Last May, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland designated 2018 as ‘The Year of Young People’ (YoYP). Throughout Scotland churches are being challenged to engage with a number of pressing issues which are effecting us all, such as how to encourage young people to engage more with their faith, and how to make sure that they know they are an important part of the church.
Here at Liberton we have been trying to address these questions for a number of years now, particularly with our Forward Together campaign in 2001 to raise money for the appointment of our first full time youth worker, and, more recently, in the various ways we have been trying to include and involve younger people in our worship and in our communion services.
There is one important area, however, in which we still have some way to go. In March 2017, I wrote of the image in the Bible of church as the ‘Family of God’ and the need for us to be more ‘intergenerational’. I had been challenged by the words of Andy Chittick, spoken two years before, who had said…
Statistics show that, unless each one of our young people feel known, loved and accepted by at least five other church members who are not in their
immediate family, then, when they grow older, they will be unlikely to want to remain part of our church.
A year has now passed since I wrote this article, but the challenge still remains, and so, to make it more real, here is an exercise for us all to do. Please write the names of five school-age children known to you personally, who you are not directly related to, and who are part of our church family here at Liberton.