Stories

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    Parents granted judicial review of sex education rollout

    2022-06-30T12:01:00+01:00

    A group of parents in Wales are taking the Welsh government to court over concerns that the new mandatory Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) lessons will be “sexualising children”.

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    Justin Bieber says he trusts God through illness

    2022-06-30T12:01:00+01:00

    Justin Bieber has told fans he has “full paralysis” on one side of his face, after a virus attacked the nerves in his ear.

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    Introducing Paraklesis

    2022-06-30T12:00:00+01:00By , Ali Campbell is a youth and children’s ministry consultant and the lead developer for Paraklesis.

    In 2019 I carried out a survey on behalf of the Bishop of Leicester in to the terms and conditions of salaried children’s, youth and families ministers across the UK. Over 630 took part to share their reflections and experiences.

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    Ofsted “deliberately finding ways to fail Christian schools”

    2022-06-30T12:00:00+01:00

    A school in Wednesbury has failed seven Ofsted inspections and are reportedly attempting to oust the regulator. Some faith schools feel they are being unfairly targeted by inspectors who may come with a bias against Christians.

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    Church should open doors wider

    2022-06-30T11:59:00+01:00

    New data suggests university students are more likely to feel lonely than the general population

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    Ban on cosmetic surgery ads “step in the right direction”

    2022-06-30T09:07:00+01:00

    Advertisements for cosmetic surgeries have been banned from targeting under-18s.

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    A tale of two cities

    2022-06-30T09:06:00+01:00By Ian Spence, Frontier Youth Trust’s west of England activist, and Dave Joyce, Director of Bath YFC

    Have we minimised the ‘go into all the world’ command, to ‘go into my safe neighbourhood’? Ian Spence, Frontier Youth Trust’s west of England activist, and Dave Joyce, Director of Bath YFC, are taking Jesus at his word.

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    I ran away from home. How God came to the rescue.

    2022-06-06T11:06:00+01:00By , a former youth worker who is involved with her husband at Freedom Church in Worcester

    What happened when a 13-year-old girl left home? 

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    Gemma Hunt on how God led her into TV

    2022-05-31T10:02:00+01:00By , Cbeebies presenter and co-presenter Alpha

    Sometimes God’s direction of our young people is very clear.

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    Q & A: Ishmael

    2019-12-10T00:00:00+00:00By

    Ishmael has spent the last 50 years writing more than 400 songs and sharing the good news of Jesus with children.  He’s authored eleven books and is now a deacon at Chichester Cathedral. Editor Ruth Jackson spoke to him about prioritising children, all-age services and clinging to God through suffering. 

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    Q&A: Francine Rivers

    2019-10-22T00:00:00+01:00By

    Francine Rivers is a multi-award-winning author. She spoke to Ruth Jackson about coming back to church through the influence of a child, the art of storytelling and how to cover difficult topics with young people 

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    ‘Jesus helps us rescue trafficked children’

    2019-09-19T00:00:00+01:00

    When I was 8 I didn’t know God. I remember watching a broadcast from Feed the Children and it had these kids from Ethiopia. Their stomachs were protruded, flies were landing on their faces and their bones were sticking out of their chests. I remember them saying: “This Christmas these ...

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    Q&A: Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi

    2019-08-21T00:00:00+01:00By

    Ruth Jackson: What was your experience of God as a child?Ore Ogunbiyi: As a young kid living in England I had lots of little Christian books from my auntie and grandma. My mum would take us to a church down the road. But when I moved to Nigeria, I went ...

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    I confused middle-class culture for Christianity

    2019-06-24T00:00:00+01:00

    Natalie Williams on growing up poor - and finding the church. 

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    Learner Turner: Church body-building

    2019-06-24T00:00:00+01:00

    I firmly believe that we should become like Israeli body-builders. Let me explain…

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    ‘I teach young people to manage money because I was in debt’

    2019-02-20T00:00:00+00:00

    In the space of 18 months my father passed away, my mother moved in with us, my husband downsized his job, I was made redundant and became pregnant with our first child. Our finances soon spiralled out of control. I had 17 creditors who would call me up five or ...

