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Justin Welby outlines vision for youth ministry

Justin Welby has written a special editorial for Premier Youthwork magazine as the magazine marks its 25 anniversary.

In it he describes himself as "no expert in Christian youth work" but says he'd love to see young people becoming disciples of Jesus, witnesses to Jesus and servants of the kingdom.

"Imagine seeing hundreds of thousands of young people thriving as disciples, as whole lives are lived towards him," he said. "Across the Church it can be our tendency to offer experiences, good times or fulfilment. But Jesus calls us to follow him and there is no greater challenge."

The Anglican leader called on churches to focus more on evangelism with young people at the centre.

He said: "It is still the case that the majority of those who profess faith do so before the age of 21.

"Let's set our sights higher than just trying to hold onto those born into Christian families and maybe reaching a couple of their friends (something youth work is great at).

"God has the eyes of his heart on every young person, and so should we. This is the task of the whole church. We are all called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ."

Justin Welby recently addressed thousands at the Soul Survivor youth conference and was subsequently prayed for by the teenagers there.

The Church of England is investing heavily in youth evangelism and has recently appointed a worker to oversee the area alongside a giving the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham Rt Rev Paul Williams responsibilities for evangelism with young people.

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