Want 22 ideas about creative projects that you can get involved with? God calls us specifically to do certain things in our area but it helps to dream, to have vision and see what other people are doing.. for more info please contact me and I'll try to help in whatever way I can.. what is God calling you to do? Standing still means going backwards..
> > If we don’t innovate we stagnate> > If we don’t think we sink > >
What are you doing to help clubbers?
We went out into town with a group of lads and girls we know from detached work and as we wandered round we thought 'Where is the church in all of this?' Answer - nowhere! We thought to ourselves, what can we do?? What can you do? One answer someone came up with was to go out onto the streets and just be there for people. Risky. Dangerous, potentially. Needs thinking through yes. Needs prayer support, yes. But what about it? We're starting to think about how it's going to work.
Apparently, Exeter University CU students are doing toasted cheesies for other students returning from clubs.
Set up a project for young people at risk of exclusion from schools
Or young people who have dropped out of mainstream education. Research shows these young people are far more likely to be in trouble with the police and more likely to misuse substances. These young people are falling through provisions such as Connexions, churches, youth centres etc. It is essential that Jesus is brought to these young people - only Jesus will be able to make a real and lasting change. Great Christian projects do this already (such as The Gap, Cornerstone Church in Swansea). Are you next? This is challenging stuff? Can you cut it?
For school refusers
There is also need for facilities for young people who are school refusing or school phobic because of say agoraphobia, bullying, worry. What a great need, what great need for Jesus.
Get involved in local events and festivals
Does your town or city have some kind of Summer festival or event? Exeter has the Exeter Festival and the Exeter Fringe. What a wicked opportunity to get involved! We've had a quality Christian band playing alongside the Salvation Army, done funky youth stuff on the Quay at nights with the local Christian schools project and have ideas for doing loads more. People have also done massive Passion Plays (drama) at Christmas, handed out minced pies etc. We also have Animated Exeter. Are there other festivals you could bring your expertise to?
Christian Fringe Shows
If not the above then why not do a Christian youth fringe in the Summer? DJ-ing, arts, crafts, bands, training, comedy, footie, basketball, Christian weight lifters.. the list goes on..
Produce your own resources
What about producing youth work resources and materials, CD-ROMS, videos, DVDs etc. from the experience of all the youth leaders you know? Kind of self-defeating as this is something we'd like to do but we can all learn from each other! It's not about setting yourselves up as 'experts' but about encouraging, sharing and envisioning others.
Youth Cafe or Facilities
What about a youth cafe or warehouse somewhere in and around your town or city centre? Yes, rents are high and you need to make sure you're not doing things that secular or voluntary agencies already do, but how about it? Get involved with agencies in your area. Christian youth workers don't do this enough. Where I live there are only 2 Christian youth workers who regularly work with secular youth workers - in a city of 120,000! What a waste!
Get a Bus!
How can we help young people in rural areas or in estates in city fringes? What about the bus idea - similar to the Message Trust in Manchester - load up a double decker with cool media, a restaurant and funkiness! Yep, it needs money, security, a driver and expensive equipment - but all this is no matter if Jesus has called you to do this.. click here for more
What about having a youth church?
You say its not ideal and shouldn't just be for one kind of culture? Maybe not but the church in its current state is no way ideal and mostly caters for middle class, usually white people! That's one culture! Take a look at postmodern society - most young people want to be an 'individual' and often make choices on the basis of being associated to certain kinds of 'tribes' like goths, skaters, urban music etc. If we don't identify and target these groups we may just miss them.. who's reaching the night-shift workers!?!
Set up a recording studio and get young people in to write their own music and record it (be it a band, hip-hop, pop songs, dance music, whatever..). You can do DJ-ing, scratching, and loads more. They can help produce it (a great skill in itself), sing on it - no matter if it's not top quality - release CDs and use software such as Neato stuff to create their own CD labels etc.. we've done this in a limited way.
Eden Projects - or similar (in Manchester not that glass dome in Cornwall!)
