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About

"DAVID MIERS is reported to be in the top 10 cage fighters in Gosford. He has some serious dish washing skills and thinks that Elizabeth Bennet is hot. Although he thinks that his wife Rowena is hotter. David works in youth ministry for a great church. Likes to: speak in third person, watch and play soccer, eat food and surf the web. He has never watched Star Wars."

Youth Ministry: Erina Fair & Central Coast Culture

Guthers and Row both sent this smh article to me today. It's about Erina Fair here on the Central Coast. The article talks about how both old and young alike, with too much time on their hands, hang out there. Here's a snippet:
After dark on Friday there are hundreds of children in the shopping centre, some drunk. A 13-year-old boy with a heavy cough sits with a 19-year-old drug addict. Later, a 10-year-old boy licking a McDonald's soft-serve stands in the melee around one of five fights that break out that night. As 300 children rush from flashpoint to flashpoint, they are funnelled into the corridors of the shopping centre. Five security guards and a few police officers try to defuse the fights, but they are overwhelmed by the number and erratic nature of the group.
We read it tonight at a youth group leaders meeting. I'm interested to hear your thoughts (whether you're from the Central Coast or not) on this article...

How does it help us think about culture on the Central Coast?
How does it help us to think about reaching teenagers in that culture?
+ any other reflections...

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  • Anonymous Andrew says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 6:54:00 am  

    One thing it highlights to me is that there is a large number of children and youth with no meaning in their lives.
    It just occured to me that they aren't looking for it either. Perhaps they don't even think about it long enough to realise they don't have meaning.

    It doesn't sound like they are there for fun. It sounds like they are there for something to pass the time with, and its what their mates do.
    I get that idea particularly from the last paragraph:
    There is a routine to Friday nights on the coast, a girl from Gosford says, ... "Every single ... night, rain, hail or shine. It's like the teen Mass," one boy said...

    I'm not sure where that leads in terms of reaching them. We can offer meaning, if only their eyes could be made to see their need of it.
    How about pre-CYREVOLUTION evangelism: hang at erina until 7 and ask people if they want to try something new.
    I'm guessing most people would arrive later in the evening, but at least they are more likely to be sober at 7pm...

    I'm out of ideas. :) top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 10:04:00 am  

    good stuff andrew.

    we need to show these teenagers tha meaning and purpose is found in JESUS! Jesus is wehrre the action is at. Jesus can offer what Erina Fair can't!

    Whoever drinks the water from erina fair - will be thirsty again - but whoever drinks the Jesus water will never thirst again!

    i wonder what typeof evangelism we could do down there. good idea with pra event invites...
    but in wonder if it would be good to have a couple of leaders go down and take some core youth dudes down a week before events... stay the whole night... and sit nd chat and talk about Jesus. it would be quite effective... then at end of convo give thme a flyer for event to find out more... etc..

    what do others think? top

  • Anonymous CJ says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 11:19:00 am  

    I read that article yesterday as well. There's also this one from today's SMH which has some more info.

    Kinda scary stuff really. I had no idea the problem was that bad. Will be praying for you guys as you seek to minister to these lost people. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 11:42:00 am  

    hey chris
    thanks for the link to today's article... it looks like a bit of a series.
    i feel some more posts coming!
    thanks for praying.

    these bored teenagers are the same teenagers that run past our youth group and poke their heads in the door laughing.

    it brings me to tears... they don't know what they're doing... they don't know what they're missing... they don't need better public transport they don't need more services they don't need more refuge beds they don't need an education in how to use a condom they don't need to learn where they ought to safely deposit their used syringes THEY NEED JESUS!! THEY NEED A HEART TRANSPLANT!! top

  • Anonymous Andrew says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 4:54:00 pm  

    I like your idea Dave! I'm willing to be a Core member..

    I wonder... maybe this is wishful thinking...
    If Erina Fair considers it a problem and wants to get rid of the teenagers - who knows, they just might let us put up posters. (if they thought it reduced the number of people there)
    I'm thinking something like:
    this top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 5:58:00 pm  

    I like Andrew's idea and his poster.

    But make sure you include in your advertising who you are and some explicit mention of being a Christian / church based activity, to avoid any suggestion by people that they were misled into coming along.

    Otherwise, great idea. And you never know, Erina Fair may well be on your side (though, there is that small thing called the offence of the gospel that sometimes gets in the way ...!) top

  • Anonymous Andrew says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 6:08:00 pm  

    Is this better?

    And do you think the gospel is still offensive to people whose knowledge of Jesus ends at "Love others as you love yourself"? top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 6:18:00 pm  

    Sorry Andrew, I need to take some of that back. I hadn't noticed the "Radically changed by the good news of Jesus" on the previous version.

    But yes the new version makes it even more explicit which is good.

    Again, my apologies. top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 6:22:00 pm  

    As to your question about gospel being offensive, the name of Jesus always has the potential to cause offence. But you may be right - if people think it's all just about loving others then they may be more open to it.

    I guess I had in mind that Christian activities in public arenas (esp universities and the like) are less and less tolerated these days, but Erina Fair may not, like others, be quite so caught up in their own sophisticated intellectual trendiness to take such a stance! I suspect, as you say, they'll probably be happy that you're helping with the teen problem there.

    But we should always be prepared to be knocked back and hated like Jesus himself was, even when doing good. top

  • Anonymous Andrew says so:
    Tuesday, June 05, 2007 7:16:00 pm  

    No, you made a good point. I've also since updated it to include the cost.

    its really just something i pulled together... but if anyone wants it or the photoshop files, email me at hotmale242 [at] hotmail[dot]com

    I reckon its worth a shot at the Erina Fair management.
    A series of posters, with different themes such as pain, boredom, fun ect, could be good, no? top