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Anglican Children and Youth Ministries Commission

Will Generation Alpha
drive a Toyota Hilux? Discuss.

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Julie Ward, Chair, Anglican Children and Youth Ministries Commission

‘What type of car would Peter have if he was here now? I think he’d have a Toyota Hilux with a custom-made big metal toolbox and fishing gear.’ So began Bishop Kate’s sermon at the recent Commencement of the Academic Year service at Wollaston Theological College.

And can’t we all see Peter in his Hilux, weaving in and out of traffic on the Freeway, impatient to get fishing while the conditions are just right? There he goes, impervious to diligent speed limit-abiding drivers, deaf to the swearing at that Hilux and immune to incantations to magic up a police car. The funny thing is, now we can also bring up an image of an older Peter teaching youngsters how to fish and warning of the dangers of buying a too-powerful vehicle whilst on P-plates.

So, what has this image to do with ministry to children and youth? It relates to imagining how things can be different if you set it in the present-day context and generation.

Today’s context is different from earlier years, as the data from the 2022 Federal election and the 2021 census show.

The analysis around the decline of the influence of the Boomer generation and the rise of Gen X, Y and Z in the wash-up to last year’s Federal election provided a telling change in demographics. There are now more people in generations X, Y, Z, and Alpha than in Boomer and Builder generations.

Not only are these younger generations having a seismic impact on Australian elections, but also on our congregations.

They have an impact both through their presence and their absence. And on what car they drive; that is, who they are and their life experience.

Reframing and reimagining while holding to the essential character is something the Management Committee of ACYMC has taken seriously. Last year we began imagining what a Diocesan body entrusted with the promotion and encouragement of ministry to children and youth would look like if we were designing it now for the 2020s and beyond.

We had previously established a vision of “Every parish has children and youth being discipled through the provision of engaging, age-appropriate faith-related activities” as part of our Strategic Plan. Now we put everything to one side and brainstormed passionately.

We learnt three things.

  • Firstly, the vision statement holds up;
  • secondly, the ways of operating in the past belong in the past, and
  • thirdly, you and we need to know the context and generations across multiple levels – diocesan, parochial, state, and local.

So, we think it’s time to gather with as many interested people from parishes and schools as possible and have breakfast and a chat.

We would like you to come and:

  • Talk about the laughter, the tears and the frustrations of children and youth ministry.
  • Make connections.
  • Do a bit of show and tell.
  • Find someone who has run a holiday program, or an after-school session, employed a youth worker, engaged with children and youth in the community, or is looking around wondering where all the children are.
  • Go away with at least one new idea to try.

Think of it as a time for ideas, not solutions, and a time for realistic goals, not magical thinking.

Coming soon. Please keep an eye out for further details.

Anglican Children and Youth Ministries Commission

Anglican Children and Youth Ministries Commission actively supports clergy and lay leaders in the area of children’s and youth ministry.

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