Category: webstuff

Is the quality of Youth Ministry generally going down dramatically? 10 questions for Mike Pilvatchi.

Soul Survivor promo

So recently the world of youth ministry, (well the readers of youth work magazine) were rocked by the following bit of an interview with Mike Pilvatchi in the magazine. In answer to the question “What shifts have you noticed among youth workers over the last 25 years?” Mr Pilvatchi who is the leader of Soul Survivor, Watford, and the Soul Survivor week long bible festival summer events, answered…

Generally, the quality of youth workers has gone down dramatically. I love the Anglican Church but lots of our best youth leaders are now getting ordained and I begged the Archbishop – I went and saw him, and asked: “Please could you establish a diaconate for youth leaders?” We’ve just got to raise the profile of that, otherwise it’s like you do youth work for three years until you’ve practiced with the little people and then you do the proper ministry. We’ve got to break that.

Honestly, loads of youth leaders don’t even know what they believe. And they’re petrified of looking at certain issues – especially sex and sexuality. The numbers of youth leaders after we did a series of talks on sex and relationships who said: “Thank you for doing that because we can’t talk about it”. Really? I asked this years’ Soul61s, which is our discipleship year – there are 25 of them and they’re the ones that raised £6,000 each to spend ten months with us so they’re pretty committed – I asked them back in January: “How many of you have never talked about sex and sexuality in your youth group?” Half put their hands up. Half!

Mr Pilvatchi goes on to lament the lack of bible teaching in the early days of Soul Survivior, wishing they had less funny stories, and more bible stories. Concluding with the observation that the church now has a biblically illiterate generation. You can read the interview here. The sense I get is this is a big questions on the end of a promo interview for a book, I am not sure Mr Pilvatchi had time to consider his answers as if this was the subject of the interview. But I think this is an observation which needs to be considered seriously. I wonder if this is true for Scotland, and specifically for the Church of Scotland.

So as I have been involved in youth ministry for 25 years this year (I know I don’t look old enough!), and as this is National Youth Work week 2016,  I thought it would be good to consider this issue a bit more. th achieve this consideration I am writing 3 blog posts on the topic. This is post one entitled – 10 questions for Mike Pilvatchi.

10 questions for Mike Pilvatchi (a series of questions to try and tease out a bit more of what this is all about.)
1 – What is the point of youth ministry?
Looking at the answers in the interview, I am guessing you consider the point of youth ministry is primarily christian education i.e. to teach bible stories and principles to young people. But I think I need to check that assumption with you.

2 – Why do workers move on from youth ministry to ordination?
What are the issues that being a youth worker poses, that becoming a full time Rev. answers? What is stopping quality people from working in youth ministry long term? Have you seen where this is an instinctive move from youth work to work with all people within a congregation, and as such can viewed as an extension of an existing ministry rather than a change from a lesser ministry to proper ministry? What does it mean for a worker who hasn’t been ordained after 25 years?

3 – Would a diaconate solution solve these issues?
Within the Church of Scotland, the diaconate is a small and little known ministry of the church (unless you are a keen observer of such things). Would appointing youth ministry professionals to this ministry status really answer the issues raised by question 2?

4- What needs to be put in place to support and improve youth ministry as a whole?
Not all youth ministry exists within the anglican church, or christian education so while the Diaconate solution may work in that context, the issue raised needs a bigger structural response. With Oasis College in London recently stopping new entries to under & post degree level courses, what new structures are needed to support youth ministry generally?

5 – If the quality of youth workers has gone down dramatically, was it always high or is this a regression to the normal level?
I wasn’t around in the 50’s or 60’s, but I have read some of the literature of the time, I am curious to know if you think the youth ministry of the 60’s was better than the youth ministry of 80’s, and if they were both better than youth ministry in the 00’s, this would establish if this is a steady decline or if the identified decline is an unexpected drop off.

6 – How do you judge quality?
You seem be talking about the quality of person available, (as a youth worker still working within youth ministry for 25 years, I already have a healthy view of my own limited skill set!), then later you lament the practices of the current workers in talking about sex with teenagers or doing bible teaching. I am unclear if you are talking about people or practices primarily, (although I realise they are inherently linked).

7 – What data are you measuring this criteria against?
How do you judge if something is better now than it was a while ago, usually you would look for an evidence base of some sort, so I am also interested to consider what evidence or data sources you would point to when making this judgement about worker quality?

