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Youth ministry: Capital Youth

A vision to see young people welcomed, experiencing God and engaging in faith in every parish

Capital Youth is the Diocese of London’s 5-year plan to boost the number of young people engaged by our church communities in evangelism and discipleship. Read below for an overview of Capital Youth and to see what the initiative has accomplished so far.

There has never been a more important time for the church in London to be engaging young people and drawing them into communities of faith.

There are estimated to be over 340,000 young people aged 11-18 in our Diocesan area, yet only 2,000 attend our churches on Sundays. As a Diocese, we need to be doing more to connect with and minister to this generation. Young people are growing up never experiencing the transforming love of Christ, or the support of a local church community.

Capital Youth is an opportunity to be more radical; for people across the Diocese to increase the focus on young people as part of our ministry, and see this work as too important to delegate or avoid.

“It is wonderful to see young people becoming confident about their faith and how they set about transforming the world because of their knowledge of the love of God in Jesus Christ. We long to see more young people encounter the love we have come to know. For this to happen, the church needs to be open to transformation, meeting young people where they are in relevant ways. Capital Youth presents a great opportunity for us.”
+Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London

Capital Youth Initiatives

The Capital Youth team work with people around our Diocese to create relevant, practical resources that directly address the challenges we face as a Diocese. Some of these are downloadable materials, some are courses. Our aim is to make things that help our communities make an impact. Feel free to download the resources created so far below and feel free to email us at youth@nulllondon.anglican.org if you have an idea for a resource that every church could use.

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NEW: Vocalise

Created by young people to help you kickstart new conversations

Created in partnership with Ambassadors, VOCALISE is a series of short videos filmed by five young people exploring Christianity. The questions are simple, the answers are unscripted and the footage was shot by young people. These videos will help anyone start meaningful conversations with young people in their church.

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Children and Youth Ministry Apprenticeship

Training children and youth workers from within our communities

With funding support from the BLMF, Apprentices are employed by the Diocese and work within a parish for three years, enabling parishes to significantly expand or develop their youth and children’s ministry. We have four funded places available each year.

Launchpad

Contextual youth ministry training for clergy

Although some people become ordained having previously been a youth or children’s worker, most reach their first incumbency having had zero training or experience in working with young people. This course, developed in partnership with Youthscape, helps clergy start or develop youth work in their parish relevant to their context, with support and teaching from experienced practioners along the way. Find out more on Youthscape’s website.

If you would like to attend a Launchpad course, speak to your Area Bishop.

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The Spark Fund

Helping young people start missional projects

The Spark Fund helps 12-25s in the Diocese of London run missional projects that share the Christian faith with teenagers. With support from professional creatives and a youth worker or vicar, young people develop their idea into a plan, pitch to receive a grant of £500 or more, then run their project.

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Young People and the Church: The Ideation Session

Brilliant strategies for being a bit more welcoming

Created in collaboration with Church Times cartoonist Dave Walker, this adaptable session will help your church figure out some suitable and feasible things you could try to welcome and engage young people more. Have a laugh and generate meaningful discussion with your PCC, small group or leadership team.

Confirmed

Confirmed: Your Four-Week Journey to Confirmation

An adaptable course to prepare young people for confirmation

This course from the Youth Minster team at Christ Church W4 covers key Christian disciplines in a way that young people can easily understand and try for themselves. This free resource pack gives you everything you need to run the course, including print and slide templates, cheat sheets and instructions for ordering the badges. There is no charge for the resource pack but you’ll need to pay for your own badges.

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Getting Started in Schools

How to build relationships and help schools fulfil RS requirements

This booklet written by Kathryn Kane, Mary Kok and Alex Taylor shares insights from the Kensington Schools Mission and those working in schools to bring you a range of tips, examples and guidance on building relationships and developing activities, including how to use OFSTED curriculum requirements to create an offer that’s hard for schools to turn down.

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About Capital Youth

The Team

The team behind Capital Youth have a range of skills – we aim to support people across our Diocese as best we can within each role.

Sam Donoghue
Head of Children and Youth Ministry Support

Liz Adekunle
Archdeacon of Hackney,
Project Sponsor

Jenny Barnard
Project Manager and Culture Lead

Levi Phillips
Creative Lead

Katie O’Conor
Apprenticeship Programme Coordinator

James Fawcett
Youth Ministry Advisor

Youth Advocates

Working in their Episcopal areas, Youth Advocates focus on bringing about the vision, working with parishes to help people see what they can do and stir excitement about youth ministry, helping churches welcome young people and build engagement.

Willesden:

Edmonton:

Stepney:

Kensington:

Two Cities:

  • TBC

The Vision

As a Diocese, our vision is to see young people welcomed, experiencing God and engaging in faith in every parish.

A vision as big as this requires big plans – which is why, over five years, we’re investing over £3.1m in developing sustainable, innovative youth ministry across every area of our Diocese.

Capital Youth aims to transform our Diocese into a place where many different expressions of youth ministry take place. Our future is one where:

  • Young people are advocating for themselves
  • Young people feel welcomed and valued by the whole community
  • Senior leaders demonstrate that young people are a priority
  • The whole community feels confident and equipped to engage young people

The Mission

Capital Youth isn’t a programme run from Diocesan HQ; it’s an opportunity for every person in our Diocese to become confident in realising a vision for young people in their community; it’s an opportunity to work together as a diocese to have an impact on younger generations, helping them explore and discover faith for themselves within the support of local community.

