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Children, Families and Youth Workers

Ministry among children, families and young people has never been more of a priority for the Church of England. 

Those who work in this area are vital for creating new connections with younger generations and their families, helping them to meet with Jesus and building bridges between them and the older generations already in our churches - so that people of all ages can find their place in the body of Christ.

It is therefore often a creative ministry with lots of scope for experimentation and new ways of being Church.

Whether you’re new to this role, or have been in post for some time, there are some diocesan support services to help:

If you are new in post

Contact your diocesan enablers

The diocesan Mission Enablers for Youth and Children and Families would really welcome a conversation, so please do get in touch:

For youth ministry                                        For children and families ministry
Alastair Etheridge                                        Emma Coy

You will also need to have an up to date DBS check and be up to date with your Safeguarding training.

First Timer training scheme

We meet on Mondays, from 10:30am to 2:30pm and a new course convenes each September. The course takes place partly in person at Church House, Guildford and partly on Zoom. 

To enquire about the course, or to book a place for yourself or someone on your team, contact Emma Coy, or phone 01483 484910

Who is this course for?

If you’ve been recently appointed as a Children's Families and/or Youth Worker, this course is for you. Some students are ‘career changers’ who come in as professional workers having done something else first, others are just starting out in ministry such as those taking a year out, either between A levels and university or after university. Others are serving as volunteers but are keen to learn more. All are welcome!

We also invite those unable to commit to the whole course to join us for individual sessions. This year we are particularly encouraging those who are already in post, and may have previously completed the course, to come back for some of the afternoon theology sessions which have been recently introduced.

What does the course cover?

The course aims to cover the basics that a professional Youth or Children and Families Worker should know, such as theology, how to structure your work, practical skills, site visits around the diocese, and many other things (see below for details). 

Assessment is by two written assignments and one presentation, each of which will be discussed throughout the course. We expect students to set aside time for reading and reflection during the course. Set books will be discussed during the sessions. Students are also expected to lead opening worship on a rota basis.

Is there any flexibility in how I can access the course?

Yes! If the September start doesn't work for you, it may be possible to join the course at the beginning of another term or half term. It is also possible to join in with some individual sessions for those who are interested in some of the topics but are unable to commit to the whole course. This year we are particularly encouraging those who are already in post, and may have previously completed the course, to come back for some of the afternoon theology sessions which have been recently introduced.

What does the course cost?

The cost is £150 per term for the whole course or £15 per session for individual sessions. The 'theology top-up' sessions cost £40 per term or £8 for individual sessions. 

Who are the tutors?

The course is tutored by Emma Coy and Alastair Etheridge, with speakers drawn in to teach on various specialist topics throughout the course. 


Previous students’ comments

"I am amazed at the detail, quality and relevance of the content."

"I feel I have a great grounding for pretty much everything that I will be facing in my role and if there are any gaps in the future I know I can ask."

"I think the course is fab."

"It's a lovely introduction to children's ministry. The course tutors are lovely and they take you through all the topics that you might need to know when starting to work with children."

"I couldn't recommend this course more, it's amazing and overflowing with knowledge, advice, practical things to implement and opens your eyes to everything you didn't know you needed to know. E&A are incredible facilitators, it has improved my ministry, faith and life enormously."

"It helps you build a good clear foundation, including good practice about all aspects of working within a 'faith' setting whilst also developing and exploring your faith."

Line Managers of previous students comments

"X really enjoyed and benefited from the course."

"It has equipped and encouraged X in her calling and her work here."

"Overall the breadth of content was extremely helpful and thought provoking with regards our youth ministry streams."

"The variety of areas covered and the depth of reflection and learning has been really helpful. She is raring to go with her big ideas now which is very exciting."

"Excellent value all round."

"It has helped X to grow in confidence and have some specific training for the role."

"I think she herself would acknowledge just how much the course and role have brought her 'gifts' she didn't anticipate."

"Her confidence and her ability to think wider especially have grown."

"It has been lovely to see her flourish but also watching her grow in her ability to reflect on what we are doing in the parish."

"The course has given her confidence and helped her to look at a wide range of subjects giving her time to explore ideas and meet people with similar roles."

"I'd recommend it."

"An excellent, rounded, programme where attendees are given space to think and grow, to build confidence through shared learning and peer support, with practical 'hands on' and reflective theological input and wide ranging input from a raft of experienced practitioners all contributing to a powerful and meaningful experience for the First Timers. Sign your First Timers up asap."

"A really valuable course and worth the investment for anyone new to Children and Youth work."

"It has been a hugely positive experience for my First Timers."

Programme for 2023/24 

Autumn Term session dates and topics






Church House, Guildford

Introduction to the Course

Bible input


Church House, Guildford

Faithfull Generation

Why do we do ministry?


Church House, Guildford

Planning sessions

The Trinity



The 6 Ws

The work of Jesus


Church House, Guildford

Planning in 6 steps



St Paul’s, Dorking

Road trip 1


Half Term – no session


Church House, Guildford

Safeguarding Leadership 1

The Big story


Church House, Guildford


The Kingdom of God


Church House, Guildford

Safeguarding Leadership 2

Spiritual disciplines



Towards Intergenerational Ministry


Church House, Guildford

Growing Faith


Holy Trinity, Knaphill

Speaking and Preaching

Christmas social


Spring Term session dates and topics






Church House, Guildford


Mark’s gospel



Leadership Styles

Jesus and leadership


Church House, Guildford

Casting Vision

Leading teams


Church House, Guildford

Self leadership



Church House, Guildford

Safeguarding S1

The Holy Spirit


Half Term – no session






Church House, Guildford

Spiritual Styles

The life of prayer

4/3 (9:30-4pm)

Waverley Abbey

Quiet Day


Church House, Guildford

The gospel in your context (LEGO serious play)



Understanding the CofE

The Church


Summer Term session dates and topics






Church House, Guildford

Child development




Baptism and confirmation

Personal Evangelism


Bank holiday – no session


Church House, Guildford

Work in a secondary school

Salvation & the life of faith


Christ Church Esher

Road trip 2


Half Term – no session


Church House, Guildford

Mental Health

Psalms and wisdom



Using email and social media

5 marks of mission


Church House, Guildford

Accessible Church


Church House, Guildford

Culture and Generations

The end of the world


Church House, Guildford

Final presentations

Celebration lunch


Church House, Guildford


In for the long haul


Quick links

All Children, Families and Youth Workers may find these links helpful:  

Keeping in touch

All parish officers are encouraged to sign up for the diocesan regular emailed newsletter to keep in touch with all that’s happening across the diocese.

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