This is why we need to teach resilience to all young people, expand mentoring and put more money into mental health services:
Take a look at @heads_together’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/heads_together/status/774561828064165888?s=09

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#church, the people not the building

Its old hat I know, but still true, that the church is its people, not the building we meet in.

So how come so much time is spent acting like that isn’t so? We spend lots of time doing and less time being with each other.

I read this article on pastoral care today and it reminded me that no one ever came to Jesus because of a program. Instead it was the personality of Jesus that drew true discipleship.

Paul says that God is using us as ambassadors,  as though God were making his appeal through us (2Corinthians 5:20). Note, us, not our buildings or our doughnuts or our super-duper worship/speaking/toddler group.

Paul goes further. He said he became nothing so that people wouldn’t get tangled up in the programme and miss the personality of Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

And yet all around me I see the church both traditional and modern getting tangled up in… Stuff.

You know, we could meet in a porta-cabin with a battered old CD player and a packet of rich tea biscuits, as long as we had love. That is, after all how Jesus said people would know we were his disciples  (John 13:34-35).
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Photo via http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/3/28/1301326990499/Rich-Tea-biscuits-007.jpg

I find the lack of love I sometimes see particularly painful when it comes to young people. We are called by Jesus to love our neighbour as ourselves, and yet again and again I see adults putting what they want at gatherings of Christians before what young people might want or need.

And that’s Christian young people, never mind non Christian folk.

So my prayer for myself and others is that we might truly see and hear the people around us and love them more than our (church) stuff.

Its #timetotalk young people and the #mentalhealth train wreck

Today is time to talk day. I thought about talking about my own journey of learning to deal with depression, but I realized there is something far more pressing.
At this point, I would like to say, what follows is my personal point of view.

I’m a youth worker, and have been full time for 15 years. Mental wellbeing always was a challenge though the teenage years, it’s the time when we wrestle with who we are, stepping out from the cocoon of childhood and into the identity of our adulthood.

But its so much harder now than it ever was. The 24-7 pressure of media, expectations, austerity and the like has become a poisonous cocktail for many young people.

EVERY DAY I come into contact with young people either with diagnosed mental illnesses or simply weighed down with anxiety, worries and fear.

The other day I was helping a young person with techniques to deal with anxiety. They are not diagnosed, just suffering. In the same hour another young person expressed their stress at being in a class detention. They were worried it would have a long term affect on their career.
Sounds foolish doesn’t it, but that’s what society is doing to young people.

Don’t get me started on the young people I know who self harm or have depression or just simply need someone outside family and friends to talk to.

There is no money to support young people and what services are available are stretched beyond breaking point.

I would sound the warning siren for the train wreck of young peoples lives.

But it is already here.

As a youth worker, part of my job is helping young people out if the wreckage.

So I have a request. If you know ANYONE between the ages of eleven and twenty, take time not only to talk..

But to listen.

Without judgment, and with compassion. Please, take time to listen to young people. Let them know they really matter, that they are visible, valuable and wanted.

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