The Grove Is On Fire

Breaking News: Devon Woman First To Gain 100 Clean CRBs

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Mrs Joyce Webber from Exeter was shocked to find this week that she'd be cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau for the hundredth time. She is the first person to accomplish this feat.

Mrs Webber was at home on Monday 28th June when she received a letter with the royal seal on it. She discovered that it was an official letter from the Queen congratulating her on her achievement. "To be honest, I was shocked, I thought I was on 98 CRBs and I hadn't had to submit one for at least a month so I wasn't expecting any back, and then this letter comes in from Her Majesty and I was over-joyed". Mrs Webber has been the record holder for most CRBs since her closest rival punched a small child in the face, making her ineligible for working with children and, crucially, gaining a clean CRB. The Criminal Records Bureau have confirmed that Mrs Webber is the first person to officially gain 100 clean CRB checks. They have also confirmed that Mrs Webber will receive the first diamond CRB when they sort out their backlog.

Mrs Webber has managed to achieve her record by amassed a vast amount of voluntary hours with dozens of different charities and companies, all with their own arcane laws about who should receive CRBs. Her advice to those trying to match her achievements is to find your passion, volunteer for everyone who'll have you, and not move house for at least five years.

Asked what her favourite CRB was she replied "I think it was the one that got away. When I applied to help with guide camp I had to apply for my CRB for the residential centre and as it was very last minute I rushed the form that evening, but when I came to post the form the next day I realised I'd done it in dark blue instead of black but I risked it anyway. The returned it and by then it was too late to reapply and so I missed the camp".

CRB checks have grown in popularity since their relatively low-key launch in 2002. A recent celebrity CRB auction made over ten thousand for charity, and six months ago an under 18's CRB was launched to cash in on the craze. Last year James Prestwhick, 27, from Littlehampton, claimed to have broken the hundred mark, however under inspection it was discovered that he had repeated volunteered and stepped down for various charities to artificially boost his numbers. In court he pled guilty to deceiving rightful authorities and bringing the CRB into disrepute. His sentence? A criminal conviction that prevented him from working with the children and vulnerable adults.

To find out more about the CRB and its rise to fame, follow from 7pm each night as it trace the highs and the lows of the CRB, in our exclusive 5 part series: Documentary Evidence Sheet: Inside the CRB.

Do We Really Need More Youth Ministry Resources?

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tim Schmoyer asks do we really need more youth ministry resources? Clearly, the answer is no. I can go out and buy a thousand pre-planned sessions tomorrow from our local Christian bookshop, but there are about two decent books outline a Christian theology for youth ministry. Here is what I said when I started this website.

They'll be no 'resourcing' here, no informative sessions plans or curriculum built around self-esteem and the book of Judges, just links to things that might be helpful and tirades into the ether.

Five Questions With Andy Cook

Saturday, 26 June 2010

AAH! Andy's face appears directly in front of you. You're surprised, but not nearly as surprised as him, and his odd sideways glance shows this.

Andy Cook is the youth and children's worker at St James Clerkenwell, Islington. He's also currently at Oak Hill studying youth ministry. Once at university he made a crossbow that was bigger than his own skinny frame. Not only did it work perfectly, he wasn't arrested for it either.

Top Five All Time Ever Favourite Cakes (In Any Order)?

  • Carrot cake.
  • Scone with cream and jam (Andy assures me that he's confident it counts as a cake).
  • Flapjack.
  • His wife's banana brownie.
  • Fruitcake.

What's The Best Thing About Supporting Swindon Town Football Club?

Ha ha... Um... ... The best thing... um... It's a conversational point, because people don't know who they are.

What Is The Book That's Affected Your Youth Ministry Most?

The Bible, duh. (I tell him that's cheating.) Hear my Son by Daniel J. Estes. Probably because it's the most biblically influential... I don't know, that's a smart-arse answer isn't it?. In all seriousness it's just the best thing I've read on how the bible does youth ministry. Not youth ministry with "oh I'm going to apply the Bible" but the Bible doing youth ministry sort of thing.

What's The Best Thing About Christian Youth Ministry In The UK Right Now?

Probably our freedom to preach the gospel.

What's The Worst Thing About Christian Youth Ministry In The UK Right Now?

