2013: A Year Of Youth Work In Preview

January: The Disclosure and Barring Service comes into use, replacing CRB checks. Any youth worker or volunteer who enters a new position now has to apply through them, and they reject every single person. Apparently this is a feature, not a bug, as no-one can be completely trusted. Numbers of youth workers and volunteers start to drop.

February: Yet another incomplete incoherent ‘gospel’ is found, this time attributed to Thaddeus. One particular line grabs the attention of youth workers: “And Jesus said to them ‘if you do not work with the teenagers over some table-based games, you may as well [pack this] all in right now’” (Thaddeus 48). As per normal, once the initial storm dies down everyone acknowledges that this gospel has no factual basis but that doesn’t stop youth workers quoting it and saying “well, even if most people don’t believe it’s true, it’s still good wisdom isn’t it?”

March: All the dress-rehersals for your Easter pageant are going really well, and everyone turns up on time on Easter Sunday. The donkey costume is looking pretty good, Mary is content in her role, and the Roman Soldiers are vaguely authentic. One of the wise-men has lost his gift, and Jesus is probably a bit old to be a new-born, but those are minor details in the gran… OH NO WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

April: “…and that’s why at Easter, it still important to remember the birth of Christ”? Good thing you were off for the Easter holidays to recover from that one. The DBS criminal checks are still messed up, so it turns out you couldn’t be fired anyway, at least not if the church wanted to replace you. Anyway, you’re sure you’ll win the church back with your high-stakes chubby-bunny-based bible study system.

May: Due to a quirk in EU regulations, you’re required to conduct one meeting this month in the native language of the country, which means depending on where you live, Welsh, Cornish, Various types of Gaelic and if you live in the South East a weird French/Latin hybrid. I tell you this so you can start looking now for very niche Christian youth work publishers.

June: The first academic research is publishing on the gospel of Thaddeus. Careful scholarship has shown that the document is probably a fake, given that New Testament Greek doesn’t contain the word “teenager”, they didn’t write in Biro till the 20th century, and generally even gnostic gospels weren’t written in Pig-Latin. 96% of youth workers now avoid quoting Thaddeus 48, although Thaddeus 102 remains stubbornly popular (“and Jesus said ‘can you turn your phone off when I’m speaking?’”).

July: Church demand for youth workers and volunteers is critical as numbers of approved individuals drops to an all time low (since records started in 2002). An enterprising church finds a loop-hole that allows already CRB checked members to transfer to other churches provided they sign an improved contract. They take a 10% negotiation cut.

August: Torrential sunshine and record-breaking cloudless days put a downer on Soul Survivor this year, with the cancellation of such traditional activities as; “find the missing welly in the big top”, “get mud out of the sleeping bag”, and “Oh No! My Bus Is Stuck”. Also the sun-cream in your first aid kit expired in 2004.

Sept: A new school term starts and you finally remember the name of the head teacher. For the first time in your youth work career you’re also older than the teacher whose form room you use for the Christian Union. Why is it then, that you still feel like you’re in trouble when you ask for her permission to use the white-board?

Oct: This year’s X-Factor winner pre-emptively split up, get back together again, and then go on a month long farewell tour all before the stage everyone stops watching at. Nothing to do with your youth work apart from your young people will talk about nothing else for the whole month. Plan your small group discussions accordingly.

Nov: The CRB/DBS Transfer Agency (which has since separated from it’s founding church, St Thaddeus’ Orwell Lane) is raided by the police. It turns out running a black market in vetted staff violates not only the spirit of the law but also various letters. It also turns out that if you launder a couple of million pounds through a tuck-shop, you’ll probably be found out.

Dec: The world ends! Oh wait, that was last year. This year, nothing ends. Not even school. Get ready to run actual PSHE and RE lessons right up till the 31st. Also, the assembly on Boxing Day on gluttony is a tad hypocritical.