Bristol CYM is an amazing opportunity to learn and become more than we already are. In the two days a week we are in Bristol Baptist College we cover so much theory we feel prepared to take on the world. But the theory is only a part of our formation; the ability to answer a question is one thing but having the strength and capability to really lead is something completely different. In this blog post I’m going to walk you through what those two days at college looked like for us a few weeks ago.
Tuesday morning we had a set of lectures on the Old Testament. This theological backing helps us not only to be better teachers when working with children and young people, but it helps revolutionise the way we each read the bible, and our personal faith journeys are only enhanced by having a greater understanding of the Word of God.
In the afternoon we had a lecture on Informal Learning with Children and Young People where we looked at the use of dialogue, parables and story. We experienced a Godly Play session and learnt about the techniques Jerome Berryman developed, and we discussed David Wenham’s writings on parables. Both authors taught us to never limit ourselves to learning only one lesson from anything we read, especially the parables of Jesus.
Later in the lesson we took some time to look at the practical application of what we had learnt using a ‘forked road’ scenario as John Dewey writes about. We used role play to enact a conversation between a young trespasser (Goldie), the property owner (Ted) and a mediator from the Citizens Advice office and to find a resolution that supported the needs of the young person and the home owner.
On Wednesday morning we assembled for prayers in chapel before starting our day. Then we stepped into our first session, a core part of formation, looking at spirituality and discipleship. Today’s topic was spiritual companionship – those people we journey with in our faith.
From there we moved into a session on Identity in Ministry where we looked at confronting potential failures in leadership, seemingly a tough subject, but looking at topics like this isn’t to scare us off but to prepare us to meet the real challenges we each face in ministry.
After a break we had our final session reviewing the book Models for Youth Ministry by Steve Griffiths. We were joined by an American Youth Pastor working in a church plant in Bristol. We shared our thoughts as well as our experiences and the differences between each of our roles and the role of our visitor both here in the UK and in America. It was a great opportunity to learn from others and to look at how to apply what we have read.
That afternoon we headed to a local Mosque to continue our unit on Reflecting on Diversity in Practice. Learning about other world views and beliefs is important and helpful. We had an amazing opportunity for Q and A as part of the visit, helping us better understand the differences and needs of others from our communities.
No two weeks at college are ever the same, so to end this post by saying we’ll do it all again next week would be inaccurate, but hopefully I have given you a taste of what life at Bristol Baptist College looks like.