It was my enormous privilege to be in Sheffield on Thursday at the Regeneration Summit alongside 150 young people, both the Archbishops, around 40 bishops and 20 youth workers.
THe Summit was billed thusly:
“Regeneration is about a group of young people calling the Church of England to think seriously about how it can better resource, equip and reach young people and offering help to do so”
It was a day therefore of listening and exploring. The programme had been put together by an organising committee that was mainly composed of young people aged around 19 or 20 and was a mixture of fun, process and creative ways of feeding back.
I arrived in the nick of time, a tad under 4 hours door to door, and found I was leading the group work for my alloted group of teens and bishops. It proved to be a good process though and I loved the bunch of secondary school aged young people that made up ‘ group 11’
The things that came through most strongly in our group were:
- Sunday morning is a terrible time if you want to explore Church with young people.
- Stuff in church is aimed at children or adults but always misses out the teenagers
- Faith is not tied to denomination, churches should work together
- Sermons should be more interactive and more connected in with real life
- Faith/Church needs to link more with schools to connect to the needs and realities of young people.
I’m looking forward to seeing the amalgamated feedback from the day but that may take a while. I’m really hoping the day will lead to some bold and strategic adventures.
(What’s in no doubt though is the impact it made on the young people I spoke to)
The day drew together a pledge which those participating were asked to sign:
Regeneration Youth Summit Pledge
Gathered in Sheffield for the Regeneration Summit we are excited by all the positive work with young people across our nation. We rejoice that so many young people are involved in the life of our Church, yet we yearn for more.
As Bishops and Church leaders we pledge ourselves to find new ways to listen to the voices of young people, and encourage… them in their Christian walk. We will work to enable young people’s voices to be heard better both within our Diocese and the national Church. We will seek to find new ways to empower young people both in leadership and ministry. We will endevour to work with colleagues to enable new mission initiatives with young people, and consider if new financial resources can be made available to support these.
As young people gathered at the Regeernation Summit we affirm we will work hard to encourage and support our church leaders. We will pray for our Bishops, and so all we can to bless their leadership amongst us. We will work positively in our local churches, to encouarge our leaders. We plegde ourselves to pray for our friends, and to try to find new ways of sharing our faith with them.
Together, we commit afresh to pray for the Church we love, and to ask God to work a miracle amongst us, that He would use us to help many more young people across England come to a living faith in Jesus Christ.