The Church of England is awarding more than £16million into projects evangelising young people, as it commits to doubling the number of active youth in the church by 2030.
The money - £16.3 million – has been awarded by the Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board, in a bid to spread the Christian faith amongst the younger generation.
The Diocese of Bristol has been awarded £6.8 million to fund its work in schools and lower income areas.
There are also plans to train ordained ministers to plant new congregations and “revitalise parishes”, including a “ministry experience team” for 18-25 year olds in the Diocese of Sheffield.
The Diocese of London is looking to recruit 24 new youth workers with its share of the funding, and will deploy new staff to deprived areas once they have been fully-trained.
Other dioceses awarded funding include Durham and Canterbury.
But why is such an onus being placed on youth ministry? Neil O’Boyle, national director of Youth for Christ believes young people should be the priority.
He told Premier Christian News: “There's a general statistic that comes around every generation that says about 80 per cent of people who make a decision to become followers of Jesus, do so under the age of 18.
“What's important to understand about that stat, though, is the vast majority are coming from church based families. So that's all well and good, but that still means that there's a whole load of young people disconnected from the church, who are not getting any opportunity to hear about Jesus.
“Another really important stat that we did with our research…51 per cent of all young people believe in God, that means 49 per cent don't know, or don’t believe.
“Eight per cent of all young people have a positive view of the local church - only eight per cent. So we've got some massive work to do here.”
He continued: “33 per cent of the young people that we surveyed said they wanted someone to actively share their faith with them. So that's one in three want someone to share their faith? So this is actually really positive.
“The Christian community is losing confidence and we don't need to, because the gospel still works. Lives are still being changed. We just need to be people's friends, shine Jesus and just drop in every now and then.
“So I would just be praying for more and more opportunities for courage in the small things, and I think it will have a big impact.”