Cross Denominational Working

13 February 2008 — Leave a comment

Our local leaders fraternal
Our local leaders fraternal 😉

Since starting my role at ACC, I’ve spent a bit of time meeting up with Youth Workers from other churches in the local area. Although there’s a few of us, a gathering had rarely happened before and so it’s been good to share coffee, stories, and recently events with these other men and women of faith.

At the same time that these relationships have formed and totally separately, a wider group of non-denominational church-based workers have been meeting across the south coast for the very same purpose.

It seems that God is doing something in mixing up the denominations to share and support each other and it’s not just here locally. Youth Hacks had a good post about the benefits of meeting with workers from other churches. Here are a few highlights:

Let off steam – We all have crap to deal with in our communities, and sometimes we need to talk about it. Its great to be able to do some healthy venting to someone from outside of your community.
Share ideas – No matter how cool your ideas are or how long you’ve been in ministry, the folks down the road are probably doing some cool stuff. And there might be a couple of things they can learn from you, too.
Kill unrealistic expectations – Its easy to imagine that other churches have it all together. I was relieved to hear that our neighboring youth workers deal with the same problems that we do. It normalized the problem and helped me to stop beating up on myself about silly things.

Although meeting together is fine, the Christian Youth Work blog is questioning whether we actually need to show unity through practical example. Isn’t communication enough?

I don’t see that there is any actual need for us to physically do things together, because we may all be called to work with different people, at different times, and do different things, so is it more important that we work together, or be seen to be working together, or that we follow the calling that God has placed upon us?

Personally, I think working with others is vital in building trust and relationships. It will also benefit the young people who access the various activities when they see their workers communicating and sharing. As such, I’ve also continued to meet with LAYA, the Littlehampton Area Youth Agencies. This is a planning and information-sharing group made up of statutory and voluntary agencies who run services for young people. I used to be part of it in my previous role, but I now represent the first church invited to attend. As a result the church is becoming known by these professional agencies for the quality and varied work we do.

So how can you work with other churches and agencies to enhance your work and what God is doing through you?

Jon

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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

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