Young People – How to stop them leaving the Church


Dear all,
This will be my last minister’s letter to you all as I am leaving to become the Children and Families Minister at All Saints Church in Canterbury at the end of this month. In light of my departure I felt it necessary to use a Dave Walker cartoon to illustrate my parting words of wisdom to you all. In line with my modus operandi over the last three years it is mildly tongue-in-cheek, and suitably controversial. If you ever wonder why children aren’t in church I wish to correct you. They do attend church via their schools: Egerton once a week, Pluckley three times a week and Charing once a term. In fact every day they experience and participate in collective worship, so I ask you the question: how often do you participate in an act of worship? This generation of young people, despite all the criticism of their culture of hyper-connectivity, I believe, will change the world. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen them adapt to the changing world around them and challenge the status quo when it seems like the world has gone crazy. They’ve watched us make mistakes but they haven’t given up hope. Rather, they’ve enquired as to how they can help change negative situations. They’ve lived lives centred on love, charity, joy, courage, initiative and hope. Countless times I’ve been rendered speechless by their responses in collective worship, moved to tears by their prayers, and overjoyed by their energy.
I challenge you all to look for this. Every day, look for the beauty, the positivity, the love and the life. Look for Jesus in others: in children and young people but also all around you. And then I challenge you to live it and share it. I’ve centred my ministry on this and anchored it to the challenge set out by John’s first letter which says “let us love, not with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
I leave you with that same challenge, and with my heartfelt thanks for your support and prayers.
With every blessing for the future,