Time to Talk
Youth Advisers across Chelmsford Diocese arranged for more than 100 youth to meet together, and with senior clergy, to discuss how youth should be integrated in church. After much discussion they gave a set of top tips;
However, the offered so much more and also indicated what churches might do to facilitate these Top Tips:
Collaboration between churches:
Find a Church/ Churches near you who you would like to collaborate and share ideas with. Support each other – consider setting up joint youth groups if you’re low on numbers. Leaders – this will allow you to divide the workload between you. If you have a well-established youth ministry, consider mentoring and sharing your resources with a Church with little or no youth ministry
Food is always a good incentive and encourages socialising, for example, you could try an evening café-style service- Young people love the contemporary café-style twist!!
Joint events, advertising and networking with other Churches also encourage the youth and is great for them to meet other young Christians.
Ask the youth what they would like to do – sports, worship, beach BBQs, crafts etc.
Communication with youth:
Take what your youth says seriously and consider prayerfully – follow through with their ideas, and if you can’t, feed back to them and explain why
Listen and respond
Have conversations with them casually and they’ll be more open to discuss issues and suggestions with you
Building relationships with them is important – be approachable!
Integration – making youth feel part of the Church:
We are proud of our identity as a youth group, but we are also proud to be a part of the Church all together. It would be great to find even more ways to worship together.
Church leaders – we love it when you take an active interest in the youth work. We know you are busy but we are a part of the Church, please give us the opportunity to get involved too.
Keep youth in the picture and keep them updated about Church decisions
We appreciate the traditions of the church, and want to support the leadership; but we as young people would like more variation in the style of worship and various aspects of church life.
Commitment to youth:
Provide opportunities for mission
Show us how to ‘survive’ as a Christian
Share testimonies on how you thrive as a Christian in your workplace etc. in a society which doesn’t always accept Christianity
Involve and aware the congregation of visions and ideas through prayer and inviting members of the congregation to step up as youth leaders and organisers
Be effective role models and let us walk together in our faith journeys
And finally… PRAY at the beginning, during and after
Nothing particularly new or revolutionary, but good, solid, basic, simple, achievable advice. There's a time to talk and there's also a time to listen.