Nurturing early growth

Author: Mr Jonathan Richardson

Published on: 14 December 2021

Where are the spaces in your community that enable faith conversation to flourish?

During lockdown young people were the key players in terms of connecting with one another – how can we realise the potential of young people to share the Good News?

Across the country there are early signs of a new type of growth in youth and children’s ministry. In part as a result of the recent pandemic, but also picking up on a movement which was already underway, there is a growing recognition of the need to engage with people where they are. At the same time, we have seen restrictions in access to those places. According to Dan Randall, from Hope Together UK, young people are saying, “we’re the ones going into schools – we are the ones that need equipping” – something we call peer to peer evangelism or chaplaincy. A critical part of nurturing early growth in Christians of all ages is equipping them to be secure in talking about their own faith and be confident in describing their own understanding in relation to the questions their peers may throw at them.

Peer to peer evangelism can happen quite naturally in an environment where people are safe and encouraged. Therefore, it’s important to create opportunities for mission and provide space for people to practise communicating their faith. It is not about expecting young people to do everything but journeying with them and standing beside them; work with leaders to enable opportunities to try it out so they can gain experience and confidence.

Peer to peer does not mean expecting each age group to look after itself – we are all peers of one another and need to take the role of both learner and teacher. As we are reminded by the apostle Paul writing to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” 1 Timothy 4.12.

In many ways there is not much new in this, as it mirrors well the learning and recommendations of the ‘Rooted in the Church’ report from 2018 see

You might like to:

  • Create a space where young people can post things online about their faith, using a church account rather than their own, so they can try it out without fear of social media shaming.
  • Approach the local school to see if you can help facilitate some faith discussions.
  • Create opportunities in church to discuss difficult questions and learn to articulate your faith and beliefs.
  • Get a group together to attend the Youth Evangelism Conference see

The encouraging thing is that, although through lockdown we have seen people leave, the young people that are left are more determined to still be attached to church, and they may be more fearless…

The author...

Mr Jonathan Richardson

Children, Youth & Families Development Officer

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