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A Youth Work Sabbatical on the Blog

11285432175_6e540a3ddd_oSome of you have noticed that I disappeared for a while. I haven’t had a terrible accident, I’m not training to be a ninja and I’ve not discovered the joys of being a hermit.

I have been taking a blogging sabbatical.

This might just be a clever sounding way of saying ‘I’ve not been online for a wee bit,’ but it has been a healthy, albeit spontaneous online choice.

Why?

 

I’ve been blogging for about 10 years in various forms, but it was only in the last two that it started to make any traction. I was getting hits, subscribers and discussions going on social media, as well as having posts feature on bigger blogs around the world.

With all that extra attention came an unease with the shape and direction of my heart.

Time off from this allowed me to take perspective on who’s glory, who’s wisdom and who’s heart needs to be most clearly seen online.

Jesus tells Peter in Matthew 16:18 that HE will build His church. He would use Peter and even build on Peter, but Jesus is the master builder – not Peter.

I needed to make sure that my vision for the blog was to build his kingdom and not my empire.

I believe that coming back into my blog now – with the time behind me to take on that inventory – will allow Him to send me the readers that He wants whoever and how many that might be.

What Did I Do While ‘AFK’?

 

I didn’t really do anything different to what I normally would do. I carried on in my youth work job, developing my charity, training the team, ministering to and disciplining young people and seeking God generally.

I spent time with my wife, I ate good food, I went to events, spoke a at a few and I moved house. I also had three months of counseling – but that’s for another post!

What I didn’t do however was contribute to online discussion on matters of theology or youth ministry. I stayed off my blog. I occasionally came on to clear the spam and respond to messages, but that’s it.

How Did It Feel?

 

There were times when I was freaked out. The lack of spam filter meant that I became a coat rack for every single knock off Oakley’s glasses, Ugg boots and Justin Bieber supported product.

There were times reading other blogs and wanting to comment, wanting to add my own thoughts to the discussion. There were big things happening in the Christian world and the UK election but I was gagging to share on.

However generally it was an absolute head reboot. My thinking cleared, my time grew, and my space became a little bit more compartmentalised in the right ways. I was able to bring myself before God and take stock on who my identity is and how that matches up with my online identity.

That has been priceless.

So what now?

 

Well I’m back! I’m going to blog and write articles and continue where I left off. I might not publish three-five times a week (which was my pattern), but I will shoot for at least two. I will pray over every post I write, and seek God’s Holy Spirit to speak though me and to me in my approach the online arena. A few ideologies I will try to develop are:

– Writing more theologically, which is where my background, training and experience lies.
– Creating more resources that free and downloadable.
– Seeking more guest bloggers to write and be interviewed to broaden the net of experience and keep the conversation going.
– Transcribing training seminars and events that I’ve given over the last ten years to be in post format.

– Seeking more topics that encourage inclusivity, unity and networking.

What I’d like from you

 

Please keep me accountable! I want my heart to be God’s heart and build his kingdom rather than my empire. Please comment on posts, send messages, suggest topics and ask to be a guest blogger. I’d love for this blog experience to become less about me more about people with a heart for young people.

Thanks for taking the ride with me!

Tim

Youth Ministry Answers Launch Today!

In the spirit of shoutouts and sharing epic resources with the Youthwork World I present to you:

ANSWERS-from-SYCUYouth Ministry Answers, a new blog and podcast by US husband and wife double team Elle and Kenny Campbell – the force behind ‘Stuff You Can Use.’ (Find the podcast on itunes here.)

You can find more info here… or simply watch the video below:

 

 

3 Good Reasons To Start A Youth Work Blog

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Blogs are epic! They’re an online part mini journal, part magazine, part social network that allows you room in a wide, like-minded community. Even pants writers (like me) get to play!

There are a few things that would simply revolutionize youth ministry in the UK. I think one of those things is make every youth worker a youth work blogger. So here’s three good reasons to do it, join the conversation and become a youth work blogger:

1. It Counters Isolation
I think the worst thing about being a Youth Worker is just how lonely a job it can be and how easy it is to isolate yourself. Blogging connects you up with other youth leaders at a personal, practical and spiritual level.

2. It Opens Up A Huge Ideas Library
The internet was first designed to help researchers share scientific data – and so it is with youth work blogs. Got a good idea or need some inspiration? Get into the blog sphere, start sharing, get commenting and start bumping up your repertoire.

3. It Connects The Movement
Christian Youth Work in the UK is a mission that’s looking increasingly desperate. We need to identify with each other, pool our resources and be part of the charge together. Blogs build identity with a larger group. We need to connect up and take the Young People of the UK for Jesus together. These movements always begin with communication – blogs are a thorough, open and consistent way to do this.

So get blogging, get connected with twitter, start hash-tagging, start following, commenting and producing. Let’s get talking – not to build mini blog-empires, but to do community together!

Blog Shoutouts!

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Nine years of blogging, and the 100th post on this ‘new’ blog! Exciting times. 🙂

I’m celebrating by buying a new domain name (www.puddlelump.com), updating a few bits n’ pieces, and giving a shoutout to some amazing and edifying blogs that I read.

These all encourage my life and my work – hopefully they will encourage yours too!

Ultracrepidarian – My Wife, Katie Gough’s, blog full of poetry, philosophy, essays, and high quality writing

A New Name – A friend from Bible College, Emma Scrivener, who writes powerful and emotive thoughts on identity and theology in light of our messy human lives.

Adrian on Patheos – Adrian Warnock’s blog is full of great evangelical theology, interviews and discussions. A veteran blogger and very helpful thinker.

Martin Saunders – Great practical thoughts on the Youth Work world from the former editor of Youthwork Magazine. Very current and very helpful.

Chris Kidd – A helpful blog approaching Youth Work from a theological and practical perspective.

Dave Walker Cartoons – Just a fun and satirical collection of hand-drawn Church cartoons and comics

Youthwork Magazine – Good blog that has a mix of practical ideas for youth leaders and teachable teenager-safe posts on living as a Christian

Desiring God – Great thoughts from John Piper & Co. on life, ministry, the universe, and everything.

Ministry Nuts and Bolts – A lecturer from my Bible College, Chris Green’s insightful and gospel focused thoughts on Christian ministry and theology.

Jonny Baker – A fun blog exploring art, worship, faith, and ministry.

Lounge – A Scottish Scripture Union CU blog on youth work, faith, theology, and schools based ministry. Great stuff.

Enjoying God – Sam Storms, a great evangelical and charismatic pastor-theologian giving brilliant insights into theology Church history and ministry.

Cross Means Yes – Powerful blog from Jessica Buntin-Smith, my best man’s wife. Blogging on family life, pregnancy and working through Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in light of the Gospel.