Time for a renaissance

When I reflect on the last quarter-century of youth work, there are lessons that I keep learning, lessons that I should have learned and lessons that if I don’t learn soon then I’m really in trouble! I’ve learnt that you can’t give away what you don’t have. Your own spiritual life and the investment you put in are more important than anything else you say or do. If you haven’t got anything real, then what’s the whole thing about? Young people smell that inauthenticity in a second. I’m constantly reminded by that. I’ve also learnt to be prepared to take risks to innovate. Culture is changing so fast. It’s so easy to become settled in your assumptions about young people, settled in your methods and settled in your theology. I don’t think we live in an era when we can afford to be settled in any one of those.

I don’t think enough has changed in youth work over the decades. It feels like you could time travel a youth worker from 1991 to the present day and they’d...

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