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Community, a changing culture and a challenge

O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. - Psalm 78:1-4 NIV

Rev Ben Perkins, our Young Vocations Champion, has seen firsthand how giving space for young people to explore their calling, to have a safe space to test and try out ways of serving God in church, benefits both the young person, their world and the church. He offers us a challenge as a diocese to teach and invest in our young people.

“We are all called to be ministers of the Gospel wherever God has called us to be. Even those of us who are young! I’m continually encouraged by young people growing in their faith and thriving in their calling. Investing in young people and providing them with the time, energy, and resources to grow as followers of Jesus doesn’t just benefit them, but the whole church, as they grow in gospel ministry in their schools, universities, and workplaces.

“The young people in our communities have a bunch of energy and enthusiasm for ministry and mission. Unfortunately, I’ve heard too many older Christians dismiss the enthusiasm as ‘naivety’ or a ‘lack of experience’. But what if we paid more attention to what they were saying? I really believe that young people are not the church of the future, but just as much the church of today as anybody else. Therefore, it’s really important that young people are given a voice in our churches.

“Young people also have a unique understanding of the cultural landscape and the challenges Christians are facing today that they weren’t just 10 years ago. They see what is forming this generation and are well-placed to speak the gospel into modern-day society. There are prophets amongst us but we don’t pay enough attention! What can you learn from the young people in your community? What young voices are you listening to? The cultural landscape has changed significantly over the last few years but young people are still coming to faith, serving Jesus, and serving his church – praise God!

“We can be so quick to patronise young people, but my challenge to churches across the diocese this year is - let’s actually listen and give young people space to speak. What young people bring to the table might transform your church.

“I have seen many young people be such excellent defenders of the faith and living out 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV - ‘Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’”

If you or someone you know is 16-30 and interested in exploring a calling to ordination we have lots of information on what you can do next on our calling and vocations web pages.

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