The Grove Is On Fire


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Repentance is the vomit of the soul; and of all physic, none so difficult and hard as it is to vomit.

Thomas Brooks - Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices

Residential Tiredness

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

I came back from a residential weekend on Sunday PM and today spent the day in Oxford after taking young people there to meet old leaders who are now at vicar school. All great, but I'm now near dead for energy. Also in its rudeness the internet didn't stop updating itself while I've been gone, so I've declared internet bankrupty and marked as read all my RSS feeds. If anyone wrote anything good about youth work, e-mail me and I'll link to it. Other than that, I'm going to bed.

Rebuilding The Galaxy

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Regarding last Saturday's rant about real youth workers telling the gospel I draw your attention to this quote:

"I would think the position that [LA] Galaxy are in, that we're rebuilding our team and trying to have a successful year, it would seem very odd to me to be loaning out our top players."

That's coming from LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena. This season LA Galaxy finished one up from bottom in the MLS league.

Repeat after me: "Real football teams win matches. Real youth workers tell the gospel".

One Point Calvinism

Thursday, 23 October 2008

This is a good summary of why Calvin was right. Essentially, if you believe that man cannot save himself, and so God saves him (which is the position the Bible holds) then you're either thinking as a Calvinist, or you will be soon. (via")

This Is Abortion

Thursday, 23 October 2008

So, here's a video about abortion that'll get you into trouble for showing because of it's graphic nature. That's not the reason you should show it though. (via)

Youth work licensing system likely to be introduced next year - Children & Young People Now

Thursday, 23 October 2008

There's a change that a licensing system for youth workers will be introduced next year. Possibly.

Doug Nicholls, general secretary of the CYWU, said that despite concerns in some parts of the voluntary youth sector, a licensing system for qualified staff was likely to be introduced as part of wider reforms to the children's workforce.

To clarify, this is not the same thing as the system which will approve whether or not you are safe to work with young people and children, this is the system which will approve whether or not you are professionally qualified to work with young people and children. Seeing as the latter system has been on the cards much longer, has been definitely approved, and is still not starting to be rolled out till late 2009, it's probably fair to say this youth work licensing system make take a tad longer than a year to actually be implemented, whatever it turns out to actually be.

Kung Fu Satan

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

This is made of win:

Our main book is the Bible. Our main objective is to make disciples. Our main law is love. No longer will I qualify that I love to read the Bible more than other books. No longer will I try to sound acceptable to those who find evangelism detestable. No longer will I downplay that making disciples is the most important activity than we can participate in and that everything else is merely good.

Employing Youth and Children's Workers

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Church House Publishing have just released a book called Employing Youth and Children's Workers. It's for people employing youth and children's workers. I'm not quite sure why we're so special we get our own book, maybe it has chapters called "why they think they're so very special", "all the new PA you're going to have to put in your budget that you didn't account costs for" and "every three years: how to manage a bunch of quitters". As it's Church House probably quite Church of England focused, but as I haven't read it, that's clearly a guess. Amazon has it cheaper.

All Aboard The Atheist Bus Campaign

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

As of January, a whole bunch of buses are going to run around London with the slogan " There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life". This, the ingenious idea of a Guardian writer, got picked up by various folk on the internet and they've already doubled their target for donations. The whole thing is meant to be a response to either the Alpha course advertising ("There must be more to life than this") which is accused of note being particularly honest or the adverts which condemn you to hell with fire and brimstone (presumably "you're going to hell with fire and brimstone") which is accused of being a bit mean even if examples can't be cited.

Scouts Start Doing Sex Education

Monday, 20 October 2008

" The Scout Association is to start offering its members sexual health and relationships advice."

Fairly sound policies it seems from the scouting movement on sex education, alas, no word on whether or not you can get a badge in it.

Real Youth Workers Tell The Gospel

Saturday, 18 October 2008

There is a phrase in programme circles that goes something like "real programmers ship". The point being that lots of people say they right code, but real ones actually get the code out of the door and into the rest of the world. You get it in football too. Dozens of managers seem to make press conferences in which they say "we've had a good season, we're rebuilding and making progress as a team". They say this while the other manager says "we're doing alright, but we'd like to score a few more goals when we get the advantage like we did today". Real football teams win matches, they don't talk about rebuilding or forming as a team, they win stuff.

