Banchory West are part of the “Growing Young” Initiative in Scotland. This is a year-long coaching programme which began in 2020 to assist us to focus our efforts on the younger generation and to be more intentionally multi-generational. 23 congregations from the Church of Scotland are part of the pilot, which involves coaching and learning delivered by the Growing Young Team from Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) in California.
The research which FYI conducted into churches which were bucking the trend of losing young people is not about elaborate programmes, worship styles or charismatic youth leaders but addressing aspects of congregational culture. The key is to create a culture where different generations are valued and interact.
Growing Young identifies six key indicators of a truly inter-generational church. These are:
Giving young people responsibility (unlocking keychain leadership)
Empathising with young people
Focusing on Jesus’ message
Cultivating warm relationships
Making Young People a priority in everything
Being good neighbours locally and beyond.
Growing Young also offers some very practical tools which help congregations assess their culture and create pathways to begin changing their culture.
‘Growing Young is not about prioritizing young people at the expense of everyone else. It is about becoming an inter-generational church’ (Jake Mulder).
‘Everyone rises when we focus on young people. When you give young people a bigger slice of the pie, the pie grows’ (Kara Powell).
The six core commitments that make up Growing Young are both simple and deep. At one level they seem quite obvious. At the same time, however, they address some of the fundamental dynamics of church life. Growing Young is a year-long programme which has been developed to enable congregations to ‘maintain disciplined attention’ (Scott Cormode).
Everyone is part of this process and we look forward to you joining in!