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/ 2 December 2020

Everything’s a learning opportunity

The Learning Hub

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t a ha’penny, then you’re obviously a children’s or youth worker trying to reach out to your parish on a shoestring budget.

Doing children’s and youth work is tricky enough at the best of times – limited resources, time and volunteers – but 2020 has layered on many more complications. And we’ve had to face those at the same time as coping with the pandemic’s impact on us ourselves too.

Our ministry probably looks very different now than it did back in January. We have had to shelve the plans we had and simply do what we can. But as vaccines become a reality and the promise of a return to something like normal beckons, we can start to build for the future.

However, we shouldn’t ditch the lessons learnt in 2020 and rush back to what we were doing in 2019. This enforced pause has provided us with the chance to re-evaluate what we do and honestly ask ourselves whether they were the right thing for this point in time, for these children or young people, for these families, for our parish.

Part of that is how we grow and train our volunteers. And to that end, we’re launching the Learning Hub, a kind of online training centre so that you can help your team develop their skills and think more deeply about why they do what they do. Those who are new to children’s or youth work can get the basic grounding in ministry. Volunteers that have more experience will be able to develop and refine their skills, as well discover new ways of working. And you yourself can access some thinking and theory to help you grow your vision, together with practical advice on areas such as building your team, working with your clergy and supporting families.

We’re kicking off with digital versions of our two ‘entry level’ courses: Academy Basics (about children’s work) and Youth Ministry Toolkit (about, er, youth ministry). These are tried and tested courses that will help your new volunteers get to grips with their ministry. There’s also plenty in these two courses for more experienced volunteers – those who would like a refresher in the basics or those who have never had any real training. So why not get your team to register and get going? It’s all online, so people can do it in their living rooms, kitchens or garden sheds, whenever they like.

Following these two courses, we’ll be adding training for you on refining your vision and how you communicate that vision to others, some theory on faith development, techniques for managing groups and more. Plus we’ll explore more universal topics like the value of craft or games, making the most of festivals and how we can start working with our local schools. And – get this – it’s absolutely free.

What’s more, you’ll be able to consult with the team. If you’ve got questions, then you can book a call and have a Zoom coffee with us; you can chat through any issues you have, get some advice or simply use us as a sounding board! We’re here for you.

The Learning Hub is live! Sign up for free at learning.london.anglican.org for access.

About Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor has worked with the children and youth team to provide training and support churches. He is an experienced children's and youth worker and writer.

Read more from Alex Taylor

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