Our work with children and young people

We believe that children and young people can follow Jesus and be full members of the church, and that discipleship is possible at any age. They are integral to our churches, but we need to make sure there are no obstacles preventing them from getting involved.
group of teenagers sitting on picnic bench, laughing

Going for Growth

In 2010, a report entitled Going for Growth set out a vision for the Christian nurture of children and young people. It challenged churches to:

  • Work towards every child and young person having a life-enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ
  • Recognise and welcome the capacity of children and young people to transform the Church and the world
  • Provide support and development for all those working with children and young people.

What does the Church of England offer for children and young people?

Every church will be different, and ministry with and among children and young people can take many forms. Traditionally, the main focus has been on Sundays, with a strong emphasis on Christian formation in peer groups and inclusion in worship.

However, increasingly churches are exploring other ways and times of engaging with children, young people and their families. Depending on its context, a church might be involved with:

  • All-age / intergenerational worship
  • Mid-week groups based in schools and churches
  • Collective worship in schools
  • Carer and toddler services
  • Youth groups
  • Messy Church
  • Godly play
  • Holiday clubs and fun days
  • Praise parties
  • Sports ministry
  • Quiet days
  • Early Years groups
  • Creative prayer
  • Chaplaincy in schools
  • Confirmation preparation
  • Residential activities
Young girl ready bible storybook

What help does the Church of England provide for churches?

At a local level

Most dioceses have specialist children, youth or families advisers. These advisers are available to offer support, advice and training to clergy and lay leaders to help parishes think through how their involvement with children and young people might grow and develop, and to advise on good practice, emerging themes and new resources. Amongst their areas of expertise are:

  • Getting started - helping churches to start new work with and among children and young people
  • Spirituality - exploring the importance of nurturing the spiritual development of children and young people
  • Faith formation – helping churches understand what helps to nurture a growing faith
  • Basic skills – offering a variety of training programmes to equip children and youth leaders with skills they need for the task
  • Resources - knowledge of materials which can be used in Sunday ministry, confirmation preparation or mid-week activities
  • Worship - helping churches explore how to engage and involve children and young people fully in the worshipping life of the congregation
  • Sacraments - exploring the possibilities and practicalities of admitting children to communion before confirmation, encouraging young people to confirmation, and exploring vocations at all ages

At a national level

The Church of England is committed to doubling the number of children and young people across its churches by 2030. See here for more information. 

Rooted in the Church

Rooted in the Church offers a snapshot of what has helped the seeds of faith take root and grow in young people within the Church of England. It also signposts how congregations can make churches a more fertile place for the growth and flourishing of young Christians.