Reaching Young People

New ideas for your youth ministry

Alex Taylor

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Helping you reach young people in your community

Ten inspirational stories to help churches and youth workers explore new approaches to mission and ministry to young people. Each section focuses on a particular initiative and includes a set of guidelines for how to apply the principles in your own context.

  • Hanging around ministry
  • Sorted
  • The Feast
  • Rural bus ministry
  • Celebrate Life
  • The Lab
  • Wide Open
  • Hope MK
  • ConfiDANCE
  • Messy Church

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Author info

Alex Taylor is an experienced youth worker and writer. He has been involved in youth work for almost 20 years, in a variety of churches and settings. For twelve years, he worked for Scripture Union as an editor and creative developer. He has also written for Youth for Christ and Youthwork Magazine, as well as Scripture Union. He leads Curtains Up, a performing arts-themed residential for 13- to 17-year-olds.


Review from The Church of Ireland Gazette - 21 August 2015.

This book recounts 10 stories of different approaches taken to engage young people where their attendance at, and participation with, traditional Church are limited.

Following each description (e.g. schools work, skate park, caf inistry, rural bus outreach worship ... ), there are some application points or questions for readers to consider, for example, whether a particular approach described has something to offer for their context.

The overriding focus here is relationship building in the young people's normal context (be that skate park, caf r school). Instead of asking young people to attend a different context before relationships are formed, it's more 'we go to them', rather than expect 'them to come to us'.

These stories have an important contribution to make at a time when (according to the 2013 census) only 7% of those attending church are 12 to 18-year-olds and 6% are 19 to 30-year-olds in the Church of Ireland.

Readers may be looking around in their churches asking what they could do for young people in their area, and these stories may help with ideas and encouragement to try something out.

The freshness of many of these approaches is hugely encouraging. Hearing of stories that are running in areas of limited resources can help us to break out of negative thinking, "I would love to do this kind of work, but don't have the time/money/expertise ... ", towards asking: "What can we do with what we have?"

A good example of this is the Kerygma Trust - a bus ministry providing outreach and worship services for rural villages partnering with local churches to provide a worship space that churches on their own could not do. Could this be part of the way forward for rural churches in Ireland struggling to know how to disciple young people in their church and area?

Also of note is 'The Lab', a multi-denominational gathering of young adults across Newport, South Wales. Here, young adults in the vital 16-30 age range gather over a meal to share faith and life, with discussion around a Bible topic, some sung worship and occasional communion.

A big learning point here for me was hearing how young leaders were facilitated and equipped to serve, bringing their creativity and enthusiasm to the project and building ownership along the way. The question of how disciplemaking extends beyond the youth age is not discussed, and what the existing Church has to offer the new youth initiatives and vice versa is limited (although the chapter on Messy Church is the exception here).

For me, as a Church youth worker for over eight years, this 'intergenerational conversation' between established Churches and new outreach expressions is a vital part of lifelong disciplemaking, rather than providing for young people up to a point, only to see them drop off as they become too old for a particular ministry approach.

This short, easy-to-read summary of creative youth ministry is helpful and positive and may well spark off some ideas for leaders (both paid and volunteer) who are seeking to encourage faith development in young people today.

Review by Matt Gould

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857462480
  • Published: 17 April 2015
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
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