Molly's interesting article, written in her own words can be read below. She is pictured third from the left in the photo.
“On a Sunday morning, walking into church can be a big thing for a teenager. When I walk into my church I feel, in a way, awkward, not because I don’t want to be there but because I feel like I don’t belong there. In my opinion, on a Sunday morning I would much rather be sat at home in my pyjama’s talking to my friends. I know it’s hard to engage all ages in a church community but there are many ways in which we could get more young people (16-18 year olds) engaged in one.
My friends and I have had many a conversation on what churches can do for young people to get involved and we always come to the same conclusions; these include a special youth service on maybe a weekday and also younger church leaders who we can relate to through university and exams as they will have more of a relevant understanding than someone who is, for instance, 40 years of age. By having a weekday service this would enhance the youth of the church. In my opinion I believe that if weekday services did take place, the leader could make it relevant to that time of year such as in May/June where the services could be about strength and reassuring the young people that someone is out there, guiding you through to your goals. For young people, especially young people over the age of 16, there should be a ‘youth group’ where the leaders talk about relevant topics, such as sex before marriage and what the bible says about it.
I believe that if churches want to become more appealing to young people they should have the odd service/bible study in a café, exclusively for a certain age group, where they are free to speak their mind.
Nowadays in churches they do try and keep up with the culture by using interactive boards and also getting the church goers involved by texting suggestions in, for example in my current church we were able to text in what we are looking forward to. By keeping up with the culture, the church itself can lose respect by the elder members of the church as they like everything very traditional.
A major advantage of the church is the sermon. Many people loath the sermons but many love it as after thinking about what was said they realise that the time they took out to listen to the talk was very beneficial and relatable. However, people can be put off going to church by people who have ‘power’ in certain churches; many people feel like church can become about certain people in the church community as it is clear that these people are trying to spread their own message and not God’s. This could be seen as very bossy.
After spending a week shadowing a church leader, I came to realise that the ‘job’ is not just planning services but it’s about so much more. During the week they spend time visiting people who are unable to get to church on a Sunday morning and sometimes take them communion just so they still feel a part of the church. In my opinion they do as much as they can do but could try and get young people, between the ages of 16-19, more involved in church, maybe not on a Sunday but mid-week. Many young people of this age would also love to volunteer in summer schemes as they would help with universities and job interviews, because of this I think more advertisement should be done in asking for volunteers by going into schools, either delivering fliers or delivering assemblies."
Church research has shown that growing churches are ones that engage well with young people. We get the perspective of Molly Jacobsen-Hunt who was on placement at All Saints Church, Kensington, Liverpool.