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Community life...

Most of our youth groups are attached to a church. It may be just one of the activities the church gets up to alongside its services on Sunday. There are youth groups which are completely separate from the life of the church and there are others where there is some kind of link between the two. How much should integration be attempted or should we wait until they are 18 when they simply move up to ‘adult church’?

Youth Leaders Dave Fenton

All-age service

One answer to this is the all-age service which some do well and for others it becomes a children’s service where the adults and older children are spectators. In a typical church with people of most ages represented, is it possible for there to be some degree of shared activity? Starting with services, I think it is possible to bring young people into what is done there. If they stay in the morning services or turn up in the evening their presence needs to be acknowledged. That does not mean the whole service is geared to their language and culture, but, if they are there, what can’t they do. They can welcome at the door, they can read a lesson, they can pray, they can play in the worship band and, at the end, they can help count the money and make the coffee. It may even appropriate for a 16-year-old to preach the first five minutes of a sermon (initially) and have his talk critiqued by a sensitive mentor.