Church at Home recourses from Grow Ministries

Grow Ministries have produced a range of Church at Home resources to help churches engage with their communities online during the Covid-19 season. This includes articles, service packs and…

Grow Ministries have produced a range of Church at Home resources to help churches engage with their communities online during the Covid-19 season.

This includes articles, service packs and a Covid-19 support pack for churches.

To access these and find out more, click here: https://www.growministries.org.au/grow-resources/church-at-home-resources/

Posted: 4/06/2020

How to talk to teens about George Floyd.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly…

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8

This week the world has again witnessed injustice and cries out for restoration.

Many of us will have experienced a visceral response to the events broadcast on our screens and devices over this past week. I feel; grief, anger, disappointment, guilt, hope, anxiety, and remorse as I try to comprehend what I have seen and heard and determine how I should respond.

You may be wrestling with similar concerns. I know many young people are.

So how do we help teenagers make sense of George Floyd’s death and the unravelling events of the past week?

We create opportunities for young people to express and talk about their thoughts and feelings in the safety of relationship. Teens look to trusted adults for guidance on how to respond in traumatic moments such as these.

The expectation is not to have all of the answers (I am well aware that I don’t), and it’s not to be a professional helper. You just need to care enough to listen and to ask them some questions. Be willing to have a conversation.

Here are some guiding principles to help you talk to your teens about George Floyd.

Make time and do not rush. Time = Value. As a parent or caring adult, we demonstrate the value of our teens by the time we give to them. Difficult topics of conversation require extra time to allow each person the opportunity to understand and be understood.

Acknowledge and normalise feelings/responses. Teens are forming their identity; they are looking to trusted adults, and peers to gauge what is “normal” and where they belong. Creating a non-judgmental space for teens to express themselves reinforces their sense of belonging and identity.

Be honest. It is okay not to have all the answers, and to process your experiences. The best way for teens to learn this is to have it modelled by those closest to them. Teens need to see and hear you do the journey. Note: you may need to measure your level of disclosure depending on your teen’s mental/emotional capacity.

Encourage empathy and compassion. Identifying with another and seeking to understand their perspective helps us build relationship and work more effectively with others. Compassion (acting from empathy) is a powerful tool in addressing trauma and injustice.

Draw focus from concern to areas of influence. There is a lot in the world to cause worry and some of it is outside our control. The good news is, Our teens often have a very strong sense of justice and they have an extraordinary amount to offer to the world. Actively engaging our young people with people and projects who are currently bringing hope, will in turn bring them hope. Maybe you could join them in making a difference by getting involved in a local project? Organisations such as World Vision, TEAR and ZOE are just some of many which have youth focused campaigns that may be of interest.

If you are unsure how to start or have a helpful conversation with your teen here is a question roadmap. Feel free to reword questions to suit your personal style.

  1. What have you seen/heard/felt/experienced? (Break these down into separate questions.)
  2. Of your answers to the above questions, what has affected/impacted you the most?
  3. What might you think/feel if you were in …’s (insert different roles, e.g. police, protestor, witness, victim) shoes?
  4. What could we/others assume about the situation/people involved? Are those assumptions correct? How do we know?
  5. What do you think this all means?
  6. How does that (refer to Q5) apply to your life/work/school/community?
  7. Now what can/will you do?
  8. How can I help you?

It is important that we all have an opportunity to process what we experience and find a way to make that experience mean something. My hope for this moment is that we remember what is required of us as sons and daughters of God – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

 

About the author…

Tess is a former school chaplain and youth pastor with 15 years of experience in youth work. She now serves as SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team Leader, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. She holds a bachelor of communications and diploma of youth work.

Posted: 3/06/2020

NUA Vlogs are answering some of the biggest questions teenagers have about Christianity! With vlogs!

Scripture Union Ireland have launched a new web series called Nua! It focuses on some of the big questions in life, which are explored through episodic vlogs. Some of…

Scripture Union Ireland have launched a new web series called Nua! It focuses on some of the big questions in life, which are explored through episodic vlogs.

Some of the questions they talk about include…

  1. How did we get here? The origins of human life
  2. Is Jesus a factual or fictional character?
  3. Investigating alternative theories for Jesus’ empty tomb

These videos are great for teenagers – we loved watching them!

To find out more info and watch the Nua film series, click here: https://nuafilmseries.org/episode-guide

Posted: 2/06/2020

How my personal experience drove my love of camps

People often ask me why I love camping so much. Camps are super fun, they create amazing memories and allow people to build incredible friendships. Going deeper, at the…

People often ask me why I love camping so much.

Camps are super fun, they create amazing memories and allow people to build incredible friendships.

