fresh expressions of church
by that body, it seeks a town wide ministry to young people.
The amazing reality, through the schools work, is that 100 per
cent of 11 16 year olds do make some contact with Eternity
and the further dream that partly pulls Eternity into its future is
that 15 20 per cent of them will be in active contact with a
facing the gap
Many people consider that the number of young people in church has
dropped to such dramatically low levels that Anglicanism in England
faces serious ongoing numerical decline. In 1998 Revd Paul Simmonds,
a Diocesan Mission Adviser, wrote a paper for Coventry Diocese to
examine young people's involvement and engagement with the Church.
Not only are we struggling to keep and care for young people from
church families, we are making only negligible impact on the vast
majority of the young people who are unchurched.
Paul Simmonds and others suggest that the Church is primarily set up
to minister to the over 40s, at the expense of young people (the phrase
`young people' here includes people in their 20s and early 30s, as well
as those in their teens).
In what ways is the Church of England slanted away from the young?
A pattern of innovation in liturgical revision and musical variety has
not (on the whole) been sustained. A generation of young people find
Graham Kendrick old fashioned and Common Worship outmoded.
The average age of ordination for stipendiary ministry in the Church of
England is now around 40 years much later if non stipendiary (NSM)
and ordained local ministers (OLM) are included.
including NSMs and OLMs, model a Church for the middle aged.
Although one third of the population is under 25 years, the Church of
England has very few ordained people in this age group. The Church
needs not only to identify potential younger leaders, but also to release
and support existing young people who are leaders among their peers.
Our commitment to the `parish' calls us to identify with the totality of
those entrusted to us. One third of the population is under 25, but one
third of church budgets (or even a tenth of church budgets) is not
invested in youth and children's ministry.