Outreach

Isolated, tired and overwhelmed? Then it's likely you're in youth ministry

By Chris Shearer

May 16 2016

The Diocese of Melbourne has completed three consultations with youth ministry practitioners as it moves towards a more mission-shaped approach to resourcing and supporting youth ministry.

Coordinator of Parish Renewal for the Diocese, Ken Morgan, said these recent consultations were about building on research with practical knowledge.

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“The youth ministry consultations for us have been about trying to find out what it’s like doing youth ministry in the trenches, on the front line, so we can figure out how to better resource, train and develop youth ministers for a youth ministry into the future,” he told TMA.

Around fifty ordained and lay people who work in youth ministry across Melbourne participated in the three events, held at Ringwood’s Mullum Mullum Parish, Christ Church Dingley and St Thomas’ Werribee.

Mr Morgan said he was pleased with the response, which has allowed the diocese to get a strong ground-level view of the requirements of youth ministry moving forward.

“Some of the learning has been around people feeling isolated, feeling like youth ministry is something they do by themselves. People feeling like they’re at sea; they don’t have enough resources to know what they’re doing. Some of them just feel sort of tired and overwhelmed. So just the consultations themselves have been an opportunity to [unload] and that’s helpful for them but also it’s helpful for us to learn about what it’s like doing youth ministry nowadays.”

The consultations followed the release of the findings of multiple studies on youth ministry in Melbourne by the Christian Research Centre (CRA) earlier this year. The CRA, which worked with several different denominations on the research, made a number of recommendations for development, resourcing and support into the future.

Developing “strong and fruitful” youth ministry is a significant part of the Diocese of Melbourne’s strategic plan for the next two Synod cycles (2017-2022). General Manager and Registrar of the Diocese, Ken Spackman, said he was excited by the opportunity to create a supported, mission-shaped youth ministry based in part on these consultations.

“So from here we’ve got the CRA research, we’ve got our findings from what we know around what happens with youth ministry around the Diocese and now we’ve undertaken these consultations which will give us a lot of great ideas that we can take forward and think about the support model for youth ministry across the Diocese: how we support youth practitioners whether they be ordained or lay, paid or volunteers,” he said.

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