8 – You were invited to comment upon youth workers, what other things do you consider influence youth workers and how would you consider these influencing others have shifted over the last 25 years?
No youth worker is an island, so in thinking about the quality of youth worker, how much strength or affect would you ascribe to developments in parenting, childrens ministry, education policy, theological thinking, the professionalisation of youth ministry, cultural changes, social changes, economic changes, government policy, and other factors that all influence and shape youth ministry?

9 – Sex and sexuality is an interesting focus, why choose it?
Within the church of Scotland, there are ongoing discussions, that have resulted in sex and sexuality being something to discuss very carefully (going so far as to prevent ministers from commenting upon sex and sexuality debates for a period of time.) The Church of Scotland is and has changed its position on this and various ways forward are being discussed and put in place by the CofS nationally. Given this is a live issue where church ideas are/can be controversial, a reticence to lead discussions on the topic would be understandable. Within such a context of whole church review is it fair to consider sex and sexuality as the primary example then of quality youth work?

10 – What shifts within youth ministry have been positive over the last 25 years?
I don’t believe you are inherently negative about youth ministry, what are the good things you have seen as it has developed and changed in the last 25 years?

reflecting on the election – #GE2015

beentovoteSo the responses to the general election 2015 are long and varied. For myself, I like my reflection with a sense of humour so here goes with a brief round-up of responses.

American PJ O’Rouke is on the money with “A Point of View” for BBC Radio 4 –

The more explosive reaction, with many expletives, comes from the Bugle podcast, (Jon Oliver & Andy Zaltzman) this made me laugh substantially!

As did the Dead Ringers take on the election. Broadcast on the day after the election, it does seem a bit raw but is remarkably spot on, while taking everyone for a laugh. (For this show it does help if you have a working knowledge of the political characters of the last election and the hosts of the “Today” show on BBC Radio 4).

perhaps the most disappointing satirical take on the a events of the election came from The Daily Show who seem to have missed the mark with their segment.

anyway enjoy listening.

That’s Me, the guy with a pure heart and gunpowder in his moustache.

xtenson-alwyn-jacket-funktionsparka-navy-blau-6a0.jpg.pagespeed.ic.skS6DOBdw0Last winter I bought a winter jacket out of TK Maxx. The joy of shopping at TK Maxx is you never know exactly what you’re going to find. It was a nice jacket from a company I had never heard of … Tenson.

The other day I conducted a quick web search and hit upon their website. Tenson are a Norwegian brand who sponsor the Norwegian ski team. Nice. In the about us section I found this gem of a quote envisioning the type of man the company founder, Paul, hoped would wear the jacket.

Paul described his intended ’Nature Man’ like this: ”Tenson-Man – skis, hunts and fishes, wanders in the forest with his pipe in his mouth. Smells good, little kid, a little tuna fish, a little gunpowder. Can’t live without his jacket. Sleeps in it if he can. One of those half-tall things with a thousand pockets to keep stuff in. That’s what Tenson-Man likes, the guy with a pure heart and gunpowder in his moustache. The kind of guy every girl wants to roll meatballs and fold the bedclothes for.”

Currently I am considering using this as the personal statement on my CV as it so perfectly nails the type of person and lifestyle I currently abide in. If the next time you see myself Adorned in this jacket and do not automatically want to roll meatballs or fold bedclothes, I will consider it a failing on your behalf.

Twitter, Tr0lls and Hobbes.

Twitter has been in the news recently. The news reports speak of Tr0lls, people who deliberately use the service to shout abuse, issue threats, and insult other users. This morning, Michelle Mone, has been on TV talking to both ITV and BBC about her experience on Twitter. Click here for a report.

Within youth work this concern has been tackled by Young Scot. This is important as young people are seen as early adopters of new technology through their digitally native upbringing, conversely young people are regarded as a vulnerable group within society, and as such need to be treated as digitally naive.


Hobbes, like Machiavelli, had a low view of human beings. We are all basically selfish, driven by fear of death and the hope of personal gain, he believed. All of us seek power over others, whether we realize this or not.
Warburton, A Little History of Philosophy.

Hobbes main idea is that the only thing that keeps our selfish side from coming out is the rule of law the threat of punishment, you could call it society. Hobbes life without these rules or threat of punishment, life outside society would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. In order to keep society together you need a strong leader, or a strong government. you also need people to buy into a social contract of not being selfish. giving up the dangerous side of being or the safety of society.

