Growing Young

With the backing of the Kirk Session, a small group of us from across the parish have been looking at ‘Growing Young’. Growing Young was developed in America, and was based on research with over 250 congregations. They identified 6 key characteristics of churches that are engaging well with younger people, and these are set out in the Growing Young wheel below.

Growing Young shows congregations how they can position their churches to reach younger generations (not just young people!) in a way that breathes life into the whole church and everyone sees benefits. The Church of Scotland introduced this initiative with a group of 25 churches from across Scotland in 2019. We’re now part of the second cohort of churches engaging with ‘Growing Young’ in Lothian and Borders

What has been involved so far?

We have now completed our first year of our Growing Young programme and thought it was a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved as we enter our second year.

It all began with listening and 2 of our most successful ventures (Holiday Club and Youth Club) have been borne from these early conversations and listening to our young people.

Holiday Club – we’ve done these in the past, but this time we allowed one of our own young people to organise and run it.   It was a huge success and everyone who was involved thoroughly enjoyed it, not least the children who attended.

Messy Church – these have grown from strength to strength with between 20 and 30 attending and again, lots of fun!   I’m absolutely sure that the success of the Holiday Club and the relationships that were developed there have been instrumental in attracting more Messy Church attendees.

Youth Club – this has been nothing short of amazing.   Starting with an idea from another of our own young people as a place to just come along, be yourself and eat pizza, it’s now attracting numbers of up to 20 young people from P7 upwards.   It’s a safe space for them to relax, chat, play games, listen to music and of course, eat pizza!  

Paired reading – this has been our chance to strengthen our connection within our local schools and has been hugely successful and very much appreciated by the schools.

How can you help?

There are quite a few ways people can help. As we share or initial ideas, we’d love it if you could get involved or share information about events and activities with people you know who may be interested. Please feel free to speak to any of the members of the team: Gill Watson (leader), Fiona Byrnes, Isabel Lindsay, Joe Harper, Chloe Clark, Libby Jeffrey, Pat Robinson, Suzanne Hamilton, Douglas Hamilton. Most of all we would appreciate people engage with and praying for the work the team are planning with the congregation and communities.