The tendency to talk about doing stuff, or think about doing stuff is fairly epidemic in Christian work. It's fairly epidemic in Christian life. We read stuff, we think about things, and then we say "yeah, we're putting that into practice, it'll take a bit to seep in and stuff, we'll get there." "We're building up relationships in order to tell people about Jesus." "We're taking our time to get to know the young people". Real Christians do stuff. They put things into practice. When the word of God tells them to do something, they do it. Real youth clubs tell the gospel.

Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."

Spurgeon and Empowerment

Friday, 17 October 2008

Prayer meetings for boys and girls, judiciously conducted, will be of abundant service. There should always be an experienced lover of children at their head, and then the fewer grown-up persons tolerated in the room the better. When there are half a dozen praying children present, their earnest prayers and tears will be with those of their own age the most potent instrumentality imaginable. Never fear precocity, there is much more danger of indifference and levity. Let wisdom and love preside. The fact of not being able to pray will often, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit, force home conviction upon the young conscience and lead to the best results... We know classes where the young believers have multiplied till they have become the majority and then they have, of their own accord, formed a sort of religious society for bringing in others of their playmates and relatives, for looking after absentees, for writing to the unsaved, and for generally seeking the glory of God within the bounds of the class. Fine education, this, for future church members1.

C. H. Spurgeon Editorial - The Sword and The Trowel (April 1868)

1 As much as it pains me to critique Spurgeon, but this last line makes no sense compared to the others. Surely if they're doing that much you should be thinking of them as part of the church now? They can run small groups, but don't officially count as members. I know what he's driving at, and I know he's still a child of his time and all, but I'll stop pointing it out when people stop saying a similar thing in 2008.

Pornography, the Heart, and Sermon Prep

Friday, 17 October 2008

John Piper on preparing a sermon.

Those are my two kinds of prayers, light and heat. If you try to work it up without the Holy Spirit giving it, people will know. They will know. Your people will know sooner or later. "I don't think that was a real affection. That was planned." (via)

When Mom and Dad Share It All - Adventures in Equal Parenting

Friday, 17 October 2008

What would happen if parents split working away, house work and kid raising entirely equally? I'm not sure it's just because I've noticed but it seems more people have new and great ideas about parenting these days. And by new and great I mean "NEW!!!" and "GREAT!!!!" written in bold 72-point hot pink slapped on the side of a poster of a house-wife (or husband!) smiling cheerfully.


Friday, 17 October 2008

Unschooling; it's like home-schooling, but without the curriculum. I'm cautiously sceptical about it all due to the whole "let him teach himself" thing, which never seems to work too well in practice.

A Police State

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Overstating The Case Just To Prove A Point (An almost certainly not ongoing series)

The first time a worker says "we're just policing this youth club" you shut down that youth club and don't re-open it till you have a better idea.

Graham Kendrick Just Got A Lot Better

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Apparently the Daily Mail pushed out an editorial / feature putting Graham Kendrick in the list of top fifty things that ruined the country. So, congratulations to Graham Kendrick, if you could split up and get back together again and go on tour, now would be the time to do it. This is probably one of those consider yourself worthy to suffer for the Lord I guess. (via:"")

5 Dangers of Always Being "On"

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Or five things that might happen if you don't stop working so damn hard.

Burn out is one of those big issues that youth workers and all ministers go on about a lot, sometimes vastly overstating the case, or not even understanding what they're burning out on. Something that interests me at the moment. Not sure I'm 100% with this article, but it's a good starting point.

Tests scrapped for 14-year-olds

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Or rather SATs (those pesky externally marked standardised tests) have been scrapped for 14 year olds (that's young people going into year 11). The BBC as ever has the info. Practically, this may not mean much, as young people will almost certainly still be tested in some way in Maths and Science to decide which set they are going into for their GCSE classes. Still, probably A Good Thing.

