Church youth work is in decline in many denominations - not just because of changing social and cultural norms, but because the ways of doing youth ministry are out-dated and ineffective. Groups of teenagers meeting weekly in a church hall to play games and hear a talk doesn't create the kind of space that works. Young people are voting with their feet and many churches are having to think again about howe they organise their youth work.
Whilst caring relationships, having fun and building community remain fundamental to work with young people, the spaces in which it takes place demands review. That's why Youthscape have developed the Collaborative Youth Work Project - a three year programme running in Luton to explore new models with churches willing to experiment and explore what needs to be different.
The aim is to explore and pilot different approaches, working closely with the Youthscape Centre for Research and our Innovation Team. We want to listen carefully to what young people want and need, and develop models and approaches that meet their needs and help them grow in faith.
A new kind of partnership...
In October 2018, Youthscape launched the first phase of the project, placing workers in several Luton churches. Each setting provides a different context for youth work, from those churches with busy, long-running ministries to those just beginning or seeking renewal. The vision is that at the end of three years, Youthscape will release a national resource, drawing on this local work, that can offer successful youth work to other churches across the UK.