It's the back end of that. Increasing opposition to actually preaching the gospel, because people would rather hear a wishy liberal nonsense. People don't want to hear the gospel they want to hear Jesus loves everyone and you're all going to be saved anyway. And increasingly that is... you know what I mean.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Trailer

Monday, 21 June 2010

As a kid The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my favourite of the Narnia Chronicles, so I have no intention of going to watch the film version when it comes out towards Christmas, but if you are going or thinking of bringing your youth group the trailer is up now.

You Sir, Are A Beg Friend

Thursday, 17 June 2010

There is nothing worse1 than a youth worker who deliberately adopts the slang of the young people he works with in a vague attempt to be cool. However, if you've ever hung out with anyone for anytime you'll notice that you pick up on their phrases and mannerisms and there is not much you can do about this. So without trying to be the moron pretending he likes the new JLS single you can find yourself quite naturally using words like "merc", "my ends", and "your mum"2. The reason being –and this'll not be surprising to the youth workers– a lot of the language is quite clever, quite useful, and invented out of the necessity of needing a phrase to fill a gap. The phrase "beg friend" is not one of those phrases. This is, as written by a bona-fide young person, what a beg friend is:

When mans gets excited and tries to get involved wid pps so they can be bredrin wid.

And because that's mostly meaningless, this, as written first time round by a bona-fide young person before he was chided by his youth worker for being too smart, is what a beg-friend is:

When one person instigates an action in order to impress or befriend another person of equal or higher standing within societies echelons.

Here's an example. Imagine you are a cool young person hanging out in school with your other equally popular mates3. Clive, a kid from lower down the popularity chain comes up to you and says "oh, I'm going to the shop at break, do you want anything?" Clive here, is being a beg friend. He is trying to do something for you so that you'll be impressed with him. And obviously the expression starts here and the spreads into other areas. You offer to help someone out with their homework and they turn around to you and say "stop being such a beg friend". Your mate shares his chips with you at lunch time, so you call him a beg. You ask your mum to pass you the salt, she does, your mum is such a beg mum. And so on. So it's an evil expression because it takes what is an act of kindness and mocks the giver. And it's worse, because in doing this you teach yourself that asking for someone else's help is weak and pathetic and to be despised. Who would want to be a beg friend of anyone?

While he [Jesus] was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." (Luke 5:12)

You are a beg friend of Christ. You come to Christ as someone who can bring Him nothing whatsoever. You have no power over Him, nothing He wants, nothing to bargain with. You come to Him dependent on His mercy and grace. And so you come as someone who can only beg for forgiveness and grace and mercy. And in Christ's grace and mercy He gives them to you. You did not earn his friendship, you begged for it and He gave it you.

1 Hyperbole. A lot of hyperbole. Hyperbolic hyperbole if you will.

2 That's maybe not the young people.

3 On reflection this is not perhaps the easiest thing for most youth workers to imagine.

Job: Lecturer in Youth & Community Work - Oasis London

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Oasis College in London (people who train youth workers) are looking for a lecturer in youth and community work. I'm printing out the full-text here because for some reason the advert is an image file.


Part-time (min 20 - max 32 hours/week)
Salary £27,367 - £31,233 per annum, pro rata to hours worked (inclusive of London Allowance)
Spine 23-28 of Higher Education pay scale

Oasis College is a higher education institution and part of the Oasis group of organisations. The College promotes informed and reflective practice in the field of work and ministry with children, young people, families and their communities. The College offers a range of higher education programmes including foundation courses, undergraduate and postgraduate awards validated by Staffordshire University; and supports research activity.

Oasis College seeks a Lecturer who will contribute to the teaching faculty in the specialist area of Youth and Community Work and act as Personal Tutor for students working towards JNC validated awards.

The successful applicant will:
· Hold a first degree in a relevant discipline, e.g. Youth and Community, Theology, Education, Sociology, Psychology, including a JNC recognised award.
· Hold, or be willing to work towards, a post-graduate qualification.
· Have proven experience of teaching/training others in the subject specialism
· Have proven fieldwork experience in youth and community work; and Christian ministry
· Have proven experience of managing staff and volunteers
· Have excellent relational/communication/IT skills

Closing date for receipt of completed applications: Friday 2nd July 2010
A cleared Enhanced CRB Disclosure/ISA Registration is required

There is a genuine occupational requirement for this post-holder to be an active Christian and support the ethos and values of Oasis

CRB Application Process - Interim Arrangements

Thursday, 17 June 2010

This handy FAQ about what happens now with CRBs is a useful source of information if you need to know how CRBs will work now the ISA registration is dead in the water. Effectively it says keep calm and carry on, but with a bit more practical detail.