When you look at Twitter and it use by tr0lls it does look much like Hobbes analysed. It lacks any policing and any threat of punishment. Is that a bad thing?
because people are digitally naive. I consider that people are generally good, and a few bad apples spoilt it all for us. I say this from an awareness I am white, I am male, I live in the country, with a comparatively affluent lifestyle. I don’t see the shit of life. I don’t life in the nasty underbelly of life. I don’t see my neighbourhood being oppressed. I don’t have gangs on every corner of my streets. My neighbours do not go hungry on a regular basis. Life is good, comfortable. The practice of tr0lling brings a piece of nastiness, a glimpse of the underside of life into my path. It makes me more conscious that oppression is real. People have nasty experiences everyday and I may unthinkingly contribute to that. Without speaking about sexism, racism, the outrage of need for food banks within Scotland, people living in substandard housing. then I would by my silence be complicit with this oppression. I would be giving Tacit approval to this state of affairs.

I have once been in the situation where I caused great concern to someone by a comment I made on twitter. It was meant as a sarcastic remark but caused remarkable pain to someone else. I apologised immediately. I asked to apologise in person but was not told who it was I offended. I apologised publically using twitter, and since then have never made a comment like that again, (hopefully). It bothers me I made that comment and secondly I didn’t get to apologise in person. What moderated my usage was someone telling me I had crossed a line.

So the lack of policing is a good thing?

I can only imagine how horrible it is to have people attack you for being who you are. I can only imagine how horribly it is to have people deliberately threaten you verbally, threaten you physically, and threaten your family and friends. Just because you can delete your account or block abusive people does not mean that you are safe or that people should be allowed to say whatever they like on the internet.

What does twitter needs is a society to actively moderate itself. A community to engage with it and speak up when things arent right. A community willing to engage and say, that over the line, to speak and say that’s not right.

Talking to people in this way leaves me cold.

Recently lots of people have been sharing this video on youtube.

In the video someone attempt to take on atheists and evolutionists and ask them a killer question which they cannot answer to the satisfaction of the questioner.
I don’t like it.

For two reasons. Firstly I dislike the attitude of the person asking the questions. I think it feels smug, and just leaves me wondering why this is the appropriate way to engage with people. It leaves me cold and annoyed. I think it is harmful to those people who’s views may have any similarity to the expressed view of the questioner.

Secondly I am not sure this is a fruitful way to challenge the views of people. I read John MacDermott in the Financial Times last saturday, in the article online here, he asks why we rarely win arguements, although his example is drawn from public policy, I have sympathy with his main thrust, more facts added to an argument serves to “reinforce stubborness”. That arguements actually gets more response by considering who the person is that we are arguing with, not the subject of the argument.

To the videomaker, I am think you got it more than a bit wrong.

Categories: thinking webstuff wonderin

spam compliments


The nature of the spam this site gets is something which surprises me, this is a small site with a very select, (intelligent, well-groomed, knowledgable) readership. yet spam keep on flowing. I have noticed that recently the spam has become more complimentary as such I would like to post the reviews from the spam filter.

Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this web site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more,

Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

You have done a extraordinary job

…its impressive paragraph regarding teachingand fully defined, keep it up all the time.

You’ve made some really good points there. I checked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

You’re amazing! Thanks!

Great delivery. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good spirit.

and finally the classic

This piece of writing posted at this website is genuinely pleasant.

I mean I know I am good, but this is beyond my expectations… but seriously, I particularly like the comment “this piece of writing posted at this website is genuinely pleasant.” I may use that somewhere on the website.  Thanks goto mr”auto repair quote” for his comment, it means so much.

My entry in who’s who, recognising my executive professionalism

As you all know I am famed for my executive prowess and professionalism but even I was slightly surprised to be informed I am to be entered into who’s who.


As you are more than likely aware, you were recently selected
for inclusion in the new 2014 edition of the Who’s Who Among
Executives and Professionals.

Despite our efforts, we have not yet received confirmation of
your biographical profile, and are reaching out to you again
in an effort to do so.

Click here to verify and confirm your profile

The tradition of the Who’s Who reaches back more than
100 years to a time when the prestigious and accomplished
were featured in a yearly publication that defined high society.

