SEARCH Journal

Engaging young people in the faith today

WHAT WITH reduced services, a lower number of groups and clubs, and fewer volunteers, the past two years have been challenging for youth work and ministry. What’s more, according to the National Youth Council of Ireland, the overall body for Irish voluntary youth organisations, there were over 80,000 fewer young people involved this year in comparison with pre-pandemic figures.1

It is true that the youth work sectors in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland adapted in response to the challenges presented by the pandemic. Organisations provided a range of support for youth workers and volunteers, and young people appreciated their leaders’ willingness ‘to go above and beyond’; but burnout and stress were issues, as was anxiety about being unable to reach young people who disengaged. With the usual venues unavailable, new technologies were widely adopted to enable contact, but inadequate digital access and other barriers meant there were limitations to how young people engaged.

* Full article available in printed copies.

Steve Grasham

Steve Grasham

is Youth Ministry Development Officer (Southern region) of the Church of Ireland Youth Department.