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Talking about the topics young people want to discuss

Thursday 27th July 2017

A recent survey by Youthscape of Youth and Children’s work in 2,054 churches in England, Scotland and Wales suggests that churches are struggling when it comes to working with children and young people. The report shared a number of findings, but in this issue we are going to focus on the finding that ‘Churches lack confidence in addressing the topics young people really care about and want to discuss’.

You can read the full report online at: youthscape.co.uk/research/publications/losing-heart

The survey wanted to find out what churches were talking about with their young people, and the topics they prioritised in their youth work. What was considered a fairly standard list of youth work appropriate topics were provided.

We have highlighted a small number of these (the full list can be found in the report):

  • 50.2% of the churches regularly talk about the basic beliefs of the Christian faith (22% never talk about this)
  •  19.2% regularly talk about Poverty and social justice (33.5% never talk about this)
  • 1.2% regularly talk about Preparation for moving to senior school/college/university (47.5% never talk about this)
  •  48.7% never talk about Sex and relationships (7.8% regularly talk about this)
  •  48.6% never talk about Mental Health and self-esteem (10.2% regularly talk about this)

To complement the church findings, the research polled 100 11 to 19 year olds through an online survey to gauge which topics they would be most interested in discussing in their youth group. These are highlighted as follows:

  • 60% were very interested or interested in discussing basic beliefs of the Christian faith (only 2% didn’t want to talk about this)
  • 70% were very interested or interested in discussing Poverty and social justice (only 2% didn’t want to talk about this)
  • 59% were very interested or interested in discussing Preparation for senior school/college/university
  • 72% were very interested or interested in discussing Sex and relationships (17% didn’t mind if they talk about it or not and 5% didn’t want to talk about this at all)
  • 80% were very interested or interested in discussing Mental Health and self-esteem (only 1% didn’t want to talk about this)

In the main, young people were interested in talking about every topic on the list provided. The most popular topic which young people wanted to discuss was Mental Health and self-esteem. Of course it’s not only Churches that find these sorts of discussions difficult at times. How confident and comfortable do BB Leaders feel about some of these discussion topics? How could BBHQ help resource and equip Leaders to feel more confident? A good start would be to share these report findings with young people and see what they say.

Discuss this with your group

Discuss the findings with your young people and find out what they think about this. What topics are important to them and what would they like to discuss at Church and at BB? Consider how your Company could incorporate these topics into the programme.

Share what your young people think, email us at: gazette@boys-brigade.org.uk

Continue the conversation on Twitter: @BBgazette using hashtag #BBvoice

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