How do we start youth and children’s work?

Do you have a heart for youth and children but don’t know where to start?

In the last meeting of the Mission Board, Andy Hughes from Urban Saints suggested some answers to common questions raised by people who want to do something to reach youth and children.

These questions can be used to start a discussion at your church or association.

1) What is needed to start something new? – A personal faith in Jesus; a big heart for the work; time and commitment; two or three other people (it’s better to work as a team); a suitable venue to meet; insurance; DBS.

2) What are the things people think is needed but are not at all necessary? – To be young (one does not have to be young to work with youth!); experience; a degree in Theology; the ability to run; trendy attire (the important thing is to be yourself).

3) What are the important things? – To make disciples (because that is what Jesus has taught us to do); build relationships with families; begin with the people we know and ask them what would appeal to them; create small groups because they work better.

4) Where will we meet? – Chapels aren’t always suitable.  Vestries are usually good but they can sometimes be cold and dangerous.  Village halls are better in some circumstances. WE are the church and not the building, so what about joining with other churches to form a children’s/youth work?

5) Age – What are we going to start? – Clubs for Mums and tots, Parenting Course for adults, Children’s Club or Sunday school? Maybe you will start with 7-11 year olds but what happens next year? What about the ones who are 11?  Continue working with them is what’s important and raising the age when necessary – being ready to adjust to the needs of the people you have. It’s also important to work with families as well.

6) What further training and help is needed? – There are many resources available and training sessions for churches and associations are on offer.

 

A few other important points:

*One must ask what God wants us to do in our communities.

*It’s important that we reach entire families as children grow up and move away. It’s important therefore to aim at the young parents and not just the children. A major weakness of the model that we have now is that we have divided into age groups. All ages attended Sunday schools years ago but now children are just dropped there and the separation becomes bigger all the time.

*There is no need to get rid of our heritage but rather make it accessible to a generation of church by starting with what works for us.

* Offering our service in the schools is a good starting point.

 

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