Monthly Archives: March 2016

Resource Review – The Introvert Charismatic

cropped-img_2477On the last week of every month we’ll be giving you a great resource idea you can use in your work with children, young people and families. This month Dan Crouch shares some reflections on a book he’s found particularly helpful.

The month of February was a very blessed month for me as my church granted me a month’s sabbatical. It was a brilliant opportunity to not only rest and recharge but also to resource myself and my ministry. I’ve always enjoyed reading and so this time provided an excellent opportunity to get my teeth into several books.

One of the most interesting books I read during this time was Mark Tanner’s ‘The Introvert Charismatic.’

Now, as an introvert myself, I have to declare a particular bias towards this book. It makes sense to me, helps me understand more about myself, and gives a language to experience and frustration that I can own myself. I come at this from a particular perspective. So I asked my wife to read this book, as an extrovert, and to be honest she persisted with the book probably out of love and care for me, rather than because she felt it particularly useful to her. What was perhaps more helpful were the conversations we could have together about the content of the book, areas where we found agreement and places where we disagreed, talking together, discussing, debating and reflecting on what we had read in order to more fully understand one another.

For those of us ministering in church contexts this book offers an insight, from Tanner’s perspective, about what it means to be charismatic and what it means to be an introvert in the church. Tanner asserts that while there seems to be a dichotomy here (where else have you seen the words introvert and charismatic alongside each other) these two characteristics are actually compatible rather than mutually exclusive. What I found particularly helpful was the way Tanner defined charismatic as ‘simply a Christian who lives in expectation of daily encounters with God, by his Spirit, and seeks to respond to the presence of God faithfully and courageously.’ When I think of a charismatic Christian I would not consider myself part of this group because my character, I had assumed, was incompatible. Tanner shows that this is not the case.

One of the big challenges I have faced throughout my time in youth ministry is believing that as an introvert I can be a good youth worker. Let’s face it, the majority of people will assume that an extrovert personality will make a better youth worker. This is in fact a lazy application of the Myers-Briggs assessment. Introverts and extroverts can be good youth workers.

In youth ministry we, I hope, will meet a wide variety of young people coming from a range of backgrounds. We probably know quite a lot about individual learning styles and group dynamics, but our recognition of introvert and extrovert in our work may be less developed. We may understand where we ourselves are on the continuum, but perhaps not so clearly how we recognise where others are, especially young people. While we don’t want to be too eager to label young people, understanding the way that they are energised and the activities that drain them is little different to understanding their preferred learning style. How could you apply some of this learning to your youth ministry?

Dan Crouch is a youth worker in Keynsham, near Bristol, a trustee of the Sophia Network, and a BCYM BA and MA graduate.

Youth & Children’s Work South West Retreat

For the last few years, BCYM have been involved in the delivery of the Youth and Children’s Work South West ConIMG_7337ference, in Exeter. This year, on our seventh year of running we decided to do something a bit different, and instead of running a conference, we ran a retreat. The theme was ‘Untitled’ – a day to leave behind all the labels that can end up defining both ourselves and our ministry, and find space to seek the presence of God in order to be refreshed for our life of service for Him.

During the day there was a variety of workshops, seminars, worship streams and labyrinth-style spaces to choose from, both indoors and outside. We created six spaces, designed so that everyone could meet with God in a way that suited them. The spaces were;

HEAD SPACE – challenging and engaging Bible teaching to help us re-discover the majesty and wonder of God, and develop intimacy with Him.
PRAYER SPACE – individual ‘prayer pods’ IMG_7338containing things to help you reconnect with God through prayer and reflection.
CREATIVE SPACE – a variety of expert-led, interactive and creative presentations using art, photography and poetry to help explore God’s character.
JOURNEY SPACE – a variety of ‘stations’ designed to help us connect with God through prayer and contemplation.
LISTENING SPACE – a chance to meet with an experienced and trained listener if anyone wanted help with any aspect of their life or ministry.
DISCUSSION SPACE – an opportunity to discuss issues relating to the theme of the day.

