Young adult conferences: what would you like to say to the wider Church?

Monday, 10 June, 2013

Jon Curtis, James Henley, Laura Whitmarsh, Bryony Wells, Hannah Jackson and Damien Hine share what they would like to say to the wider Church, in interviews recorded at the Fresh Expressions young adults round table conferences on 13th April 2013 (London) and 18th April 2013 (Sheffield).

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Transcript

Jon Curtis: The one thing I'd like to say to the inherited church is thank you for supporting us in what's going on. I'm sure at times people must look at me and think what on earth is this person doing, how has this got any relevance to what we understand our faith to be, how is this going to fill up our church, how is our money being spent wisely? But people have been really patient and really brilliant in letting me work out this journey, work out where we might be going with this work and with these communities. So yeah, just thanks for your support and please understand that by supporting what's going on, you're not just handing it over to me and saying 'good luck', you're saying 'I want to be part of this too', but acknowledging that we've all got different strengths in what we're trying to do. So yeah, thanks and keep on supporting us if you can.

James Henley: Let's listen to each other, let's hear what each other have to say. We've got an awful lot that we need to learn – young fresh expressions need to learn about what it means to be a mature church, what it means to grow people into mature disciples. We really need to, and are desperately trying to, work out some of these lessons for our context and there's a whole lot that we can learn from the inherited church in that way. But then on the other hand I think there's a whole lot that we're looking to be able to – and wanting desperately to be able to – say and share with the inherited church about what church looks like and just wanting to be able to share that kind of knowledge really and the understanding that has been built up from all the different experiments and explorations and our journeys trying to grow church with those who don't have a church background.

Laura Whitmarsh: I think there are some pioneers who perhaps become a bit disenfranchised, a bit angry that the church isn't doing all that it could be doing – and I agree with that – but at the same time I think the tradition that comes with it is so rich and there's so much wisdom that's kind of held within that so I kind of want to reassure you that when we're doing something that's completely different it doesn't necessarily mean that we don't like what you're doing or what you're doing is unimportant, because it's not, it's still equally as valid, still equally part of the bride of Christ and the body of Christ.

Bryony Wells: To the inherited church I would say keep putting young people in leadership, because in my experience the expressions of church and communities that have thrived are ones that are led by people who are young and are in that age group and it's really hard sometimes to give permission and to, say, let somebody lead something when they're under 30 but I think it's something that the church should try and do more. The demographic of the inherited church is middle-class white men and I think that there's a challenge to raise up younger leaders.

Hannah Jackson: I think this whole thing of mission-shaped thinking, mission-shaped discipleship, it would be really helpful if they could do a lot of the ground work in their teaching, because I find that I'm trying to do new things as a pioneer and actually people are open to joining me doing things, but actually there's so much ground work to kind of detox them from normal ways of doing church that actually in a way the inherited church could do a lot of that because they believe in fresh expressions but perhaps they're not doing it, but actually as a pioneer I should be released to just get on with the mission and take my team with me but actually I feel I've got to do a lot of basic discipleship often with people. So the church perhaps needs to think about how are they discipling people in the 21st Century in some new ways.

Damien Hine: Don't write off young adults. They can be hard to reach, we can be a bit annoying sometimes, we do have questions, we do have doubts, but don't write us off. Listen to us, engage with us, invest in us, because we have a lot to give.

Comments

Sheffield? Tim Chester and the Crowded House? Mission church as an organic part of what you call the 'inherited church'?

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