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    Q&A: Ben Woodman

    2019-02-15T00:00:00+00:00By

    Ben Woodman was a youth pastor in Canada for ten years before joining the Alpha Youth team. He is one of the hosts for the Alpha Youth Series and heads up Alpha Youth globally. Ben spoke with editor Ruth Jackson about young people and evangelism

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    Q&A: David Bennett

    2019-01-21T00:00:00+00:00By

    As a teenager David Bennett was a gay rights activist. At 19 he encountered the Holy Spirit in a gay bar. David spoke to editor Ruth Jackson about how the Church can support gay young people

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    From slum to youth advocate

    2018-11-22T00:00:00+00:00

    I was raised in a slum called Kawangware in Nairobi, Kenya. My father abandoned us, so my mother brought us up as a single mum. My twin brother died of malnutrition as a baby, so it was my two sisters and me. I survived but I could not walk for ...

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    Q&A: Les Isaac

    2018-11-21T00:00:00+00:00By

    Rev Les Isaac OBE founded Ascension Trust 25 years ago, expanding from schools’ work into Street Pastors and numerous other initiatives. Deputy editor Emily Howarth, spoke to him about what he has learned over the years 

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    ‘I help young people remember’

    2018-10-18T00:00:00+01:00

    Working with young people was always going to be a big part of my life. My first job was during the summer holidays with YMCA Daycamps when I was in sixth form. I then spent three amazing years as a youth worker in Hong Kong.

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    Q&A: Hannah Bourazza

    2018-10-16T00:00:00+01:00By

    Hannah Bourazza is chief safeguarding officer at youth charity XLP and heads up their mentoring project. She tragically lost her son Nathaniel to knife crime six years ago. Hannah shared of some her story with editor Ruth Jackson.

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    My son’s school struggles reminded me how much God loves him

    2018-10-03T00:00:00+01:00By

    Claire Musters shares how a difficult situation with her son’s schooling has reminded her that God cares deeply for our children

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    Real Life: I’m a bipolar youth worker

    2018-09-17T00:00:00+01:00By Helen Cutteridge is the emotional wellbeing lead at Youthscape. She lives in Luton with her husband Jamie and an empty fish tank, as they are yet to find a new fish in need of a home.

    When I was 12 a family member and I had an argument in the car. I don’t remember what it was about, but I do remember how it made me feel: worthless, a failure, rejected. That was the first time I remember feeling like this. It was also the first time I self-harmed.

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    Q&A: Guvna B

    2018-09-17T00:00:00+01:00By

    Multi-award-winning rap artist Guvna B released an album earlier this year that speaks honestly about his grief following his father’s death. Editor Ruth Jackson spoke to Guvna about faith, vulnerability and hope 

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    Real life: I came to church because my youth worker gave me a guitar

    2018-08-23T00:00:00+01:00

    I didn’t grow up in church. None of my family are Christians…yet. My only experience of Christianity was visiting a Catholic church every now and then, but I didn’t have a relationship with God or anything.

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    Q&A Paul Kerensa

    2018-08-23T00:00:00+01:00By

    Award-winning comedian Paul Kerensa has written for TV shows such as Miranda, Not Going Out and Top Gear. Editor Ruth Jackson spoke to him about faith, comedy and writing children’s books

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    Q&A: Wayne Jacobs

    2018-07-05T00:00:00+01:00By

    Ruth Jackson spoke to former premiership footballer Wayne Jacobs about finding God, being a parent and starting One In A Million

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    Q&A: Tim Chaddick

    2018-02-16T00:00:00+00:00By

    Tim Chaddick and his wife Lindsey moved to the UK from California with their three daughters to set up Reality Church London. Editor Ruth Jackson spoke to Tim about family life, church planting and evangelism

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    Q&A: Kenda Creasy Dean

    2017-12-13T00:00:00+00:00By

    Editor Ruth Jackson chatted to Kenda Creasy Dean, an ordained United Methodist pastor and professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. Kenda has written numerous books, including Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church

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    Q&A: Sally Lloyd-Jones

    2017-11-23T00:00:00+00:00By

    Editor Ruth Jackson spoke to award-winning children’s author, Sally Lloyd-Jones. Sally’s book, The Jesus Storybook Bible, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, having sold over two million copies and been translated into 34 languages.

