Our recent PYC Consultation was packed with activity and action. From workshops, to discussion groups, everybody was encouraged to participate and contribute towards the various topics.
Every year each of the Dioceses are given an opportunity to present the status of the young people’s ministry. We noted the issues and challenges which surfaced the most often and selected the top 3 to workshop.
Here, are the three top issues faced by the youth in their respective Dioceses:
- There’s a lack of support by the clergy at Parish level.
- There’s a lack of time and finance investment in children and youth ministries.
- There’s a lack of leadership training and development.
Here are the suggested solutions for the 3 challenges:
CHALLENGE No. 1 – THERE’S A LACK OF SUPPORT BY THE CLERGY AT PARISH LEVEL
- Clergy and elders must develop effective communication processes that reaches everybody.
- Everybody should develop an air of respect and honour for one another.
- Youth must become a key priority of a priest’s pastoral duties.
- There needs to be youth representation at ALL levels of leadership in the church.
- Chaplains must be trained on how to promote the importance of the youth in the church.
- Genuine relationships should be formed and built with clergy and councils.
- There must be a pledge of commitment from both the clergy and the youth.
- There needs to be an integrated youth structure.
CHALLENGE No. 2 – THERE’S LACK OF TIME AND FINANCE INVESTMENT IN CHILDREN AND YOUTH MINISTRIES.
- More effective use of existing resources as well as to develop new resources and revenue streams.
- More income generating projects and programmes.
- Proposals for funding (from businesses) must be developed and implemented.
- There needs to be a clear vision and programme to encourage the church to INVEST in the youth.
- Promote good Stewardship and encourage the youth to also contribute in the church.
- Parish and Diocesan budgets must have an allocation for children and youth ministries.
CHALLENGE No. 3 – THERE’S A LACK OF LEADERSHIP TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
- Leadership skills – Servant Leadership training required at Confirmation levels
- An understanding and development of spiritual gifts is required.
- Ongoing of appropriate training should be arranged.
- Intentional mentoring should be provided and encouraged by the leaders of the Parish.
- Support must be provided after any training was done.
- We need to do a skills audit in the parish and to identify potential leaders and facilitators.
- Train on the various roles in the church and who can be identified to occupy them.
- Liturgical education is required (Anglicanism).
Effective collaboration between elders and youth is firmly based on building good and healthy relationships. This must always be our starting point. Once we have developed a relationship built on trust and openness, we can move on to exploring the above issues.
And, the young people can make the first move on this. Do not wait for someone to approach you. Reach out, yourself. Trusting in God, you are able to do great things (1 Tim 4:12).