In this month's edition of Generations, the regular mailing for all who minister among children, young people and families, the team of Discipleship Enablers share their conversations with young people across the diocese.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord
It will be of no surprise to any of you that the Discipleship Enabler Team all love hanging out with children and young people.
Yvonne recently had the joy of visiting a family service in Dorchester which was focused on pets and caring for creation. In the congregation were 20 adults, ten children, nine dogs and a variety of cuddly non-breathing animals. The service brought to life ‘let everything that has breath praise the Lord’, in a glorious and beautiful way, but it was particularly noticeable how thrilled the children (and the adults) were to be asked during the service about their pets and why they’re so special to the family. This provided a springboard for conversation afterwards too and connected the generations in easy storytelling.
Give youth a chance
Ian has also been out and about visiting churches in Berkshire, where he recently got talking with two young people aged 12 and 14. To the question ‘What do you want to say to churches?’ they responded; “Give youth a chance, trust us, listen to us,” and then added, “Involve us!” Ian promised to pass that on, so we’re honouring that commitment in sharing with you.
Another young person we had contact with, Jess (aged 12) from Milton Keynes was asked ‘Why does the Church need to listen to you?’ She replied;
“Because we're the next generation and we should have our say. We have different opinions than other ages and it's good to hear us.”
When pressed on ‘how the Church could listen’, Jess said “We could help with the talk and prayers and stuff... Start small and get bigger.”
Words into actions
Recognising, including and involving children and young people as fellow pilgrims on this incredible journey of faith with all their insights, stories and desire to give of themselves and be part of things is the central tenet of the first of the five shifts in Disciples Together. Virtually every church the Discipleship Enablers visit will say ‘yes, children and young people are important to us’. And that is undoubtedly true. However, we believe there is a challenge to us all to transform the words into meaningful interactions and relationships. Ian thanked the young people for their time and insight and was surprised that they wanted to thank him too – they loved being listened to and having the opportunity to share.
This month's edition of Generations is packed full of information to resource your ministry with children, young people and families. Pour a cuppa, get your diary out and have a read. Don't forget to hit subscribe too.