Dylan Barker from Frontier Youth Trust and myself, facilitated the Journey Space. We had a range of stations hIMG_7344elping people reflect on their roles, job titles, how to balance and juggle differing roles, the labels young people are given, the labels we give ourselves and our communities, and a chance to think about how God sees us. It was amazing to see so many people make use of the space to chill out, reflect and spend time with God.

For me, the highlight of the day was hearing from poet, writer and retreat leader Ian Adams. Ian spoke brilliantly in the morning about what retreat is, and then led some creative workshops throughout the day on photography, poetry and doodling or mark making. As a creative I really enjoyed his tips and tricks about how to use these methods to spend time with God.

It was a fantastic day, and genuinely the best youth retreat I’ve ever been involved with. I hope we do it all again next year!

Jo Dolby
Youth & Community Work Lecturer


Revd Dr Roger Hayden

The Revd Dr Roger Hayden, former student, Chairman of Trustees and Honorary Research Fellow and Archivist of the College died on March 3rd at his home near Bristol. At a meeting of the Bristol Baptist College Council on Friday 11th March, trustees stood in silence to remember Roger and then recorded the College’s deep sense of gratitude to God for him and for all that he contributed to its life over many years.

Revd Michael Docker, the current Chair of Trustees writes, “We particularly acknowledged Roger’s crucial role as Chairman of the General Committee through the difficult period in the 1990s. I was able to attest to the deeply pastoral way in which he engaged with key figures in the College’s life at that time and the passion that he brought to bear on discussions about the future. The record shows that he was pivotal in making the move from the Woodland Road site possible. Roger, I know, would say that he had only followed in the footsteps of others; he did so with wisdom and a level of commitment and vision that really helped to hold things together. As the College’s archivist in more recent years, Roger was able to use his considerable historical knowledge to good effect and for his significant work in adding to the archive and clarifying records where needed, the College is also profoundly grateful.”

There will be a service of thanksgiving for Roger’s life on Friday April 8th at 2pm at Broadmead Baptist Church to which all are invited.

Student Spotlight: James

Spotlight-JamesOn the second week of each month we want to highlight one of our students and the amazing work they are involved in. So read on to find out more about what one of our fantastic BCYM students is up to!

Spotlight on CYM 3rd year student James, working in a small rural town in Worcestershire.

“Coming towards the end of the final year at CYM, I have had an opportunity to reflect on the many ways that God has blessed me in my ministry over the past three years. I work in a small town Baptist Church in rural Worcestershire, and prior to starting there as a youth worker the church had never really invested in work with young people. This meant an immense challenge for me but also a great opportunity as I had a blank slate from which to build a youth work programme which would engage with the community. Having no experience of youth work whatsoever before starting there it was a bit of a daunting task. A year in and having set up a couple of projects with great support from the church, I felt that it would be honouring to God for me to train in order to be a more professional youth worker, and I chose Bristol CYM as my place of study.

The course has taught me so much about youth work and theology, having access to some prominent figures in the world of Christian youth and children’s work has been invaluable in allowing me to really understand the role of the youth worker in a church context. However one of the most valuable learning experiences has been the way I have developed over the past three years of study. When I started I wasn’t at all convinced that I would be able to complete a degree course, and time has flown by, now I find myself with four weeks left to complete a 10,000 word dissertation and I’m not panicking… Well not too much anyway. Many of the lessons I’ve learned have been directly applied to my work and even the more challenging lectures and conversations have altered or reinforced my personal beliefs. One of the great things about studying at CYM has been the opportunity to learn from other youth workers and the opportunity to share advice and experiences with other people who understand the good and the bad of Christian youth work.

I’m now looking towards what happens after the course and trying to decide whether to look for a full time role doing youth work in a church, or whether to apply the numerous skills I have been taught in another area of work, from leadership to conflict management to working as a team for social justice, there are so many skills I have learned that are applicable to a multitude of roles and will help me wherever God calls me, and I feel more capable of dealing with whatever challenges lie ahead with the knowledge I have gained over the past 3 years. Churches are not always the easiest places to work and I’m certainly glad of the training I have had from CYM, I’m looking forward to applying these skills in the next place I end up!”

Tune in next month to hear about another one of our wonderful students!