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    Q&A: Sam Adofo

    2017-09-22T00:00:00+01:00

    The Salmon Youth Centre has been reaching out to young people in inner-city London for more than 100 years. We caught up with the centre’s director, Sam Adofo

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    Real Life: “I felt God press the pause button on my full-time ministry”

    2017-06-22T00:00:00+01:00

    I grew up in a loving and caring Christian home, where the Bible was valued and praying together as a family was a regular occurrence. Through Sunday school, the kids’ and youth work at the Keswick Convention and regular Bible reading at home, I grew to love Jesus from a young age. I knew that one day I wanted to be one of those youth leaders who looked cool, dressed confidently and could teach the Bible one moment and be completely daft the next.

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    Q&A: Rev Jeffrey Brown

    2017-06-21T00:00:00+01:00By

    Rev Jeffrey Brown is a Baptist minister in Boston and president of Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace (RECAP), a US organisation seeking to reduce gang violence. Ian Britton spoke to Rev Brown about his story

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    Real life: “The vicar comes with a free youth worker”

    2017-05-24T00:00:00+01:00

    For the past eight years I have been involved in youth work as a volunteer, a youth theatre practitioner, a full-time church worker and now as a sessional youth worker. I have a diploma in youth mission and ministry (just to try and prove I vaguely know what I’m doing!) but all of that seems to pale in comparison to a decision I made in May 2015 - I got married to a trainee vicar.

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    Q&A: Dave Csinos

    2017-05-24T00:00:00+01:00By

    Dave Csinos is assistant professor of practical theology at Atlantic School of Theology and the founder of Faith Forward, an ecumenical organisation for innovation in children’s and youth ministry. He spoke to Jamie Cutteridge about teaching methods, experiential moments and his recent research

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    Q&A: Archbishop Justin Welby

    2017-04-20T00:00:00+01:00

    Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke to Premier Youth and Children’s Work about Thy Kingdom Come, a global prayer movement taking place between Ascension and Pentecost, which he is inviting children and young people around the world to join.

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    Q&A: Dr Elizabeth McNaught

    2017-03-20T00:00:00+00:00By

    Elizabeth McNaught was diagnosed with anorexia at 14 and spent periods of her teenage years in hospital and community care. Now a doctor, Elizabeth has told her story in Life hurts: a doctor’s personal journey through anorexia. She spoke to Ruth Jackson

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    Real Life: “I lead young people who are the same age as me”

    2017-01-20T00:00:00+00:00

    I went to a small Christian school from year six to year eleven; there were only 18 pupils in my whole year! In the months leading up to our GCSEs, the teachers encouraged us to look at where we wanted to study next. We wrote CVs, checked out dates for open days and applied for college. I had been to three open days and although it was fun, it wasn’t how I wanted to spend the next two years. College was too big compared to the small school I had grown up in, and I couldn’t find four subjects that interested me.

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    Q&A: Mike Pilavachi

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    Let’s be honest, Mike Pilavachi is a youth ministry legend who needs little introduction. The author, youth worker and leader and founder of Soul Survivor has influenced the lives of countless young people over the last three decades. He sat down with Jamie Cutteridge to talk about his and Andy Croft’s new book Everyday supernatural, the current state of youth ministry and the last quarter-decade of Soul Survivor

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    ‘My church cut my hours’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By Dan Crouch is a youth worker in Keynsham, an MA student with CYM and a trustee of Sophia Network. Find him on Twitter: @DanCrouch.

    At the start of summer 2011, if you had asked me, ‘How’s life?’ my response would have been, ‘Life is good.’ I had been the fulltime youth worker in my home church for almost 18 months. I had married a wonderful and supportive woman just over a year earlier and we were newly-weds creating a shared life together.

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    Q&A: Hannah Oakland

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    Hannah Oakland suffered with postnatal depression following the births of both her children, who are now aged 5 and 3. She runs a support group in association with the charity PANDAS for other parents affected by perinatal mental illness in Reading. She spoke to Lucinda van der Hart about her experiences of motherhood, mental illness and finding God in the midst of it all.

