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Welcoming children and young people

We long for our churches to be friendly and accessible to children and young people-places of possibility, where faith and discipleship bring life, hope and meaning to the emerging generation. These ideas are central to the vision and strategies of both the national Church of England and the Diocese of Guildford.

If you’re thinking about developing the ministry your church does with children and young people (as a result of the Parish Needs Process or otherwise), the Diocesan Mission Enablers for Children & Families and Youth are here to help.

We’d really welcome a conversation, so please do get in touch:

For youth ministry                                        For children and families ministry

Alastair Etheridge                                       Emma Coy


Recruiting children and youth leaders

If you are looking to recruit for a full or part-time dedicated role holder for children and families and/or youth ministry, then we have lots of support available.

Call us for a chat about this.

We can provide you with guidance on discerning the kind of person you might want to recruit, creating a job description, advertising a post, DBS checks and more.

Visit the Safeguarding page for more on safer recruitment.

Download some prayer resources to help your congregation support this process in prayer. 

Training and support

We signpost to, and offer training and support to clergy, employed workers and volunteers and this is usually identified through the Parish Needs Process.

If you have begun a Parish Needs Process, this should help to highlight any training gaps, and you’ll be referred to us to signpost you to courses and other learning resources to suit your context and your vision.

Safeguarding training is mandatory for all leaders working with children and young people. Visit the safeguarding page to see what level of training you need.

For leaders

Visit this dedicated page for specific support for Children and Families and Youth Leaders, including key volunteers. It also outlines details of the First Timers Scheme – a course which will helps new recruits get to grips with their new role.

Growing Faith: What does and effective church-school partnership look like? 

In 2023 we worked with local schools and churches to gather insights into what helps children grow spiritually, listening to children and teachers. 

The research found that the greater the involvement from a church in a school, the greater the children are aware of their own, and the world’s, strengths, wonder, and beauty. 

The research also found that where churches are engaged in the local school in some way, all children report feeling closer to God generally at school. And the greater the time and number of people from churches involved, the greater impact. 

Findings from the study led to 20 recommendations, 8 for schools and 12 for churches. They include: 

  • Church and school leaders should invest in the relationship between church and school 

  • PCCs and School Governors should encourage church and school leaders respectively, and give them time to build a relationship with one another. 

  • Look for opportunities for pupils to experience worship and reflection in the church building 

  • Churches should create space for reflection and quiet time in their children’s work. 

  • In collective worship and assemblies, move away from a focus on moral lessons and behaviour to encouraging children to think deeply, to explore their own thoughts and questions about God and inspire them to grow and challenge themselves in new directions. 

Read the Growing Faith report.

About the research

This research was conducted by the Diocese of Guildford and funded through the Church of England’s Growing Faith Foundation. It looked into what an effective church-school partnership looks like. It also explored the role the church plays in supporting the spiritual development of children in a school. The research was carried out by Emma Coy (Mission Enabler - Children and Families) and Jane Whittington (Schools Officer) in Spring 2023 

Growing Faith is about schools, churches and homes working together to give young people and children the best possible chance to have life in all its fullness - to enjoy safe spaces to explore their spirituality and to grow in faith. The Growing Faith Foundation has been created to support dioceses and parishes to do this even more effectively than they do at present. It's part of the Church of England. 

The Foundation commissioned research into aspects of the intersections between churches, households and schools. This is to make sure that the Growing Faith work is rooted in good theology and good practice in the fast changing world of the 21st century, to raise the quality and profile of ministry in the intersections between home, school and church, and to ensure as many children and young people as possible benefit. 

Keeping in touch

Any leaders working with children and young people in the Diocese of Guildford can keep in touch with all that’s happening across the diocese by signing up to our regular newsletter.

Follow one or more of our social media accounts too (your request to join will be checked first by the account Admins, so allow up to a couple of days for this to happen):

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