Youth café (church?)

Youth_cafe
One of the issues we face in our work is how to create authentic Christian community for young people who are interested in becoming Christians. Over the years we’ve found that the best way of doing this is to work with two or three churches jointly to establish a new weekly café style community. The advantages of this method are many:

It provides a focus for new or developing church partnerships. In some cases, churches without any young people are pleased to be able to be involved in youth mission, often with the realistic expectation that the young people reached may not make it into their church.
You can pool the resources, people skills and availability of the participating churches.
The style of the café is free from the cultural captivity of any one church, meaning it is free to be formed in the best way for the young people we’re reaching.
The inter church basis means there is less expectation that young people will move from the café to ‘real church’ as they grow up. Some do make it into one of the participating churches, but it happens through relationship rather than the expectations of older church members (as if that ever achieves much!)

There are now two that are well established here, one for nearly four years, and they are continuing to grow. It’s clear that what happens is that the young people attending, most not from a church background, grow into a real faith as a result of being part of the café. I might write more extensively about each of these at some point.

There are several areas of Colchester where we believe new youth cafés could be established in partnership with local churches. But we’re also challenged by a few areas where this doesn’t look possible, but where we have strong growing relationships with the local secondary school and an established presence in the local community. This will form one of our major focuses in the next academic year.

By way of encouragement I found this interview (it dates from May) about some great stuff happening in Inverness.

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4 Responses to Youth café (church?)

  1. philjohnson says:

    Tim
    All the best with these projects.
    Perhaps one of the important social dynamics in your venture is how networks of friendships develop. While one’s theology of missions will inform the framework of “why” you do what you are doing, the formation of any community and the formation of faith as well as the nurturing, sustaining and maintaining of these twin things relies a lot on the quality of the relationships.
    In the absence of genuine friendship, encouragement, support, it can be very difficult to sustain a commitment to a community and a faith commitment.
    So one of the premier questions that need to be kept in view is: “what kind of person(s) am I/are we being” as the embryo forms? Where does my/our security rest (in Christ or other things)? Am I/are we modelling in what we do and what we say the servanthood of Christ?
    Blessings

  2. philjohnson says:

    Tim
    All the best with these projects.
    Perhaps one of the important social dynamics in your venture is how networks of friendships develop. While one’s theology of missions will inform the framework of “why” you do what you are doing, the formation of any community and the formation of faith as well as the nurturing, sustaining and maintaining of these twin things relies a lot on the quality of the relationships.
    In the absence of genuine friendship, encouragement, support, it can be very difficult to sustain a commitment to a community and a faith commitment.
    So one of the premier questions that need to be kept in view is: “what kind of person(s) am I/are we being” as the embryo forms? Where does my/our security rest (in Christ or other things)? Am I/are we modelling in what we do and what we say the servanthood of Christ?
    Blessings

  3. sally says:

    So glad to see this is still going ahead Tim, all of my children have been along to CYO’s youth cafes in one way or another and all remember them!
    Do you still run the week long projects or are you looking towards more established set ups?

  4. sally says:

    So glad to see this is still going ahead Tim, all of my children have been along to CYO’s youth cafes in one way or another and all remember them!
    Do you still run the week long projects or are you looking towards more established set ups?

Comments are closed.

Youth café (church?)

Youth_cafe
One of the issues we face in our work is how to create authentic Christian community for young people who are interested in becoming Christians. Over the years we’ve found that the best way of doing this is to work with two or three churches jointly to establish a new weekly café style community. The advantages of this method are many:

It provides a focus for new or developing church partnerships. In some cases, churches without any young people are pleased to be able to be involved in youth mission, often with the realistic expectation that the young people reached may not make it into their church.
You can pool the resources, people skills and availability of the participating churches.
The style of the café is free from the cultural captivity of any one church, meaning it is free to be formed in the best way for the young people we’re reaching.
The inter church basis means there is less expectation that young people will move from the café to ‘real church’ as they grow up. Some do make it into one of the participating churches, but it happens through relationship rather than the expectations of older church members (as if that ever achieves much!)

There are now two that are well established here, one for nearly four years, and they are continuing to grow. It’s clear that what happens is that the young people attending, most not from a church background, grow into a real faith as a result of being part of the café. I might write more extensively about each of these at some point.

There are several areas of Colchester where we believe new youth cafés could be established in partnership with local churches. But we’re also challenged by a few areas where this doesn’t look possible, but where we have strong growing relationships with the local secondary school and an established presence in the local community. This will form one of our major focuses in the next academic year.

By way of encouragement I found this interview (it dates from May) about some great stuff happening in Inverness.

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