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Photo: Petra
UK News

New study reveals lack of confidence in church youth work

The report, which has launched at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday evening, shows many churches across the country are failing to offer youth work and those who do are concerned about how effective it is.

Youthscape's Centre of Research surveyed 2,054 churches. It says common answers to the question "what's going well in your youth work?" were "not a lot", "nothing", and "it does not do so well".

The report also shows a disparity in topics young people want to engage with and what the church is actually doing.

Two thirds of churches never discuss pornography or sexuality while over half say they never discuss mental health. That's despite a separate survey of teenagers suggesting that these are topics which they are highly interested in talking about.

Reacting to the findings, Phoebe Hill, Director of the Youthscape Centre for Research, said: "So many of the churches surveyed felt ill-equipped to handle the topics that young people really care about; but more than that they were often shockingly disparaging about the quality of their youth work.

"That's very hard to hear as a youth specialist, but it can't be the final word.

"We clearly have a job to do in terms of re-inspiring confidence."

Youthscape says it is not looking to discourage churches with the release of this data but to inspire a "new wave of confident and effective church youth work".

The study comes just weeks after Soul Survivor's Mike Pilavachi told Premier Youthwork the quality of youth workers has fallen dramatically over the past 25 years.

He also raised concerns that church youth workers were avoiding certain topics claiming they are "petrified of looking at certain issues - especially sex and sexuality."

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