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It’s a difficult concept in a society that is used to power being so unevenly distributed, but true participation means consulting everyone- especially in things that directly affect them.
It’s not simple and certainly not easy, but the starting point has to be respect and a willingness to listen from everyone involved.
So what does this all have to do with youth work in our churches?
The YPS (Youth Participation Strategy) is the Methodist Church’s way of making participation an integral part of the way we do things- connexionally and locally. The Methodist Church website says this about the YPS;
“First things first: participation is about everyone, not just young people. It’s part of the Methodist Church’s bigger vision – part of the Children and Youth Team’s wider strategy – to see the whole church participating more; making and moulding the shape and substance of the church, together.
Participation and involvement mean changing the way we run our meetings, plan our worship, make our decisions. Participation and involvement mean changing the way we are church together.
At its heart, participation is essentially about how we relate to each other. It is an idea that values all humans as equal and valuable. And that’s how Jesus interacted with people. It’s why He had disciples; why He chose to speak with people not just to them. It’s also how God treats us, allowing us to be co-creators in God’s creation. And it’s how the Holy Spirit works, as the One who comes alongside.”
How does this affect our district?
Within the Southampton District, we’re looking at ways in which we can realise this vision. We plan to have a youth weekend and 2 children’s days in the district this year. These will be organised by groups made up predominantly of children and young people. We’ll also be looking at what we can do to encourage wider participation within individual church’s and circuits.
Keep an eye out for more information on this website or if you’d like to know more, please contact Christy-Anna Errington on firstname.lastname@example.org