Schools work: 5 key principles for successful schools work

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This session was led by Chris Curtis, from LCET, who always writes very well in Youthwork magazine so I was looking forward to this session. In many ways he didn’t really say anything that new or exciting, but in other ways he made some quite big suggestions in the way we do schools ministry. He started by spending some time on his background, and the work of the LCET.

We started by looking at assemblies. He suggested that we need to see a shift in change from been seen as preachers to worship leaders when we lead an assembly. We should be leading, but not the centre of attention, to spark something and then step back. In more detail he suggested that we needed to:

Create some kind of space – controversially silence he believes is the best!
Create questions – don’t give them the whole gospel – allow young people to go away thinking.
High levels of interaction

For both assemblies and lessons he highlighted the need to use educational terminology not church terminology. He believes we can say very ‘Christian’ things if we put them in educationally spiritualist terms rather than traditional Christian langue and imagery. Chris also put a strong emphasis on ensuring that we fulfil the curriculum when we teach a lesson – that we know what the LEA policy is. He explained how they were trialling a project called ‘Breathe’ following on from Greenbelt which sounded amazing – the gist of it is there is a massive parachute with 12 sections, each on an aspect of Christian belief. A class watches a video, then each individual is given an iPod and goes through the sections doing something at each, guided by the audio script.

This was a great seminar – the only disadvantage was that because it was youthwork conference it didn’t really touch on primary schools work, and the opportunity for linkage between the two age groups. I hope that the Children’s Ministry Conference has similarly high quality sessions on schools work.


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