Going deeper, at the centre of every camping journey is your personal experience – and my experiences with camps growing up inspired a love for them as an adult.

I remember going on my first Beach Mission as an assistant leader when I was 15. We started each day with worship and a devotion together before going to the beach to show God’s love through various community programs. Spending this week with a strong Christian community of leaders showed me what it is to be a Christian.

After that camp, I became more engaged with church and started reading my bible to keep growing. It was my experience on SU Beach Missions as a teen that led me on a lifelong journey of faith. This is why I’m so passionate about camps.

Camps give young people the opportunity to get a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. Camps are not an everyday experience.

Research from McCrindle and The Christian Venues Association shows Christian camps have significant positive impacts on faith formation*.

As camp leaders and church congregations, it’s important for us to understand the flow of a camp – there are three main stages…

1. The lead-up
As campers get ready to go on camp, they can go through many emotions – ranging from excitement to anxiety. It’s important that parents and camp leaders are aware of these emotions – and able to set realistic expectations for the child so that they are not caught off guard when they arrive on camp.

2. Not an ‘everyday’ experience
Camps can start off relatively similar to the ‘everyday’ we know, but when they get rolling and the camp’s community starts to grow, many campers experience God’s love – something they might not feel in the everyday.

3. Heading back to the ‘everyday’
When camp is over, leaders, parents and churches can support their young people by helping to welcome them back into the ‘everyday’. Life after camp can be a bit dull – so youth groups and social activities are a great way of helping young campers transition back.

Overall, the sense of community that develops over the course of a camp, and the time spent learning and growing in faith is transformational. My experience on Beach Missions at age 15 changed the course of my life, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

Due to COVID-19, our normal SU Camps were not able to run in the Easter Holidays. For the Winter Camps Season we have moved to an online model – which we are so excited about!

We believe that having online camps will create an online community that will allow our kids to still have a peak experience – you can find out more at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sucamps/

*https://www.christianvenues.org.au/impact/

 

About the author…

Jane has been involved with SU Camps and Community Outreaches for 15 years. She has experience as working as a chaplain and has a background in nursing. Jane currently works as the Camp Specialist for SU QLD, overseeing the camps and missions across Queensland.

Posted: 28/05/2020

Enage Daily Bible Reading App for teens

Scripture Union New Zealand have released Engage App – a new way to get into daily bible reading! New audio Bible readings, along with discussion questions you can follow…

Scripture Union New Zealand have released Engage App – a new way to get into daily bible reading!

New audio Bible readings, along with discussion questions you can follow with on-screen, are released every day. A young Kiwi reads the scripture to you, and at the end of each reading they ask you a few thoughtful questions and they finish with a prayer. You can listen as a group or by yourself, and can link to a Facebook page to share your thoughts about the questions. Click here to view the Engage App Facebook Page

The app is available on all mobile platforms – to get it click here: https://www.sunz.org.nz/youth/engage-app/

Posted: 27/05/2020

Young and Free? Helping our younger generation with their covid concerns

Last week, the ABC aired an episode of Q+A entitled ‘Young and Free?’, focusing on concerns that young Australians have about life after COVID-19. Guest panelists wrestled with questions…

Last week, the ABC aired an episode of Q+A entitled ‘Young and Free?’, focusing on concerns that young Australians have about life after COVID-19.

Guest panelists wrestled with questions directly from young people about education, employment, the environment, isolation, and mental health.

Strong concerns were expressed about what the coming weeks, months and years might hold for them. One young person, looking right at the camera, asked, “What are we supposed to do next, like literally, next…?”

It’s such a strange and worrying time for our young people.

I watched and wondered what the answers to such complex problems could be and where such solutions might come from? Panelists offered up various options and likely sources for solutions – governments, businesses, local communities. All reasonable suggestions given the concerns.

I thought to myself, “What hope do these young people have? Where are they going to get their help?”

Then another question popped into my head – one from the Bible…

“I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

The danger of a verse like this is that it can be read in a glib way, citing “God” as the one-size-fits-all answer to life’s many complex and serious questions. “Where will our jobs come from?” God. “Can we make our economy environmentally sustainable?” God. “What can I do about my crippling anxiety?” God.

I don’t want to treat young people’s concerns or take God’s name in vain in such a flippant way.

But, the beauty of a verse like this is the deep truth that lies within it. The kind of truth that doesn’t necessarily solve life’s complex and serious problems, but offers a way of moving and being in the world while we live through them.

Australian young people are not highly religious beings. Many who grow up in Christian contexts drift out of those in their teenage years and move on to attempts at stitching together a way of moving and being in the world they hope might get them through. These are strange and worrying times. They’d be wanting something pretty robust to meet the challenge, but I fear it’s an impossible task.

