Training: Looking to the Future

This was a session I led recently with our Kirk Session and Board as part of a retreat we had. We also invited some of our young people to take part in the discussion as well. I hope you find it as useful as our leadership team did.

Formula 1 Story – Glasgow Boys Join Ferrari

f1 pit team glasgow story

The Ferrari F1 team fired their entire pit crew yesterday. The announcement followed Ferrari’s decision to take advantage of the UK government’s ‘Work for your Dole’ scheme and employ some Glasgow youngsters. The decision to hire them was brought about by a recent documentary on how unemployed youths from Castlemilk were able to remove a set of wheels in less than 6 seconds without proper equipment, whereas Ferrari’s existing crew could only do it in 8 seconds with millions of pounds worth of high tech equipment. It was considered to be an excellent, bold move by the Ferrari management team as most races are won and lost in the pits, giving Ferrari an advantage over every other team. However, Ferrari got more than they bargained for! At the crew’s first practice session, not only was the Glasgow pit crew able to change all four wheels in under 6 seconds but, within 12 seconds, they had re-sprayed, re-badged and sold the car to the Maclaren team for eight cases of Stella and a collection of knocked off mobile phones.

Formula 1 Video

I don’t know if any of you have ever watched Formula 1 or car racing…like our story mentioned a race can be won or lost in the Pit Stops. The racing cars are finely tuned machines and when they weather changes the key to success is getting the car back to the garage and changing the set-up of the car as quickly as possible. But what if a car stays out on the track with wrong tyres on? Well this would happen…

It loses grip and loses pace. Before the race even starts each of the teams will work out a strategy for all eventualities. If this happens then we will… This is what I want us to think about this morning – how do we  prepare for the next few years. Our planning now can help us when changes out with our control take place and we can be ready to make the transitions necessary to stay in the race. We can determine what our future holds, the type of congregation we want to be and the types of work we are involved in locally.

Fantasy Holiday

Share with a partner or small group:

  • where you’d like to go
  • some of the things you’d like to do there
  • who you’d be with
  • why it’s your dream holiday

Listen for key words – e.g. family, rest, relaxation, busyness, adventure – and write them down on post-it notes. Is it possible that these key words are the very same things we’re looking from church? It also helps us appreciate that we each come with different needs and expectations.

Sticky Faith – 8 Suggestions

Fuller Youth Institute in the States conducted some research looking at why young people seemed to lose their faith as they transitioned from youth groups into adult life. Over the 6 years of their study they discovered some of the key missing elements from church’s work with children and young people.

  1. Rituals/Rights of Passage – for example how do we mark a child’s transition from primary to secondary school
  2. Times for Reflection
  3. Adult Relationships – this was crucial. Important to have a group of adults interested in their life and what they were doing.
  4. Participation – children and young people having a direct say in the decisions that affect them.
  5. Justice and Service opportunities – young people have a a strong interested in issues like Fairtrade, the environment, and church life should give them opportunities to explore these.
  6. Families sharing stories of faith – this was the most crucial factor.
  7. Community
  8. Deep Conversation – particularly for young people in searching stage of faith; when they are asking big questions about themselves and the world.
  9. Retreat experiences

This is an opportunity for wider discussion amongst your group of volunteers/leadership team. Is there any surprises in the list? Our group were curious about the first suggestion about rituals. They had thought our children and young people had been bored by these things and in the past they had sought to remove these to stop young people being bored.

Back to the Future – What Did They Get Right

I’m sure you all remember the film Back to the Future. It was a classic 80s film and if you flick through tv listings you can find it being repeated on ITV2 most days. On 21 October 2015 we will finally be at the point in time to which Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) travels in Back to the Future II, the 1989 sequel to the time-travelling classic.

The future he finds is one which has captured the imagination of millions – and one which has proved remarkably prophetic. Save for a few key oversights (the internet, mobile phones) and a couple of over-hopeful punts in the dark (flying cars), the world dreamt up by writer Bob Gale and then brought to the screen resembles our own in strange and uncanny ways

  • The film correctly anticipates an increased use of robot technology: petrol stations these days are pretty much computerised and the prevalence of non-military drones that are becoming increasingly popular, check them at the site.
  • The scanning of eyes and fingerprints is used in the film to check people’s identities, just as it is today.
  • Almost everyone in the film at some point dons a pair of high-tech specs with remarkably Google Glass-style capabilities, such as cameras, magnification and access to some sort of unspecified database of information. They also have Bluetooth-anticipating headsets.
  • Marty McFly of 2015 video-calling with a colleague – much like Skype or FaceTime
  • The film’s predicts 3D films with Jaws 19 in 3D

So like the writer of Back to the Future we are going to be doing a bit of our own time travelling this morning.

Time Travelling 1965

If we were to go back to 1965 what would be the experience of children and young people be in our congregation? Discuss in groups and feedback together.

  • In worship?
  • Language/style/structure?
  • Groups/activities offered?
  • Where did they meet?
  • Challenges locally?

2015 Discuss in groups and feedback together.

  • What are some of the things that keep you going to the groups you go to?
  • What are some of the challenges that young people face?
  • Where do young people spend their time? How easily do they move around the city?

2020 So if we were to travel forward to 2020 what would we find? Discuss in groups and feedback together.

  • Who are the leaders?
  • What do we have to offer to children and young people?
  • What will the average age of the congregation be?
  • What will be our connection with local schools?
  • What are other churches/agencies doing – will there be room for partnerships?
  • Do we continue to do lots of different things or do we focus on one particular area?

Ideas Factory So in the time that’s left, let’s begin to piece some of our different discussions together. Those key words and phrases from our dream holidays The 8 suggestions from Fuller Youth Institute And our time travelling exercise What practical things could we begin to put in place to make our work with children and young people a real priority as we approach 2020?

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