Where have all the young people gone?

wabbey.jpgI had a great day yesterday at Waverley Abbey on a one day conference entitled “Where have all the young people gone?”
As this is firmly within my exploration ahead of writing the Diocesan Strategy for youth engagement, I thought I’d go along! It was useful to spend a day with Church leaders and Youth Workers who were also exploring this, and to hear what Andy Peck and Martin Saunders were bringing to the discussion.
The day was basically a theological exploration, a cultural and statistical look at the present, then exploring responses, ideas and opportunities. All good stuff and especially helpful to be reflecting with people from a variety of denominations.
As per conversations with a couple of people, I said I’d upload my piece on ‘How to recruit Volunteers’ so here it is. I also said I’d link to the National Council for voluntary youth services through which you can find if you have a local County CVYS.
Mention was made during the day of the Methodist resources around volunteering, and I mentioned the Oxford Diocesan handbook. Martin mentioned the Jan/Feb edition of EA that has an article on “The Missing Generation!” Oh and if you want to explore a bit further the idea of working with a digital generation, this is an excellent article from Tim Davies.
If there is anything else people wanted, please shout.

8 Replies to “Where have all the young people gone?”

  1. interesting title for the conference, i would provocatively and contrevertially suggest that they young people have left, or won’t engage with Church, becuase they don’t equate Church with Jesus, so in as far as programmes are great, alpha, youth alpha are great, they just teach about God and don’t enable an encounter with God. I have recently spoken andsuggested that our country is in the state that it is, not purely because people have turned away from the Church, but because the church has stopped speaking what God wants to tell them. very little do we hear Christian leaders saying, God said to me, or God has said, as it often suggests in the Bible. We are seeing a change here in yorkshire, because young people are encountering god, hearing form him, telling their friends, and their friends are interested, fascintated, wanting more, not more of church, but more of God, interesting thoughts, and i know they are contrevertail, but God does seem to be shifting youthwork from programme to encounter, and this brings a huge challenge to so many fo us, me included.

  2. Yep interesting title. It should of course say “Where has the church gone?” Young people haven’t gone anywhere, thousands of’em all over the place, chuck a rock.

  3. ‘where have all the young people gone’ implies there were here at the start and have subsequently left – which of course is nonsense. The young people of this country have little or no encounter with the church. Lets start with that supposition we might get somewhere click on this link http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/node/272 to listen to what Chris Russell says – as ever clear and challenging

  4. Interesting title ‘Where have all the young people gone?’…they haven’t gone anywhere but maybe we don’t see them because sometimes we are preoccupied with conversion … there is a wonderful exploration of this in’ Walk With Me’.

  5. I concur with most of the above comments. Its a provocative name for a conference, but an inaccurate one. When you dig into the detail it quickly becomes apparent that it is the church that has moved not the young people. Maybe that was the point of the title. I hope so.
    I don’t think there is a magic solution to this. Its fairly a straightforward issue: We are doing vastly less youth work – particularly with unchurched young people – than when I started as a volunteer 20 years ago. Do the maths.

  6. Thanks for the comments everyone. I was pretty sure the title would provoke, I guess as it was aimed at church leaders it was a useful ‘hook’
    Trawling the web I was interested to find that Kenda had been doing some lectures in the States where she used this question as her launching point:
    “What if the problem with the American church is not the youth? What if the problem is the church?”
    See http://exemplarym.wordpress.com/

  7. Ray I agree with you … there seems to be a lack of passion within church communities for youth work especially with non churched young people unless it is connected to evangelism. There are a few visionaries in this area but its an up hill struggle and with money tight and fewer teenage bums on seats it is easy to see why youth work slides down the list.

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