Build a Youth Group
If you have a regular youth group / youth service in place, well done! You’re doing well.
The next steps are to consider how you are engaging with the families and young people from your nearest schools (Anglican and otherwise), and how you are integrating young people into the life of your Church generally.
An acronym we sometimes use to reflect upon the presence of young people within a faith community is “PINS”, which stands for:
Very briefly, this means we look for signs of children and youth participating in the life of the church, including the Eucharist; being part of the integration of all generations in its work; being engaged in content and activities which are clearly normatively Anglican; and at the same time, being part of a parish which shows sensitivity to their needs. I often say it is a matter of ‘give and take’ – the youth should not be asking to take over everything, but nor should they be deliberately or unwittingly excluded.
It is now clear that life’s transition points are very important for YCF Ministry – if these points are not handled well, they become times when it is easy for young people to ‘drop out’ of Church altogether.
Find ways to bridge gaps from where children’s ministry finishes and youth ministry commences in your parish. Start with the groups you have and build stepping stones for them.
Do you have any ‘rite of passage’ ceremonies?
Do you encourage parent involvement throughout children’s ministry and into youth ministry?
Develop Young People As Leaders:
Invite young people into ‘adult’ parish groups e.g. Parish Council, liturgy teams and community activities.
Support and formation in these positions will foster leadership potential. Identify particular ministries where young people may be able to make a significant contribution, e.g. children’s ministry, liturgy, community outreach, etc.
Encourage young people to take responsibility for their own projects. Provide ongoing support and mentoring.
Develop A Mission-Shaped Mindset:
Young people often have a strong sense of social justice, so offering them opportunities to engage in outreach, within the understanding of the Christian call to mission, can help young people develop a sense of purpose.
It is worth making the point to them that Mission can be carried out everyday, as well as through specific social justice, community service and mission agencies, such as AnglicareSQ. Our website lists many Anglican and wider opportunities for service and mission activities, for individuals and groups.
Employ A Parish Youth Minister:
The employment of a paid Youth Minister on a full-time, part-time or casual basis almost always gives a big boost to parish youth ministry.
It would be more accurate to term this person the Youth Ministry Coordinator, as to be effective, he or she will need the support and involvement of a wider team, the support of the parish, and good management from the parish leadership.
Our AYCF Ministries team is totally available to assist your parish with all steps of the process, including recruitment, training and supervision, as well as walking with you through the requirements of Diocesan Regulation XV (see our ‘Becoming a Youth Worker’ page).