Blog — 13th December 2022
Have you have heard of our exciting BA (Hons) course focussing on ministry to youth and the wider community? The degree-level vocational and professional pathway builds on student’s prior experiences and equips Christian youth and community workers for a range of ministries like urban mission, prison ministry, and youth ministry in international contexts.
We asked two graduates from the BA (Hons) in Theology (Youth and Community), Samuel Klemperer and Courtney Smith, to talk about their experience at NTC, their current ministries, and to give some advice for those interested in the youth course.
Samuel Klemperer is currently on a three month mission placement in Mallorca. He is working full-time at a church and its community learning hub in Palma. Samuel shares that “the youth course has shaped me in many ways. At the moment, lessons on cultural differences and informal education have been a great help in connecting relevantly and effectively with young people. Overwhelmingly, practice connecting with young people during my placement was the most crucial aspect of preparation for my current ministry role.”
Samuel’s reflected on his favourite aspect of the youth course, the key importance of the course leaders in shaping his positive experiences: “The availability of legendary youth work practitioners who, within a sentence or two, could bridge the gap between theory and reality or ask a pertinent question that caused you to reinvent your practice over the following weeks.”
Klemperer offered Proverbs 3:5-6 as advice and for future students interested in the programme:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
“Overwhelmingly, practice connecting with young people
during my placement was the most crucial aspect of preparation for my current ministry role.”
Samuel Klemperer, BA (Hons) Youth & Community (2022)
Courtney Smith is currently ministering in Oldham through a community café called Soul Café. “I and a few others from our local Eden Network, an urban missions organisation that focuses on deprived neighbourhoods, opened a community café in the centre of Oldham, Greater Manchester. The café is open five days a week, and the rest of the building was transformed into a youth space and music studio for local young people.”
Courtney notes how busy Soul Café at the moment: “In addition to our normal café schedule, we have several youth nights and community events pencilled in for the next few months.” But even amongst the busy schedules and event planning, Courtney still keeps her ministry’s ultimate purpose in mind as she works. “We ensure that everything we do fits into discipleship, fellowship, or evangelism.”
Course Experiences Key for Future Ministry
Courtney reflected on her experience in the Youth and Community course with overwhelming positivity: “The Youth and Community course provided me with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to do what I am currently doing in the café every day.” In addition, Courtney says she incorporates aspects of the course into her daily work. “I have taken something out of every unit: how to write strong funding applications, how to be contextually aware, and how to ensure my practice is anti-oppressive.”
Like Samuel, Courtney believes her placement experiences were vital to her current ministry. “My main placement and alternative placement were essential in giving me experience in different aspects of youth work. I also had the opportunity to build strong partnerships with other youth projects and organisations in Oldham that I continue to partner with through the café. I finished my course with experience in school work, outreach work, church projects, and local borough-wide youth work.”
When asked about her favourite aspect of the youth course, Courtney reflected on the ups and downs of the robust academic experience she had. “Despite it being the hardest part of the entire three years, my favourite part of my time at NTC, other than meeting some incredible people, was writing my dissertation. I learned so much from my research, and it inspired me to continue the work that I’ve been doing.”
Courtney also has advice for anyone interested in the Youth and Community course, especially once they find a placement. “Make the most out of your placement, and don’t be afraid to ask your line manager for help or advice It is a learning process and will take time, but, once I found the confidence to have those conversations with my line manager and the other youth workers, I quickly saw improvement in my own youth work practice and ability.”
“The Youth and Community course provided me with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to do what I am currently doing in the café every day.”
Courtney Smith, BA (Hons) Youth & Community (2022)
Your Next Steps
If you still want to learn more…
Register for an admissions event where we can talk about NTC’s programmes and how to apply. We can talk about your admissions journey and personalise advice to your specific situations.
If you want to talk to the course leads…
Anna Whitfield and James Hunter would be happy to speak with you. You can email Anna directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and James at email@example.com with any informal enquiries. Anna also directs the MA in Theology pathway called Community Development and Social Change for those looking to continue their education. You can read more about students’ engagement with the community in a previous blogpost here.