As part of Capital Vision 2020 – the vision for the Diocese of London since 2013 – a target was set to “double the number of young people involved in local Christian community”.

Whilst this was always a stretch-goal (the last time this happened was around the turn of the 18th Century with the founding of Sunday Schools) and would have been an incredible win if achieved by 2020, Sunday attendance across the Diocese has remained around the same. However, we believe it is possible through continued innovation, prayer and transformation of the church, so Capital Youth’s renewed mission is to carry this objective forwards and support the church in striving towards this reality.

Capital Youth will transform our Diocese in three main ways:

Awareness. Storytelling. Possibility. Accessibility.

Through storytelling and resources, Capital Youth will inspire fresh ideas and confidence in churches on how to engage young people. By profiling young leaders and innovative projects, we’ll help church communities discover what could be done in their parish or area. We’ll also raise awareness of the needs and hopes of young people in our churches and surrounding communities.

Vision. Strategy. Support. Acceleration.

By helping churches build on existing vision, strategy and culture at a local level, Capital Youth will accelerate bringing young people to the heart of our communities. By making resources and local support accessible, churches of all capacities will be able to build something that works for their context.

Listening. Hospitality. Leadership. Community.

Capital Youth is about creating a culture in our Diocese where young people are listened to, welcomed unconditionally and everyone is involved – from the senior leadership of the Diocese prioritising youth ministry, to the simple act of church members making an effort to know young people in their church.

We’ll support churches practically in doing this, encouraging local ownership and innovation. We want to end the story about young people leaving our churches and instead see them thriving in our communities.

The Meaning Behind the Logo

We decided it was worth creating something that effectively represented the vision and mission and Capital Youth. We wanted to ensure that everything about Capital Youth speaks to the power of working together to frame important issues and opportunities surrounding young people in our Diocese, in a way that feels believable and feasible.

Each dot in the logo represents a church, or individual. As we come together to pool our thinking, resources and efforts, like the dots in our logo, we create something more solid, consistent and dependable. Capital Youth’s aim is to start this kind of movement, helping to pave a way forward for everyone in our Diocese to truly become co-ministers with Christ and each other – active, equal participants in our churches and communities.

FAQs

Capital Youth has a clear focus on evangelism and discipleship towards 11-18s. There are already many projects ongoing in our Diocese that seek to improve the lives of young people, which is wonderful – Capital Youth seeks to build on this and focus on young people being welcomed into every church community and engaging in faith.

Youth Advocates play a significant role in helping and advising parishes in their area to explore ways in which they can engage with young people.

They are nominated by their area Bishop to lead the work on culture change; focusing on the 4 key areas of Listening, Hospitality, Leadership and Community.

Youth Advocates are clergy or youth ministers who have experience in and a passion for working with young people. They seek to actively listen to and represent the views of young people in London, so that decisions at all levels of our diocese are taken with consideration of how they will impact on young people.

Youth Advocates celebrate examples of successful youth ministry in the Diocese. In doing so they generate enthusiasm, encouraging others to get involved and maintaining momentum for Capital Youth.

Each Youth Minster is accountable for growing large numbers for their context and resourcing others to reach young people.

  • St Andrew’s Enfield: leading in discipleship and transitions from children’s to youth work in a traditional liturgical context. Looking at how to be intentional in relational work
  • St Peter’s Harrow: seeking to model serving one specific deanery, where there are already several churches with youth groups, as a resourcing hub
  • Holy Trinity Brompton: an already-large church seeking to grow and provide models of resourcing others
  • Christ Church W4: a partnership with The Message Trust and Latimer Minster as part of a multi-site church with one venue given totally to youth work
  • St Saviour’s Sunbury: a minster based on mission to secondary schools

There is already a great deal of focus — both in church and community schools — on improving the lives and developing the spirituality of young people. However, this has not resulted in many teenagers wanting to be part of our churches. Our latest research with 300 parishes shows no statistical link between a parish having a church school and higher numbers of young people. Therefore, we need to seek other ways of reaching young people to go alongside our ministry in schools, especially with our focus on evangelism.

We have found through research into all Mission Fund giving, and the pilot of apprentices in the Willesden Area, that an apprenticeship scheme is the most reliable way we can fund ongoing youth work in a parish. The emphasis of our apprenticeship scheme on training a local young person and supporting them in post, has proven far more successful than the conventional model of recruiting youth workers on the open market, who are often from outside London and take time to find their feet.

The data we have shows very low numbers of young people being part of our churches. This tells us that a new and radical approach is needed and that we don’t have the answers within our current experience, and so we have looked outside as well as inside the Diocese for ideas.

A large amount of consultation was carried out: we visited several key, growing youth evangelism projects to see how they were achieving this and to learn from them. We consulted a experts in the field including groups of youth workers from London, and we made use of existing reports that we have commissioned within the Diocese including the Bishop of London’s Mission Fund ten year anniversary report, and the external review of the Hackney Missioner project. We tested ideas with a number of groups, including our youth advocates.

In addition, we surveyed over 300 churches in the Diocese to establish the existing state and needs of youth ministry which reinforced our approach.

For this key investment the Diocese of London was successful in bidding for £1.88m of funding from the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund. The Diocese of London committed to invest an additional £1.4m on top of this and will continue to fundraise to support the vision for the BLMF Apprenticeship programme.

If you have any other questions about Capital Youth, feel free to email the youth ministry support team at youth@nulllondon.anglican.org.