The Bible Experience - Bible Reading

Monday, 13 October 2008

Zondervan have published the entire Bible as recorded by famous Black celebrities. Samuel L Jackson as God sounds pretty good1. It's fairly heavily dramatised with background sound effects and music, but the words are the TNIV throughout. Zondervan has some clips on their site Genesis 1 is pretty good, but the best one to hear is the preview on iTunes of Galatians. Feel the anger! seem to have it the cheapest

1 Though, using non-Christians as the voice of God in reading the Bible? I'm not even sure if I should think that's wrong or not.

Sand Jumping

Monday, 13 October 2008

One-to-One Advice

Saturday, 11 October 2008

From Youthwork International, a very solid article by John Langford about how to do one-to-one work with young people. Lots of good practical advice and commendation to actually do some. (This is the same content his Grove Booklet about one to one work).

Also, does anyone have any idea why we write one-to-one work as one-to-one work, not one to one or something less typographically heavy?

(edited for typo's, thanks Andy)

National Youth Workers Convention - Live Blog

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Speaking of live-blogging, over in the States it's the National Youth Workers Convention and they've got a Liveblog going on. We should get one of those over here, though I'm not sure where we would put it.

Evangelists Conference 2008: Outrageous Grace

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Live Blogging the Evangelists Conference 2008! Or "What Would Have Been Live Blogging Had I Been Putting This Up Online As I Was Writing It Into My Notepad". Which works out the same for you seeing as you probably won't have had the patience to press Apple-R1 all of last Tuesday morning to read these ramblings:

I arrive late. Oops. Hey! It's my former house mate's wife on the door!

Rico and some opening remarks
Rico is speaking on Mark 4. He's at breakneck speed. When preaching the gospel expect...
* Disappointment. Hard work because it's depressing. Not always happens. John the baptist Loses his head, that's disappointing
* Delay. Preaching is not instant. Trust that the Word does it's work.
* Dramatic Results. Hooray!
Have power in the Word to do it's work.
Rico is a brilliant host. He just forgot the reading

Ian Garrett on Romans 5
According to the programme, "What We Have To Say First to Preach Grace Today"
Grace. Preach this and someone says "Won't people do what they want?" "YES" "So you agree?" "You'll find it changes what they want."
Grace is hard to communicate
How do we preach (teach / train / disciple) in grace?
PART OF THE SAME TALK (I have no idea why I wrote this is allcaps)
You might or might not need to emphasise grace more
In talks Grace & Christ's lordship fight each other
Romans is the God given framework to check whether any talk is in the right proportions.
Which parts of the gospel does your passage emphasise
"I should be shot at dawn if I haven't preached the cross"
You may have to import the cross if the passage skips it.

Oh while I remember, this hasn't happened till Thursday up North. So spoilers alert ahead. (Which would have helped had I written this up on Tuesday or Wednesday)

Five points about grace over two talks.
1) "In order to preach grace we meed to be gripped by grace itself"
- Romans 1:14-17
- Galatians 2:20-21
Most important point
"The sermon was prepared, the pastor wasn't" - C H Spurgeon (possibly, he says he doesn't have a source for it and I can't google it up anywhere, but does sound like Spurgeon. Most likely slightly misquoted)
Now quoting Richard Baxter at length. Dead Pastors FTW!
Preach your sermons to yourselves. Get yourself sorted first.
"Spend time with the passages as Ian Garrett the Christian not Ian Garrett the preacher"
Your crafting of the talk may suffer. It's worth it.
2) "In order to preach grace, we have to preach sin and judgement"
- Romans 1:18 and onwards
Guilt is a felt need you can wipe out with words
Don't speak about sin so much that you don't speak about grace
Judgement is reasonable
3) "In order to preach grace, we must preach the cross and what it achieved, recieved by faith)
- Romans 3:21-26
Ian Garrett ♥ John Chapman
Speak personally about the cross.
"My evangelistic talks need not more sermon crafting but more..." I didn't get the quote down, but something like people being slain in the spirit. More hilarious illustrations. Personal time with Jesus

And it's a break for Danish pastries.

And as I write this up four days later, I take a break to make my dinner. More to follow later on.

