A new study has revealed that many churches across the country experienced a significant drop in engagement with young people during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The study undertaken by Allchurches Trust found that nearly a quarter of churches reported a decrease in engagement with children and young people, with 30 per cent of respondents indicating that they were unable to run activities specifically for the younger generation during the lockdown period. Just 10 per cent of churches reported an increase in engagement with young people during lockdown, mainly due to hosting online gatherings
However, many churches did indicate that they had been able to effectively adapt to the lockdown measures by laying on digital events for the younger generation. According to the survey, more than half of churches (55 per cent) have been able to engage children and young people through regular online worship, while 46 per cent have run family-focused online activities for children and parents. In addition, 31 per cent have specifically run online activities and challenges for young people.
Dr Lucie Shuker, director of research at Youthscape, said: "Youth workers in different areas and different settings have reported varied experiences and success rates in engaging young people during lockdown, so this new research is really helpful in painting the bigger picture thanks to its insights from hundreds of churches.
"What's heartening are the many examples of churches that have quickly adapted to launch online activities and alternative means of providing support when physical youth work was not an option; being creative in meeting the needs of the families and young people they work with and reaching others they may not previously have been able to engage.
"Online won't work for all young people, and is not some silver bullet, but what we've seen as a result of Coronavirus is that the church can adapt when it needs to. It can be innovative and that presents an enormous opportunity to facilitate experiences of church with and for young people that make it more meaningful for them."