Youths, parish leaders and families invited to participate
You may have received an email or heard about the Hear Our Youths’ Voice surveys the YIG team has released. YIG is the Youth & Intergenerational diocesan ministry team.
If so, we hope that you take 15 minutes to fill them out. The YIG team is encouraging clergy, parishes, leaders, parents and grandparents and youth from middle school to university to fill out the surveys and provide the team with some important data that will help us understand the current situation regarding youth and family ministry in our diocese.
What we hope to gather with these results is a grassroots look at where Anglican youth, families and parishes in the Diocese of Fredericton stand spiritually and how youth ministry is viewed.
As many of us are aware, youth are not flocking to our churches; there seems to be some sort of divergence, and although we are unaware of exactly what do to, an important first step is simply asking them — what works, what doesn’t.
These surveys will hopefully give us a foundation to begin further work in youth ministry for the diocese.
The idea of these surveys came from a combination of events and influences. A group attended the Canadian Youth Worker Conference (CYWC) in Moncton last fall and its keynote speaker, youth ministry specialist Marv Penner, revealed stats from a survey he was conducting on Deconstructing an Exemplary Adolescent Disciple.
Prior to the conference, Marv sent out an email to youth leaders from across Canada to survey their top youth from their churches/youth groups. A few youth from the diocese took part in this survey.
The survey tapped into the top five per cent of youth disciples across the country, and asked various questions on family factors, attitudes about church, personal spiritual practices, challenges, advice to leaders and spiritual influences.
The group that attended thought there was great merit to the survey, but felt it was skewed to the youth who attended church/group on a weekly basis and have a strong faith background.
We were interested in the seeing the whole spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives, and ideas began to adapt this for our diocese. The majority of the questions on the surveys were based on Marv’s questions.
Another influence for the surveys is the Bishop’s Charge from the last Diocesan Synod. The YIG team felt encouraged and supportive of the Bishop’s plan to begin breaking down church barriers and getting more into the community.
Last year fall YIG conference focused on youth, family and community and tied into the Bishop’s charge. The team also wanted an update on the 2016 Archdeaconry Coffeehouse Conversations and felt that an understanding of what is currently happening through a youth ministry perspective would be beneficial.
With the assistance of Rev. Dan McMullen and Rob Montgomery, we began creating the questions and surveys for the diocese. The result was three separate surveys.
The first one is Hear Our Youths’ Voices – Parish. We are asking clergy and youth leaders to provide us with overview of what is happening in their church/parish. Also for the clergy we are asking for their definition of Anglican Identity.
The second survey is for families and we are asking guardians, parents, grandparents or other family members to provide some information on their own and their family’s spiritual practices and their thoughts and opinions of youth ministry in their present context.
And the last survey is for youth ages 12-25 — again to provide some information on their own, their family’s spiritual practices and their thoughts and opinions of youth ministry.
After everyone fills out the survey, which shouldn’t take any longer than 15 minutes, there will be instructions on how to enter a series of draws. The parish and family participants can each win a week at Camp Medley; the youth can enter for one of three $50 Cineplex gift cards.
Also note that completing the surveys does NOT automatically enter you into the draw. Participants need to follow the instructions to be entered.
The surveys will be available until Saturday, June 23 and the draw will be on Sunday, June 24 during Diocesan Family Camp.
After the surveys are completed, the YIG team will take the summer to process the findings and a report and workshop will take place at the next Diocesan Youth Ministry Conference Sept. 29 at St. Paul’s in Rothesay.
We are encouraging anyone and everyone who filled out a survey to attend the conference. More details on the conference will come.
If you have any questions or suggestions for the YIG team please contact
< yigfton at gmail.com > .
Jason Smith is the chair of YIG. He worships at The Rez in the Parish of the Nerepis and St. John.