Today, the Who’s Who provides a useful resource where business
professionals, academics, and Executives are both recognized for
their achievements and provided with an unparalleled networking
resource. Using our database, you can make global contacts,
discuss current events and happenings with your peers, and
establish yourself as either a mentor to aspiring professionals or
further your business network.

Our goal is to seek out the premier executives and professionals
throughout the world. There is absolutely no cost or obligation
for your biographical profile. Simply click this link to fill out
the appropriate biographical fields.


I suspect this may actually be a sales type email but to be honest I am being professional enough not to click in the links!

#honestly #somepeople

Tax dodgers yes, but on the plus side ruthless efficiency does have its benefits.


Amazon. They make lots of profits in the uk but don’t pay UK tax. That’s bad.

(Although I think if you are associated/employed by an organisation which takes advantage of the gift aid scheme you can’t really criticise as gift aid is also taking advantage of the tax laws for financial benefit..)

But they are very good on delivery times and price.
I recently lost the wee ear bit on my head phones. Buying online in the uk was around £30. Buying from the company direct was are £35 plus p&p.
Buying from (the US site), the price was $17.50, inc p&p, plus due to the price of item no tax or import duty. Was told it would take around 14-21 days for delivery. The actual delivery time was 4days from the US.

Tax dodgers yes, but ruthlessly efficent.

Categories: shopping webstuff

The 900 club & laconic hegemony best songs of 2012 download – #2012review

welcome to the 900th blog post of this ‘Scott, in brief’ blogs existance. Rather than mark this special occasion, with a a retrospective of some kind, it is marked with a post on the music i have enjoyed over the last year. and at the bottom of the page is a download and link to my mix of the best songs of 2012. Happy new year people!

the long list of the best albums of the 2012 was published here in – schelp blog – albums of the year

The Top three albums of the 2012

Fanfarlo-Rooms-Filled-With-Light Rooms filled with light by fanfarlo.
I like this album. It just hits the right space for me. Indie rock sound, great hair cuts, cool videos, What is not to like? I liked reservoir, and i liked this possibly slightly more. Good work fanfarlo.

1317014477_mutemath-odd-soul-20111 Odd Soul by Mutemath
Great album, full of a modern take of historic blues and sounds of their native New Orleans. This album was released in late 2011 and its lead single, Odd Soul made my best songs of 2011. What an album it leads us too. The band’s main guitarist left before the recording of this album, this seems to have affected the band by allowing them to move more from the straight four piece rock sound of earlier albums and come up with something just off the beaten rock band path. Making music which is distincitve and sounds new while echoing rock, blues and soul, the music we and they grew up with.

And the Blood Pressure video is awesome, a real favourite with my children!

HeyOcean_Final_CBP691 Is by Hey Ocean!

I fell for this pop record in a big way, it is catchy Canadian Pop which gets you in the way only good pop can. It can be intimate when it needs. It can do the big pop dance number. Lyrically, the full boy loves girl raison d’etre of pop music is marked with aplomb. What I like about it is this album seems to have captured the sound of a band excited about making great music together.
I just love it. It makes me smile.

It is a great record from 2012.

I first heard this album as a live concert podcast from CBCradio3. where they hosted a live album launch concert for broadcast. I recently found the entire thing was also filmed live and put on youtube, meaning you can watch the concert as live and hear the entire album. The first song is here.

‘I Am a Heart’ by Hey Ocean!

The Best songs of the 2012
I have selected my 12 for 2012, well it turned into 19 for 2012, so it is entitled 12for2012 (bonus edition). the track listing is to follow, but suffice to say it is awesome and if you download it, all your wildest dreams will come true. (Vote for pedro.)

You can download it by ::[[clicking here]]:: (click on the blue download button)

or listen using this embedded box of music! (don’t panic, it has a silent start)

Categories: music small news webstuff

accurate critique

My blog isn’t that big. Thankfully I do not receive millions of spam messages. The spam I usually get is very positive ‘I love your site, I will tell all my friends about this site.’ then a link to a dodgy website address.

But today things changed. ‘Claudia‘ sent me a comment to my blog. (From and including a link to a dodgy looking website.)

your words are good, but somewhat confusing, if you can explain them better, it would be great

I cannot decide if this spam comment is accurate critique of the blog or an attempt to see if a more balanced view point will slip thought the spam detection net.

Categories: small news technology webstuff