Over 20 dedicated youth leaders, youth and clergy got together at St. Paul’s in Rothesay Sept. 29 to review the results from the Hear Our Youth’s Voices surveys.
The YIG (Youth & Intergenerational Ministries) Team released a series of surveys for the parishes, families and youth of the diocese to complete in May and June. They were an attempt to aid the YIG team in getting a sense of the climate of youth ministry in the diocese and to hear from a variety of voices.
We received 114 responses to the surveys. Within each respondent group (parish, family, youth) there were over 30 responses and representation from every archdeaconry.
The surveys had both multiple choice and narrative questions that provided insight into possible ways for our diocese to move forward in youth ministry, as well as insight into where there may be disconnect between our leadership, youth and current programs.
The YIG team took the summer to analyze the results and a report was prepared.
On Sept. 29, the day started with worship led by Christian Gowan and continued with some icebreaker games.
An overview of the survey results pointed out the three main takeaways. The first was on church and camp, with a majority of family and youth respondents choosing camp as a way they connected with God and elaborating on how camp impacted their faith.
The bridge from camp to parish differed. It’s okay that parish and camp are different but it was stressed that better communication/partnership may be needed to create more opportunities to bridge that gap.
The second takeaway was “beyond Sunday morning,” where again, family and youth respondents wanted something else throughout the week for opportunities to grow their faith.
This does not necessarily mean more programs or curriculum, but authentic relationships and serving opportunities within the communities.
And finally the third takeaway was contemporary versus traditional. The survey asked about preferences between BAS and BCP, music and style of worship. It was interesting that there were no clear preferences and that respondents was split evenly between BAS, BCP and a mix of both.
After the presentation, the participants were split into groups facilitated by a YIG member and including a youth under 25, in a series of roundtable discussions that focused on relevance of church versus expectations, parent engagement, biblical literacy, meaningful community engagement, music, opportunities to serve and more than Sunday.
Out of these discussions and presentation of the survey results, the YIG team asked for some tangible ideas it can move forward with in 2019.
The Rev. Rob Montgomery finished the day with a short presentation on the benefits and practical uses of The Bible Project. The Bible Project is a free resource that provides videos and animations to help connect the bible, understand the stories, words and themes and so much more. Rob was able to provide some useful hints in how to implement The Bible Project with youth groups and families.
The YIG team would like to thank everyone who participated in the Diocesan Youth Ministry Conference and all the participants of the Hear Our Youth’s Voices surveys. Copies of the report can be found on the YIG’s Facebook page, the diocesan website or by contacting Jason Smith (yigfton at gmail.com) .
Jason Smith is chair of YIG.