Many churches across the UK are wrestling with the challenge of connecting with young people in our society. Fewer teenagers are linked with the church community than in previous generations, yet many of the pressures they face are greater.
One response has been to employ a paid youth worker, full or part time, to focus on some of these issues. It is estimated that there are currently around 8,000 employed youth workers in UK churches, alongside the many volunteers also working with young people.
This change has brought with it a new challenge for many churches as they think about how they go about not only recruiting a youth worker, but also training and supporting them in their role.
The Charter is meant to be a helpful way for churches to think through the key issues in employing a youth worker. It contains seven declarations churches make about these issues.
The seven areas come from the very real experiences of youth workers up and down the country: they reflect situations where youth workers, and the churches that employ them, can often find frustration, conflict or simply unmet needs.
Some churches may find they already meet the seven areas of the Charter, others may find that it beneficial in identifying areas needing change. We hope everyone will find it a helpful and reflective experience.
We believe that young people in the UK deserve to find a vibrant church, aware of their needs and able and willing to respond. The Charter is meant to be a significant step towards helping churches make the most of the benefit of having a paid youth worker. It is, we hope and pray, also a meaningful contribution to better serving and loving young people in the name of Christ.