There isn’t a lot of research out there about what helps Australian young people discover that God, the maker of heaven and earth, might be where their help could come from. What we do know is that strong families, good friends and a connected church community are good influences in this space.*

So, as families let’s pray for our governments, businesses and local communities and encourage them as they seek solutions to the problems that trouble our young people.

Let’s play a role in helping to build a more hopeful world.

Let’s be there with our young people as they ask their questions and wrestle with their concerns. Let’s listen, encourage, understand and offer small daily supports.

In these ways, we can at least encourage them to lift their eyes to see where their help might come from.

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

 

 

*Hughes, P. & Reid, S. (2019). How Australian Young People Understand and Experience God and influences on their Thinking: A Review of Secondary Research and Literature Study. Converge Oceania.

Posted: 21/05/2020

Kids’ Talks with Colin Buchanan

Compassion Australia have partnered with Colin Buchanan to produce Kids’ Talks – a new video series featuring short talks, Bible readings, prayers and of course, music! Click here to…

Compassion Australia have partnered with Colin Buchanan to produce Kids’ Talks – a new video series featuring short talks, Bible readings, prayers and of course, music!

Click here to access these great songs and materials! https://bit.ly/2zgaYNr

Posted: 20/05/2020

FACT SHEET: Managing your Mental Health during Covid-19

COVID-19 has brought rapid changes to our daily life, together with uncertainty and dramatic news headlines. Some people may be feeling worried or depressed at the moment, especially if…

COVID-19 has brought rapid changes to our daily life, together with uncertainty and dramatic news headlines.

Some people may be feeling worried or depressed at the moment, especially if they already have some mental health problems.

There are many services that can help without the need to leave home. During this crisis, Australians can use Medicare to talk to health practitioners about mental health.

There are also other ways to get help on a phone, computer or tablet.

The guys at eMHprac have produced a fantastic fact sheet to collate some of the places you or someone you know can get support in the mental health space.

Click here to download the FREE FACT SHEET: https://www.emhprac.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-19-Factsheet-1.pdf

Posted: 11/05/2020

God’s word for times like these: Day 10

We’ve reached final day day of Scripture Union International’s daily devotional series “God’s word for times like these” We hope you’ve enjoyed these devotionals as much as we have…

We’ve reached final day day of Scripture Union International’s daily devotional series “God’s word for times like these”

We hope you’ve enjoyed these devotionals as much as we have 🙂

1 Peter 5:10, Revelation 21:3-7

One day we will wake up to a different reality: no lockdown, no isolation, no social distancing and no masks. We hope that these simple things that bring us joy and happiness will be back in our lives again. We are praying that God will help us to overcome and, as Peter says, after we have suffered a little while, we will see how God will restore us and makes us strong, firm and steadfast. One day we will wake up to a completely new reality: no lockdown because of sin, no isolation from God, no distancing from each other, no masks. God says that he will move so close that he will wipe every tear from our eyes. Moreover, everything that used to cause tears will disappear. He will give us the water of life to drink without cost. He will renew and restore us as his children to live with him forever in the reality of his glory.

Click here to read the final devotional ‘One Day!’ online: https://scriptureunion.global/covid-19/bible-engagement/day-10/

Click here to download a pdf version: https://scriptureunion.global/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Gods-Word-Day-10-EN.pdf

Posted: 6/05/2020

God’s word for times like these – Day 9

We’ve reached the second last day of Scripture Union International’s daily devotional series “God’s word for times like these” Philippians 4:4-9 Fear has the power to paralyse us and…

We’ve reached the second last day of Scripture Union International’s daily devotional series “God’s word for times like these”

Philippians 4:4-9

Fear has the power to paralyse us and send us cowering in dark places. Paul reminds us that the best weapon against fear is prayer, as prayer leads us to God. We serve a God who is all knowing and merciful, who will never turn a blind eye to our every day challenges. He is the God who understands our greatest fear and sent his divine Holy Spirit to comfort us. What are your fears as you gaze into the next few days? When we pray, God transforms our fears, making them insignificant as he enlarges our view of him. May you and I find great comfort in the words of Jesus when he said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34). Earlier on in this passage, He had asked a soul-searching question, “Can any one of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?” (vs 27). When you and I choose not to worry, we are demonstrating our faith in God Almighty!

Click here to read the ninth devotional ‘Don’t Worry!’ online: https://scriptureunion.global/covid-19/bible-engagement/day-9/

Click here to download a pdf version: https://scriptureunion.global/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Day-9-EN.pdf

Posted: 5/05/2020

What is Family Space?

Family Space is a resource-based website that’s all about nurturing the family unit.

Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

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