel will have some difficult things to say and will no doubt be pushed hard by the team of responders...
The Spirituality of Generation Y.
Wednesday 27th September 10 for 10.30am start, finish 4pm
In an age driven by consumerism, leisure and media what role, if any, does spirituality play in the lives of Generation Y – Those born post 1980? Authors of key reports into this area Making sense of Generation Y and Buried Spirituality will be revealing their findings as well as outlining how the church should shape its mission to youth in the light of the research.
We’ll also be uncovering the initial results of The Nazareth Project - key new research dedicated to interviewing a mix of church and non church young people at youth groups up and down the country to find out what they actually think of Christian Youthwork & Christian youth workers and how both impact their spirituality.
The day will include plenty of space to debate the findings to see whether you agree with them or not. We’ll be inviting you to make your feedback heard as well as interviewing a ‘Response Panel’ in the afternoon – a mix of culture specialists, cutting edge church leaders and Youthwork practitioners who’ll tell us what they think of the reports as well as relaying how they’re engaging with the issue of reaching young people in today’s world.
I have recently had a couple of requests/enquiries about the booklet I wrote a couple of years ago now... may be to do with the fact the Church Times recently acknowledged its existence... a typical CofE timescale! Anyway it is available here ... they describe it as ...
YOUTH IN THE DEANERY, by Mark Berry (£1) ISBN 1 873529 77 5 With young people deserting our churches, this offers hope and a new way forward
School-leavers could be forced to do community work under a Conservative government, David Cameron has said. He said full details had yet to be worked out but options included a compulsory scheme lasting four months, with lottery cash as a funding option.
...why don't they just go the whole hog and reinstate National Service!? OK, I can see the aim is good... to increase a sense of community ownership but the words "half" and "baked" spring to mind as ever with these political gestures!
Just writing a piece for Perspectives Magazine on "Youth Ministry Ordination?" it currently sits in unproof read form at 2117 words... may need to trim it a bit. Once it has been published I'll put it online... but my four reasons to explore YM ordination are...
to establish consistent Terms and Conditions and to regularise employment issues
to liberate Youth Ministers to a full sacramental ministry
to develop a more holistic mission and not maintenance driven ministry. i.e. mission & ministry based on vision not ability to pay
to recognise the calling of Youth Ministers and so to invest in their ministerial development and to hear their voices and those of Young People.
Sorry, been a lean blogging week... spent most of it in Oxford for various reasons. One thing I did this week was to conduct the questionnaire section of my MA research with a class of Year 9 (13 year olds), it is way to early to go into any detail but the first thing that strikes me is that the vast majority (23 out of 25) have some hope for an afterlife... some selected quotes...
It would be everything you want. Your hopes and dreams will be there.
It would be perfect, flawless, no one hates, steals, feels greed, envy etc... Everyone is happy, it is like a sort of paradise.
I think we would come back as another person and not know anything about it. And think all these things over and over again. Maybe.
I think it would be very peaceful and very pretty and spiritual everyone would get along and forget bad things.
We will be on earth or able to visit it.
If you die trying to complete something you might come back trying to complete it. I do not believe "it is the end".
It is bliss not knowing the suffering of days past.
I think you even go to heaven or hell and you would be safe but in other ways makes me think that we come back in some way.
I think we will be reunited with past friends + family + our lives will be happier somehow, with no worries or hatred.
I think we will just revolve in the atmosphere.
I think you might come as an animal or another human being.
I think it will be like in the sci-fi and futuristic films.
Just a new life in heaven.
I think there will be peace and a heaven where there is no suffering.
Nothing no earthly being can experience. Feel completely different. Mainly free.
Doing some consultancy with the Chaplaincy team (multi-faith) of the Huntercombe YOI on Youth Culture - specifically urban/social exlusion etc.... and me ministering in Rural Bucks ;-) So... doing a bit of net-research and came across this site... Online Journal of Urban Youth Culture some very interesting articles particularly -
Urban Youth Culture and Social Transformation - "From Knucklehead to Revolutionary:"