Starting from scratch
When there are no young people in your church where do you start...
It can be an age old dilemma, how do we get children and young people through the doors of church?
The less than favourable answer is there is no silver bullet, but it can be done; with intention, commitment and a passionate hope. You may not end up with a youth group of twenty but you might just find you encourage and influence the lives of one or two young people. That in itself may seem discouragingly small, but from Luke 13:18–19 we know that God’s Kingdom, can be like a tiny mustard seed that is planted which them grows into a great tree.
The older we get the more out of touch we can feel with the youngest generations, their interests, language and technology. But time after time different research by the Church of England, Youthscape and Youth for Christ, amongst others shows that the fundamentals never really change. Universally young people want to be accepted; they fear loneliness and rejection and long for relationship, which is authentic, where they are seen, understood and respected.
In the Diocese of Norwich itself, based on population statistics, the smallest number of children and young people in any one parish is approximately 50. This means that where you live there are some families with young people you could be engaging with.
But before engagement comes motivation. Why do you want to reach out to young people in the first place? There are a whole host of legitimate reasons we want to see our churches congregations strengthened in number, but the primary focus must be on sharing the good news of Jesus. Ask yourself the question and learn to articulate ‘What is the good news or gospel, and what does it mean to me?’ What difference does it make to your life, that you would want to communicate to others?
Leading Your Church into Growth is an organisation that offers training and resources to support churches – they have a framework based on 4P’s.
Prayer – develop a heart for those your wish to reach by praying for them, by name, regularly.
Presence – find a way to be present with young people, go where they are or start a simple drop in or event such as a film night.
Proclamation – present the Gospel as good news – learn to talk about your faith.
Persuasion – you proclaim the Gospel…some are not interested…but some are. How do you help those who are interested and want to know more?
Can you develop a space where young people can discover:
– Authentic relationships
– A place to belong
– A place to ask questions
– A place to hear how the good news of Jesus has made a difference to people in your community.
To explore some of these ideas further you may like to join us at our One Big Day Conference on 30th April 2022 DofN.org/One-Big-Day or Contact Jonathan Richardson
Encounter is a regional Christian youth event for young people in school years 6-13, from King's Lynn and the surrounding area. The evening starts with a café and tuck shop, with games and activities, followed by some worship, challenges, messy games, a talk, discussion and time to reflect.
Encounter – a city-wide worship event for young people
Join Bishop Graham on a pilgrimage to the Taizé community in Burgundy, France this summer – with thousands of young adults from across the world, for an experience like no other.
Establish is a series of teaching, reflection, mentoring and residential activities to help young people grow as Christian leaders in their school, church, and communities. We will be exploring leadership through the wisdom and encouragement found in the Bible in 1 and 2 Timothy. The series is designed for young people ages 14 to 18, who have a growing faith and want to go deeper.
Join us for this unique youth event for young people from across Norfolk and Waveney. Youth leaders are invited to bring young people in school years 6-13 to experience the Cathedral in an entirely new light.
Pack your bags for a fun packed weekend at the Horstead Centre! Meet with other young people, hang out with friends and make new ones.