1 That's ctrl-F5 for the rest of you.

The Reliability of The Bible

Friday, 10 October 2008

The BBC posts about the reliability of the bible, stating that it's not. Mark Meynell responds stating that it is.

Muslim Youths to Advise Ministers

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

22 Young Muslims, two ministers and one advisory group. I feel I should be going somewhere with that first line. The government has appointed a Muslim youth advisory group to advise the home office on various issues around Muslim youth. The press release (which isn't available online in isolation) throws out various information, including that there are 800,000 Muslims under 25 living in Britain.

Gray hair is a crown of glory

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Old People Are Better Than You

In the era of eternal youth we're prone to despise our elders, to imagine we're the great generation, the innovators who have nothing to learn from our past.

Game: Splat

Monday, 6 October 2008

How to play Splat. It's by far and away not the best of games, but can be quite fun. Possibly awesome with water pistols. Possibly could go horribly wrong.

More How Many Youth Workers Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) None, but we can ask the pizza guy to do it when he gets here.

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) One, but only because those parents didn't raise their children properly to do it themselves.

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) As many as you can fit into a phonebox at one time.

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) What 'lightbulbs' are God asking you to change in your life?

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) One, and gosh, he's so humble for doing it too, changing his own lightbulb, the vicar isn't this humble, the vicar probably gets someone else to do it, not the youth worker though, no, he changes it himself. Because I'm humble. Damn, I mean he's humble.

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) Two, one to change the lightbulb and then make a joke about it in the church announcements that manages to offend the church warden, his wife, and his four children, and one to listen to the other moan about why they're not asked to speak in church more often.

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) You know, sometimes change is hard, but the person who had to deal with change the most was Jesus, when he came down to earth in human form. And Jesus wants you to do your quiet time. I mean trust and obey him.

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) One, but because he's changing the lightbulb he doesn't get the chance to give the talk at the end of the youth club, which also didn't happen last week, but that's cool, because apparently osmosis is a recognised evangelistic technique.

Q) How many youth leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) I have no idea what you're talking about? Lightbulb? Broken? Oh, but if you're getting the ladder out though, I don't suppose you'd mind seeing if you can find Jimmy's shoes behind the heating pipes up there? No, no, I don't know how they got up there either.

(Rehashed from, previously lame lightbulb jokes.)

Porn Again Christian

Friday, 3 October 2008

Mars Hill and The Resurgence are publishing online a booklet for guys that deals with sexual sins like pornography and masturbation. If you think this is too mature for your young people, then you're probably wrong. I can't find hard facts on when young people start watching porn, and I don't really want to Google for it, but anecdotally they probably are already. Whether this is the best resource for them is up for debate, but whether they need something like this shouldn't be. The opening paragraph

You are part of a culture1 that spends more money each year on pornography than country music, rock music, jazz music, classical music, Broadway plays, and ballet combined. In Paul's day, he accused some people of worshiping their stomachs as their god, and in our day it appears that our god has simply moved a short distance south.

1 Unless you are British in which case you are part of the fastest growing sector of a global culture that spends £20,000,000,000 a year on pornography.

Son of Hamas Leader Becomes a Christian

Friday, 3 October 2008

From the Telegraph

Mosab Hassan Yousef, 30, said that his decision to abandon his Muslim faith and denounce his father's organisation had exposed his family to persecution in his home town of Ramallah and endangered his own life.


Want a second chance at life?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Christmas video that inspired the below posted advertising contest. Not sure what to make of it. Manages to make it more about Joseph than Jesus, which is pretty impressive.

Can You Tell The Christmas Story in 30 seconds?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Churches Advertising Network are running a competition to see who can make the best 30 second Christmas Story. You can either enter it as a radio advert or as a youtube video. There's a £500 cash prize, but your ad won't actually get used as an ad it seems. Other than the whole Youtube viral thing. Could be good to let some of your young people know if they're that way inclined.

Church of England Marriage Laws Revised

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

But not those laws. The Church of England has revamped the marriage laws to make life easier for those who want to get married in a church they don't live in the parish of or currently attend. You can now get married in churches you have much looser connections with. No update to the laws on Banns though, which remain the dumbest way of checking that you're married ever.

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The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. - Psalm 24:1