Our reflections are that at present, youth ministry within Felixstowe has been diverse, reactive, and innovative. But there are some challenges to come over the next few years. In particular, the difficulty of being a Christian will increase, we think the church will lose the critical mass of young people, and a further challenge may be that this decline is accepted.
It's not all bad news! Some opportunities which present themselves over the next 3 years include:
- a continued presence in Felixstowe Academy
- a need for collaboration between churches
- the Churches knowing they need to engage, and that desire is there
- the Churches engaging with children and young people of all ages, and it will be really interesting to see how work in primary schools develops belief and practice.
Some of the conversations that have been really inspiring us recently are the good questions being asked by young people at Felixstowe Academy, the young people at church who are passionate about their faith, and adults involved in leading youth work wanting to work more closely together.
Regarding the future of youth work and ministry, what I think it will look like and what I would like us to aspire to are two different things.
You could say that the world in 2020 might not be as different as we might think! While patterns of life and work will continue to change, the need for belonging, affirmation, and community will remain. The challenge for us all is how to communicate the gospel in each and every situation.
Youth ministry in Suffolk by 2020 will continue to look very different in rural to urban contexts. Young people's participation in leadership in 2020 will ultimately depend on attitudes and assumptions within communities and the presence of young people there. There will continue to be areas of good practice and others that struggle to engage, but hopefully, the desire to engage with young people will be more fully worked out in practice