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    Q&A: Shane Claiborne

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    Shane Claiborne is a Christian activist who leads The Simple Way community in Philadelphia. He has just released his new book, Executing Grace. Editor Jamie Cutteridge spoke to Shane about justice, Donald Trump, gun violence, young people and Jesus

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    Q&A: Bob Hartman

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    Bob Hartman is a performance storyteller who has spent many years writing and telling stories. Bob combines key words, actions and characters to create memorable retellings of Bible stories . We spoke to Bob about storytelling and children’s work

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    Q&A: The Rt Revd Paul Butler Bishop of Durham

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, is no stranger to children’s work. From 1987 to 1994, he worked for children’s and youth work charity, Scripture Union, and is now advocate for children among Church of England bishops. Alex Taylor caught up with Paul to talk about the children and families’ ministry landscape

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    Real life: ‘I thought youth workers were supposed to be young...’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    …this was one of the first things that an older lady said to me in when I started my job 15 years ago; I wonder what she thinks about me still being here!

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    Real life: ‘Two of my friends died’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    In 2015 I had just become a youth leader at a church in South East England, after moving there for university from the Midlands. I was six hours away from home, and the expense of getting back only made the distance feel further. This was one of the biggest steps of faith I have taken in my 22 years of life.

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    Q&A: Bishop Steven Croft

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    Steven Croft is the Bishop of Sheffield. He was previously Archbishop Rowan Williams’ missioner and leader of the Fresh Expressions team. Deputy editor Ruth Jackson caught up with Bishop Steven to hear about some of the exciting youth initiatives taking place in Sheffield.

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    Q&A: Pete Greig

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    Pete Greig founded 24-7 Prayer, an international, interdenominational movement of prayer and mission. He’s the author of Red Moon Rising and God on Mute and leads Emmaus Road church in Guildford, with his wife Sammy. Deputy editor Ruth Jackson spoke to Pete about prayer and his vision for young people

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    Q&A: Lucy Moore

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By Sam Donoghue is head of children’s and youth ministry support for the Diocese of London, and consulting editor for Premier Youth and Children’s Work.

    Lucy Moore was part of the team that set up the very first Messy Church in Portsmouth. Now, she is Messy Church team leader and responsible for developing the work of Messy Church nationally and internationally. Co-editor Sam Donoghue caught up with Lucy.

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    ‘Why would you give up your Friday nights for me?’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    I was generally a good lad but a little cheeky - and still am. Mum and dad weren’t Christians, but the church had a real presence on our street and some of our close neighbours were regular attenders.

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    ‘God called me to Russia to work with victims of trafficking’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    ’Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am, for your kingdom’s cause…’

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    ‘I ran away from home to become a Christian’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    I didn’t know anything about Christianity until I was in year seven. My mum always told me that Christian people were bad, so I used to think that all Christians were bad people.

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    ‘We ran an Alpha course in our school’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    Beth and I had been running the CU at our school for a year, but really wanted to get more people involved.

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    Q&A: Judah Smith

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    He leads of one of the biggest churches in the United States, is mates with sport stars, has written a best-selling book, and pastors Justin Bieber – but started off as a youth worker. Journalist Jamie Cutteridge meets Seattle’s Judah Smith.

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    ‘I was made redundant from my youth work post’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00

    So often the spotlight is given to stories of success. Stories of youth groups growing from eight to 80 in three weeks using nothing but a table tennis ball, a church hall and a copy of Mission Praise. Stories that are great but can also leave some of us out in the cold. Because,
    sometimes, there’s a flip side: we all know that youth ministry can be the most amazing vocation in the world, but it can be tough, it can go wrong, and it can be a real struggle. And yet there’s as much truth and as many lessons in these stories as in the success stories, so we want to open it up and learn from some of them. Welcome to Real Life. This month: Nick Francis.

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    ‘My marriage broke down’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    In June 2012, my husband and I were fully immersed in our church. I was part of the women’s pastoral team and children’s work, while my husband was involved in worship. We were also part of a life group. We had been married for three years, having met at church during our teens, and I was due to start a new teaching job in September. After much prayer I was about to take over the leadership of the 14–18s youth group.

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    ’I had a messy break-up with someone in my church’

    2017-01-19T00:00:00+00:00By

    I had just started my second year of university, studying at Oxford CYM for a degree in youth and community work with applied theology, when my girlfriend of four and a half years broke up with me. All break-ups are bad and this one was no exception. In fact, this one was spectacularly unpleasant.