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Youth ministry: Capital Youth

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

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

Now available: VOCALISE

A new resource from Capital Youth, created with young people

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 decided by the young people involved. The video footage was turned into a short session that will help anyone start meaningful conversations with young people in their church.

Latest from Capital Youth

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.

Meet 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.





Two Cities:

  • TBC

Get involved

There are many ways to get involved with Capital Youth. As the grand plan takes shape, we’ll be posting more opportunities and resources, but here are the top ways you can start making a difference in your local community this year:

Engage the vision

Think about what the Capital Youth vision might look like in your church (you could even dedicate a Sunday morning to discussing it with your congregation). Tell us about your vision and your interactions with young people – we want to know what’s going great and what’s challenging in your area.

Change the agenda

Put Capital Youth on the agenda: invite the team to your church, staff meeting or synod, talk about it in your PCC and invite young people to come and share their hopes and needs.

Work with us

Book a free consultation with James Fawcett, our Youth Ministry Advisor, to help start or develop a vision for youth ministry in your parish.

Stay in the loop

Sign up to the Capital Youth newsletter which will keep you up to date with developments and resources as Capital Youth continues.

Join the apprenticeship scheme

Four places are available per year to fund youth and children’s apprentices in parishes across London. Email us if you’re interested in funding someone from your parish.

About the look

Since Capital Youth is starting out initially as a 5-year funded project, we decided it was worth creating something that effectively represented the vision and mission. 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.

Every dot represents a church or individual…as we come together, we create a movement that forms something more solid and dependable. Capital Youth aims to be at the centre of this movement, helping to pave a way forward for young people in our Diocese to truly become co-ministers – active, equal participants in our churches and communities.

More information / FAQs

Capital youth has a clear focus on evangelism and discipleship. There are many projects already ongoing in our Diocese that seek to improve the lives of young people, which is a wonderful thing – Capital Youth seeks to build on this and focus on young people being welcomed into our church communities and engaged 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.

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 if our focus is 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.

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

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.

This is a key investment, and the Diocese has been successful in bidding for a £1.88m investment in Capital Youth from the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund. The Diocese is committed to investing an additional £1.4m, and we will continue to fundraise to support this vision, having already secured funding for four paid workers and an apprentice.

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