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Youth Catalyst Project ignites

The first Youth Catalyst large gathering saw 100 young people from 12 youth groups come together for prayer, worship and to celebrate Pentecost. 

The Youth Catalyst Project, led by Alastair Etheridge, is working closely with churches and schools across the Diocese. He said: “It is our aim to strengthen, build, and support churches across the Diocese to reach young people and disciple them so they can know Jesus for themselves and share the good news with their friends. Big gatherings like this are just one of the ways we can support the work youth groups are doing.”

This first event is one of the new ideas and a fresh enthusiasm that the project will bring.

One parent said of the worship event, “When my child and I drove home after the event they were so animated, so happy, so full of joy and my limited experience suggests to me that they had a wonderful experience and encounter with the Holy Spirit. Even now, words cannot express how moved they were.”
In July 2023 we were awarded £3.2m by the Church of England to develop Youth Catalyst to support young people who want to explore faith. A programme with a big vision for young people and churches to:

  • find confidence and boldness in the gospel.
  • build confidence in churches to work with young people.
  • connect with young people looking for availability, honesty and acceptance from adults 
  • help churches to provide young people with the adventure they are looking for.

Since the funding was awarded in summer 2023

Work has started to recruit the team to deliver the central team: A Programme Lead, two School Hub Leaders in Christ’s College Guildford and The Priory in Dorking, and a Project Officer. 

Recruitment for the Catalyst team is in progress for Worship positions, a Production Lead, a Social Media Partner, and two more School Hub Leaders.

The newly recruited Youth Catalyst team have launched the programme with energy and enthusiasm and are reporting some excellent results.

Four churches have applied to host a Church Placement and recruitment for Trainees started in April. 

Eight youth leaders from churches across Guildford, Godalming, Woking and Egham are involved in a Small Group Learning Community. They’re currently discussing small group practices to benefit young people and how to improve the Diocese Small Group Framework

This group and their learnings will hopefully form a curriculum and resources that could be made available to churches - particularly those without paid youth leaders. 

Coming up

The team has lots of plans and ideas in the works for the second half of 2024.

Student Mission Teams - Catalyst hopes to create Student Mission Teams - pupils will be trained by Hub Leaders in their schools to share their faith amongst their friends.

Summer Activity Weeks - The Project is investigating hosting week-long summer day camps at their Hub Schools - providing young people with activities alongside the gospel.

Bridge The Gap – Youth Catalyst will build a working partnership with Bridge The Gap, who run a football ministry with young adults. The dream is to pilot a youth project or launch a similar football-based discipleship programme in the Diocese.

There are lots more positive and more personal stories coming in from the Hub Schools where leaders have already been recruited, which we’ll share soon with you. 

Meanwhile, watch this short video to learn more about the purpose and plans of the Youth Catalyst Project. 


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