What about moving people into difficult, tough areas as specific projects such as The Eden Project in Manchester do? Contact the Message Trust for more info on this - click here
One thing that happened organically for us was playing football against some teenage lads from a local gang. We knew some from schools work and youth club but youth club wasn't working. After stopping club and seeking God one of the youth leaders felt we should do some detached work. As a result some lads and lasses came up to the church to play football, do DJ-ing and hang out. The building isn't very suitable however so I suggested we move to play at a local sports centre. The first few weeks we covered the cost as most are unemployed. Now, however, they pay their own way and it's a great chance for other blokes in the church other than youth leaders to play football and share their faith
Something similar happened when one of the girls who's a wicked basketball player started getting people out to shoot hoops at a local park. Now we end up playing regularly against local lads of different ages and races which is really cool. Plus we're getting good at basketball!!
Work in local council youth clubs
One way to reach non-Christian young people and youth leaders is to work with the secular youth service in any of the local youth clubs. Be sensitive and careful but potentially within a short space of time, a load of Christians are working with loads of non-Christian kids!!
Christian skate park or similar resource
Set up a Christian skate park or some other thing that will work with youth culture. In the centre of Exeter, as in most towns and villages, skaters hang out, are complained about and banned from certain areas. Yeh I know they like to go where they're not supposed to be but maybe a central well-run and funky Christian skate park like the one they use at Soul Survivor might work where you are?? Think about insurance, at least one Christian skate park had to shut down cos of prohibitive insurance costs.
Record your own CD
Got good musical young people in bands from a church or lots of churches? Record a CD, you probably have someone with the expertise that somebody knows. Use your own songs to avoid paying royalties on existing songs and sell it. If you run or have a regular youth worship event, record and sell it there, get young people involved. Go on!
Young People on stage
There is an event that I saw in Manchester, I think it's called 'Jabba' or 'Jabber' or something similar. In essence, this is an event that is young people led where exclusively young people DJ, sing and MC at an event for under 18s. Obviously it's all urban flavas - hip-hop, drum'n'bass, R&B, UK garage etc. Wicked stuff!
See You At The Flag
In the USA they have a yearly prayer event called 'See You At The (Flag) Pole'. According to youthspecialties.com it started when a small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, felt God speaking like never before. Not knowing what to do, they went to the school flagpoles and prayed for their friends, schools, and leaders. On September 11, 1991, at 7.00am, one million students gathered at school flagpoles all over the country for the first official "See You at the Pole." It is also done in Australia and Canada among others.
This year the event was Weds Sept 18th. I felt God call us as youth leaders in Exeter to start the wheels in motion to encourage our young people, if they felt it was from God, to pray. One of the young people organised others at his CU and they prayed discreetly that day. Something must have happened - his dad had his car stolen that night!
Next year we long for this to grow. I urge you to start this too, if you don't already. Give me a shout if you're up for it. Go visit http://www.syatp.com for more
Social Action Projects
Join in with other events like 'The Noise' social action idea (SoulSurvivor) or Festival Manchester (Message Trust). My vision, to see cities in the UK start uniting and going for God in a big way together using funkiness, cool music, media, relationships, loving people and whatever it takes!
Set up a schools project, this may be in your area of a city, or may be in a smaller city or town area. For good ideas and help, I'm sure you could contact the Luton Churches Education Trust (http://www.lcet.org) or the Exeter Initiative in Christian Education (ICE) Trust. Or set up a schools band - I've seen rock music, hip-hop, pop and gospel music all work. Or combine a few styles, like we do!
The destructive replaced by the constructive
There was a problem recently with young people in one estate setting off fireworks every night and firing them at people/cars etc. I thought about ways we could harness and re-direct these energies. Maybe go to a fireworks factory, go to a fire station. Or set up a fireworks competition and get people in to train them and show the dangers. Maybe none of this. They stopped after a while anyway. But I want to challenge you with the principle:
If something destructive is going on where you are, how can you re-direct those same energies for good? First think about the issues and what young people do then think of a positive response. Involve others such as the community, police etc. if you want but think, pray and act. And keep praying!
With the group of lads we play footie against, in one week two of them had birthdays - one was 18, one was 21. We decided to throw a birthday party based on the example of Tony Campolo who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, threw a birthday party once for a prostitute in Honolulu who'd never had a birthday. We decided to do the same but make a massive effort - decorations, cakes, non-alcoholic drinks and more. Giving you ideas?!? I hope so!