Vetting and Barring System Barred Under New Government

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Due, it seems, to the ancient tradition of a new government arbitrarily cancelling programs initiated by the previous ruling party, the new vetting and barring system has been temporarily put on hold until a "proportionate, commonsense" system can be put in place. Unfortunately it doesn't mention the words "fairer" or "compassionate" and so doesn't score full coalition spin points. This announcement comes at the ideal time, just as the Criminal Records Bureau has printed out thousands of new all-inclusive vetting and barring and CRB forms, and just as hundreds of umbrella bodies have just issued guidelines about how you should stop using the old CRB forms and get ready to register all your new staff and volunteers with the scheme.

Because this is all a massive last minute hash-job, there isn't much guidance or broader news right now. As for registering people with the CRB though, you should keep doing it as you always have. The current CRB forms will work as long as they are processed by the CRB by the end of July. And the new forms (which genuinely are better, if only because they don't ask you for things that you shouldn't actually give them, things like your bank details) will work for processing people through the CRB check from that period. So essentially, if you need to register someone in the next three weeks use the old form, after that, start using the new one.

Update: The BBC has a bit less snark, but slightly more news on the subject. Also, it's the CRB who deal wit the forms, the ISA just deal with the barring.

The Pastor and the Community

Friday, 11 June 2010

Kevin DeYoung has 35 points of notes from Mark Dever on social action and the gospel. Worth reading them all.


Friday, 11 June 2010

Seeing as the nation worships football and a large percentage of the population's hopes of salvation lie with Wayne Rooney's feet, I'm not sure a lot of the come and watch the World Cup evangelistic events have been quite thought through. That said, it's the worship that makes it wrong, not the enjoyment of it. So, if you're going to enjoy it as you should, follow this recommendation. The Back of the Net World Cup Blog will probably be the best thing you read about the World Cup all month. They also are tweeting through most matches. Excellent.

Why We Need to Preach the Sovereignty of God in Deprived Areas

Friday, 11 June 2010

And, I would add among young people in deprived areas. Not from Tim himself, but from notes from a guy called Duncan Forbes' talk.

Job: Youth Pastor - Banstead Baptist Church

Friday, 11 June 2010

Banstead Baptist Church are looking for a youth pastor. The jist of the church is below, but all the details are in this handy .pdf file

We are a Bible teaching, independent church based in a large suburban village 14 miles from central London. We have committed ourselves to growing by direct evangelism and discipleship training. The youth ministry plays a key role in the desire to reach out to all ages in our local community.

Closing date is soonish. They're looking for someone ideally from September.

What Does It Mean To Be A Professional Youth Worker These Days?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

If you're confused by all the attempts to make youth work into more of a formal profession than it currently is (and if you're not, you haven't been following it closely enough) Jon's article clarifies the current attempts somewhat. (I remain unconvinced by the idea, but I'd like to hope it won't matter to most Christian workers.)

The Transformational Power of Evangelism

Friday, 4 June 2010

Greg Stier on increasing young people's faith by involving them in evangelism.

Yes. Yes You Did.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Did You Mean Youth Work?

Five Questions With Nate Morgan Locke

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Top five all-time favourite Colins:

Just to get them out of the way, I'm not going for Murray or Farrell.

  • Colin Patterson: He's a BBC radio presenter, also does the voice overs for the trailers for Soul.
  • Coleen Rooney: Because she's still with her footballing husband.
  • Collins Dictionary: For services to the English language
  • Pierre Luigi Collina
  • Colin Powell: For opening up the opportunities for Colins everywhere, and for being the world's most successful Colin.

What's your favourite comedy accent:

The Welsh accent. It's a wonderful and touching accent. It constantly brings joy.

Who do you think won't win the world cup:

I don't think North Korea will win the world cup. Probably not very controversial, but probably does mean I'll never be allowed to visit North Korea.

What's the worst thing about Christian youth ministry in the UK right now:

The erosion of a biblical view of sin. That undermines the glory of the gospel.

What's the best thing about Christian youth ministry in the UK right now:

Soul! No, if you put that I'll have to kill you. The energy and enthusiasm of so many people who do youth ministry because they obviously want it to go so well. And they're keen to be part of the church, spreading the gospel and part of the local community.

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