It’s the most wonderful time of the year… ish.

Hi folks. It’s great to be back! And a massively Merry Christmas to everyone.

It’s been a fabulous Christmas season here in North Wales working with the most amazing young people, and an incredible team. We’ve had Christingles with chips, movies with muppets, and even hobbit-starwars mashup nativities! (Really… but don’t tell New Line or Disney… shhh…)

To be honest though, this has also been the most difficult Christmas season that I can remember.

After a week of deadlines (book manuscript, postgrad essay, and magazine column), my brain effectively stopped working. I couldn’t read, write or even speak properly, and I was having flash headaches when looking at screens. This was then followed by a week of about nine different seasonal events and school assemblies. My cool exterior was starting to show cracks from the emotional underbelly that I usually keep comfortably hidden under a tonne of peat.

However, with the help of an indescribable God, an unbelievable wife, fabulous friends, and a servant-hearted team, I seem to be back on the mend.

It’s been a weird experience though. My brain has always been the muscle that I can trust when everything else stops working. Not being able to string a sentence together while navigating continual brain-fog was a totally new experience for me. I went through a few days of carnal fear. There was one point where I was afraid that I may have done some very real cognitive damage. It was horrible!

So what have I learned? Well, it’s too soon to tell really, but here’s a few things that have drifted to the surface…

– Humans really do have limits! That stinks.
– The brain can get hurt too. Look after it.
– Good people are worth many times their weight in gold. Treasure them.
– Taking time out to do nothing actually needs you to do nothing. So do nothing.
– You don’t always need to justify a reason to grieve in order to feel grief. Let yourself grieve uncritically.
– Proper food makes a difference to everything. Eat right.
– As does sleep. So sleep!
– God doesn’t want your quality, or your ability – He’s got plenty of that already; He just wants you. Be His.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Ding Dong the Book is In

So, you may have wondered where youthworkhacks sneaked off to over the last week or so, and why you’ve not heard anything new about the quirky world of youth ministry.

Well I’ve (Tim) been writing a book, and it was due to the publishers yesterday! Mission accomplished, I sent it on time.

‘So whats the book about Tim?’

I’m glad you asked. 😛

The book is currently called ‘Rebooted’ and its all about taking youth ministry back to the factory settings found in the Bible.

Have you ever thought about youth work in the Bible? Was it a practice, was it a real thing – or did we just make it up it like we ‘invented’ adolescence and the Macarena?

I think that if you look through the pages of the Bible, however, you will be pleasantly surprised! You’ll find specific young people’s work, youth workers, mentoring programs, teenage-specific object lessons, and even Nerf wars! O.k. I may have made that last one up, but I still believe that you can find a pattern of youth ministry in the Bible.

This is that book. It goes through the whole Bible piece by piece and brings out eight essential principles for Bible-driven youth ministry. I call these principles supracultural – which is a really posh and snobby way of saying that they should always work, regardless of the time or culture or language you find yourself in. They’re foundational, so should always be important, whatever shape your youth ministry takes.

It now goes through – what I imagine will be – a grueling editing process. I’m preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best! So please be praying for my heart, mind, faith, and dignity to still be intact by the end of it. Thank you!

Over this next week I’ll be writing a paper on the theology behind incarnational youth ministry – so I may still be a wee bit elluisve. However, fear not! Once that’s handed in, I’m all yours! (Well, I’m Gods, my wife’s, my ministry’s … and then yours – but I fit a lot in to my weeks!).

See you soon!

t.