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Children’s, youth and family ministry is about helping children and young people and their families to follow Jesus and to be full members of the church.

Are you someone who…

  • Enjoys working with children and young people and their families?
  • Wants to see them grow in faith?
  • Wants to gain more skills for this?

If the answer is yes, God might be calling you to children’s, youth and family ministry.

“We believe that children and young people can follow Jesus and be full members of the church, and that discipleship is possible at any age.”

Church of England website

Ministry with children and young people might include:

  • Sunday School
  • All-age / intergenerational worship
  • Mid-week groups in schools and churches
  • Carer and toddler services
  • Youth groups
  • Messy Church
  • Godly play
  • Holiday clubs and fun days
  • Confirmation preparation

There are three pathways for children’s, youth, and family ministry:

Affirmed Children’s, Youth and Family Ministers

Affirmed Children’s, Youth and Family coordinators, leaders, or helpers are part of a team in a parish.  They coordinate, lead, or help other adults involved with ministry with children, youth, and families in a church or school setting.  They work under the supervision of the incumbent or other staff member or a commissioned or licensed Children’s, Youth and Family Minister.

Commissioned Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministers

Commissioned Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministers are part of the ministry team in a parish.  They coordinate, lead, and/or train other adults involved with ministry with children, youth, and families in a church or school setting, and work under the supervision of the incumbent or other staff member.

Licensed Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministers

Licensed Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministers are leaders in mission and ministry with children, young people and families within a church, school, or community setting in a parish, cluster of parishes, deanery or external agency. They are supervised by their incumbent or other appropriate supervisor.

What should I do if I believe that God is calling me to Children’s, Youth & Family ministry?

First of all, speak to people you trust and who know you well, and listen to what they have to say. Make sure you speak to your parish priest or chaplain, as they will assist you in beginning to discern your sense of calling.

The Vocations team runs a number of events to help you explore your vocation. Please keep an eye on the What’s On page to find out more.

Selection and training for Affirmed Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry are based in your parish.   

The discernment and selection process is slightly different depending on whether you are exploring Commissioned or Licensed Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry. 

Discernment for Commissioned Children’s, Youth and Family Ministers

Discernment for Commissioned Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry is coordinated by the Discipleship and Ministry team together with the Missions team.  It consists of a period of exploration, followed by a formal selection panel.  To begin this discernment process, contact the Deputy Director of Discipleship and Lay Ministry, the Revd Dr Raewynne Whiteley.

Discernment for Licensed Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry

For Licensed Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry, the first step in the formal discernment process is to ask your parish priest or chaplain to book you on a Vocations Forum.

Vocations Forums usually take place at Trinity House, near London Bridge, although during the Coronavirus pandemic they are being held online over Zoom.

At a Forum you will have an opportunity to talk and listen to others who also believe that God may be calling them, to reflect on what the Bible says about ministry and to think about your own journey of faith so far.

Your parish priest or chaplain can book you on a Vocations Forum by e-mailing Sue Stewart, the Vocations Department Administrator (contact details below).

What’s next?

At the end of the Forum, you will be asked if you would like to continue to explore your vocation. If you decide to go ahead, you will be assigned a Vocations Advisor who will work with you in discerning your vocation further and make a recommendation as to whether you should proceed to selection.

What’s next?

At the end of the Forum, you will be asked if you would like to continue to explore your vocation. If you decide to go ahead, you will be assigned a Vocations Advisor who will work with you in discerning your vocation further and make a recommendation as to whether you should proceed to selection.

The selection process

You will be asked to fill in an application form, to get the support of your Incumbent/Chaplain and the PCC, and to provide the names of references who can comment on your suitability for pastoral care ministry.

You may then be invited to a selection panel, who will recommend whether they discern that it is appropriate for you to be equipped for pastoral ministry.

How will I be equipped?

The training process is slightly different depending on whether you are being equipped as a Commissioned Children’s, Youth, and Family Minister or a Licensed Children’s, Youth, and Family Minister. Click on the links below for further information.

Training for Commissioned Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministers

There are two components to the training, which can be taken in any order.  The first is the Bishop’s Certificate, Growing in Life and Faith, which is offered both in-person and online by the Diocese. This includes learning about the bible, what Christians believe, what it means to be Anglican, and how we live out our faith. The second is a course in Children’s or Youth Ministry (candidates can choose which area to specialise in), which is taught through a mixture of online and in-person sessions, and includes Children’s or youth spirituality and formation, faith development, and practical approaches.

Training for Licensed Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministers

Training consists of a CertHE (Level 4) course, usually taken over two years, followed by further practical training and reflective practice for 1-2 years.  The CertHE includes biblical and theological studies as well as courses in Children’s and Family Ministry and Pastoral Care.

After training you will complete a working agreement with your Incumbent and be commissioned or licensed by the Bishop.

The South London Church Fund and Southwark Diocese Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee (No. 236594).
Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

© The Diocese of Southwark 2021. All rights reserved.
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