This page is a list of resources, links and ideas to help with ministry to children, young people and families. Our Discipleship Enablers are available for specific advice or questions that you may have.
Relationship is key
The feedback from families and young people has been how much they appreciate contact. Visits, phone calls and - from one church - handwritten postcards all help to connect, support, listen and to maintain a two-way relationship. If there are families or young people you have lost connection with, it’s not too late to be in touch; to ask how it is going, how the church can support them, and what you can be praying for. Check out our 'Six Things' resource sheets below.
Six things you can do now...
Schools have faced huge challenges this year, and many churches feel they have lost connection; here are some ideas to strengthen your connections with pupils and school staff alike:
To support parents and carers as they nurture faith at home, here are six ways of noticing and acknowledging God in everyday family life and activity:
The Church, as an all-age community of grace, has a long history of making a difference among young people. Six ways to connect or reconnect today:
Intergenerational relationships benefit and support the whole community; here are some ideas to strengthen your connections with families and bring people together:
The Church becomes intergenerational when generations participate together, learn from each other, talk and listen, and co-create:
Lockdown has been really hard for these families. Here are ways you can help them now:
Can we run groups and meet up with young people?
- For useful Covid aware practice guidelines see the National Youth Agency
Mental health and wellbeing
- Headstrong: Resources for young people
- Young Minds: Resources for young people
Young people's ministry
Useful resources for young people's ministry
- Zoom: Guidance for online youth work
- Zoom: Using Zoom for discussion groups
- Zoom: Discussion guide - Encountering God during suffering
- Zoom: Games for Zoom groups
- Socially-distanced games
The Contemplative Toolkit
Drawing together wisdom from ancient Christian practices, the Contemplative Toolkit provides an invaluable way to slow down and reflect in these busy times. Space Makers is the version used by schools in the Diocese of Oxford, and a family edition will be published in the coming months.
Resources to help churches connect with their local schools:
- A good church-school relationship
- Volunteering in schools
- Questions to ask when volunteering in a school
- School acronyms
- Coping with Bereavement and Loss - Oxford Diocese Board of Education (ODBE) schools resource
- GodVenture - prayer and activity magazines
- Be Space
- Diddy Disciples
- Bible Chat Mat - Diocese of Bath and Wells
- Scripture union
- ROOTS on the web
- Going for Growth - links to resources
Family and intergenerational resources
When someone who a child knows well dies, their world changes in an instant. The temptation is to try to protect children from the effects of grief and facing the stark reality of death. However, the reality is that children need to know about death and to be supported in helping them work out responses and to deal with their own grief. These resources are offered for anyone supporting a child at this time.
- Supporting children through loss and bereavement - an excellent resource produced by the Diocese of Birmingham
- Good Grief - the steps to 'good grief' from the Fuller Youth Institute
- Trauma and grief - resources and tips to help children cope with trauma and grief.
Here you'll find resources to help you generally with children's ministry.
Events around the world recently have brought the issue of racism to the forefront of our thinking and prayers. In our ministry with children and families we must welcome and affirm all and be careful not to demonstrate bias based on race or ethnicity (nor gender, sexuality, disability or anything else that is hurtful or causes unnecessary division). All people are made in God’s image. All people reflect God’s image somehow – isn’t that just beautiful? Here are some links to resources, books and organisations to help if you are exploring how to approach this issue with children.
Talking with children
Rachel Turner and our friends at Parenting for Faith have produced a great set of resources entitled How can we talk to our children and teens about injustice? These contain helpful bible stories to examine racism and discrimination, helpful ways to open up conversations and ways to pray.
Helpful for adults to stimulate thinking
Rev Dr Kate Coleman: Are you M.A.D. with the world?
Henry Zonio: Why we must start talking about race in our children’s ministries Henry also contributes a thoughtful and challenging chapter entitled Normalising white spirituality in children’s Sunday school curricula in an excellent book Bridging Theology and Practice in Children’s Spirituality, edited by Mimi Larson and Robert Keely. There is also a chapter by Karen F Williams, Colouring outside the lines: A conversation about racial diversity and the spiritual lives of children. Again, very thought provoking stuff! She says;
“Being in a setting devoid of racial diversity only gives children a partial vision of the kingdom of God” (p61).
My colleague Margaret Pritchard Houston in St Alban’s Diocese has got a great Pinterest page on this issue with lots of resources, pictures and ideas.
One of the major ways churches can show discrimination is in the choice of storybook bibles there are available for children to use and look at. Examine the picture in the books – do they reveal God’s glorious diversity among his human creations, or are the people mostly white-looking? Offering books for children that offer more diverse imagery is just one way of normalising diversity and tackling racism.
Desmond Tutu: Children of God Storybook Bible
Shine On: A Story Bible has lots of curriculum resources, including some new intergenerational resources to explore justice.
Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible
Show Racism the Red Card is a UK charity using education and sport to tackle racism. This video is very powerful. Anne O’Conner, leading consultant on early years, offers some thoughts about tackling racism in nursery settings helpful for churches running toddler groups.
Baptism and early years faith information
- Parenting for Faith
- Parenting Children (from Alpha)
- New Wine events and courses
- Positive Parenting (from Care for the Family)
- Kids Matter
Fostering and adoption
- Home for Good
- PACT - Visit their website or see more information here
- Armistice and Remembrance with children
- Lent and Easter resources for children
- Alternatives to Halloween
- Trick or Treat?
- Crib Service - on Zoom
In this diocese, we are delighted that around 36% of parishes and benefices have adopted policy so that baptised children can be admitted to receive communion before they are confirmed. We know that this practice enables children to feel a greater sense of belonging in and to the Church and their faith, which in turn can deeply influence how they live out their faith longer term.
We also hear anecdotes and stories of how enabling children to receive communication has touched adults in congregations and even re-awakened something in them of the deep mystery of the sacrament. If we are seeking to grow together as intergenerational communities of faith, ensuring all baptised members of the Church are able to receive communion is a significant step.
Steps of the process:
- Talk with your PCC to introduce the need and the idea.
- Consult with the congregation about it, including children, young people and families.
- Liaise with the discipleship enablers about your plans, proposed process and to discuss any resources you need.
- In consultation with the discipleship enablers, finalise your policy (see a sample policy).
- PCC must formally adopt a policy.
- A written application must be made to your area bishop.
Please do contact Yvonne Morris with any questions you have or help you need about this.