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/ 14 November 2018

The questions we have about young people

Young people sitting down listening

There are always questions about young people on our minds, depending on our experiences, goals and hopes. We decided to ask our email subscribers what was on their minds this summer, to see what the common threads were.

As a team looking to create useful resources to support those working with young people, it seemed like a good idea to find out what was on the minds of our email subscribers.

So we asked a simple questions over the summer:

“What questions are most on your mind when it comes to young people?”

As the answers came back, we started looking for common themes among the questions people had — they fell into two main categories:

Discipleship / lifestyle:

  • How can I faithfully teach the Bible in a way which equips youth to be life long disciples of Jesus?
  • Why is it so hard for young people to “get it” and “go for it” with God?
  • Are they being discipled at home? How can I support that as a youth minister?
  • What are we doing about mental health and well-being? We hear so many horrible stories and stats. How can we help young people navigate this?
  • How do we encourage honesty and healthily questioning the Christian faith, rather than adherence to a ‘code of conduct’?
  • How much should we teach on topical stuff like sexting, social media use, relationships, body image, porn, school and trending topics with verses, teaching the bible deeply?
  • What really matters to young people (it’s too easy to think it’s the future, jobs, sex, etc.)?
  • How does the church shake off legalism and enable young people to step into leadership roles?
  • How do we develop meaningful inter-generational relationships in our church community?
  • How do we help young people serve alongside others of different ages (how do we encourage them to use their gifts, feel able to make mistakes, to learn a life of faith from others walking with them, to experience a mature community of grace not judgement)?
  • What can we learn from many of the inspirational Christian greats who have gone before us, without making young people feel inadequate?
  • How do I engage and retain children between 11-16 in a parish group?

Mission / outreach:

  • How do you get them to come in the first place when they think the Anglican Church is boring?
  • How can church youth work better join up with schools?
  • How do we create a compelling story for schools as to how the church can help young people by mentoring and coaching?
  • How can I up-skill church members to be better at talking with young people?
  • Young people are often key to new movements starting – how can we capitalise on this?
  • How do we build a vibrant Christian YouTube community for young people?
  • If very few young people are now familiar with church, how do christian teenagers reach their friends for Christ?

Interesting questions that didn’t quite sit in either category:

  • Should we shake off liturgical language that seems outdated?
  • How do we sustain youth work when funding and youth workers come and go over the years and try as we might, we have never managed to generate a self-sustaining lay team of leaders?
  • How do we run a monthly event well when it has erratic membership and we don’t have the resources to do it more often?


What next?

If you read all of the above, you must a) really care about young people and b) be looking for the answers too!

The good news is, we’ll be looking to tackle most of these questions in our online content and resources throughout the next year or so. We just thought you’d like to know that you’re not alone in having some of these questions on your mind — and we’re aiming to do everything we can to address them.

If you want to join the growing community of youth workers in our Diocese and know when we tackle these questions, make sure you sign up for updates here.

Look out for resources soon from Capital Youth on working with schools, helping church members connect with young people and helping young people talk to their friends about the Gospel.

About Levi Phillips

Levi is the Creative Lead for Growing Younger, a priority of the 2030 Vision for churches in the Diocese of London. Levi is part of the Children & Youth Support team, volunteers in youth ministry and leads worship at his local church. Levi completed a degree in Applied Theology before working in marketing and design in the corporate space, bringing both worlds together in his current role.

Read more from Levi Phillips

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