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Church must not ignore youth ministry, says Archbishop

The Church needs "honesty, faith and vision" to rise to the challenge of reaching young people with the Gospel, says the Archbishop of Canterbury ...

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, says the Church cannot afford to ignore the ministry and witness of young people within its ranks and that it needs to witness to youth with "honesty, faith and vision".

Speaking ahead of this month’s Youthwork the Conference, where he will be the special Sunday guest, Justin Welby says youth workers from different Christian denominations across the country make an "untold contribution to society". He says he is looking forward to "meeting and learning from the hundreds of youth workers who serve thousands upon thousands of young people so faithfully".

Youthwork the Conference is the annual gathering of Christian youth workers from across the UK and beyond which this year is held at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne, from 14-16 November.

It’s an opportunity for teams and individual youth workers to meet, make new friends and connections and pick up new ideas and inspiration for their work.

There are special seminars, this year dealing with issues as diverse as helping young people through trauma, including bullying and even potential suicide, to working in a digital age with all its challenges.

There are ‘surgeries’ for one-to-one advice on questions which youth workers may have to face from the young people from whom they work, including a special ‘advice clinic’ on self-harm. Youthwork the Conference also offers networking opportunities, prayer spaces, exhibitions and entertainment.

But the main events happen in the ‘Big Room’ where delegates meet several times a day to worship, celebrate and hear from some great speakers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby will be the main speaker in the Big Room on the Sunday morning, 16 November at 10.45am for an extended session guaranteed to inspire. In advance of the conference he said he is excited about being part of the event:

“I believe that there is no better decision anyone, of any age, can make than to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Many choose to become followers of Jesus in their formative years, meaning the importance of youth ministry cannot be overstated. Furthermore, the Church must not ignore the ministry and witness of young people in the Church of Jesus Christ, who calls us to serve a generation of those who come behind us, in such a way that they can take their place in the purposes of God.

"We know the need to address the witness of the Church to young people cannot be overestimated. We must do so with honesty, faith and vision. We must rise to this challenge. For the sake of Jesus Christ and every young person he loves, we must grasp it.

"This is why I am hugely excited about joining Youthwork the Conference in November; meeting and learning from the hundreds of youth workers who serve thousands upon thousands of young people so faithfully. Youth workers, across different denominations, make an untold contribution to society; the work they do is of eternal significance. I pray they will be encouraged and refreshed during our time together, as I have no doubt I will be.”

Other Big Room speakers include Andy Croft from Soul Survivor and Tamsin Evans from Pure Creative Arts. For more information about the programme go to www.youthworkconference.co.uk/conference/programme

For more about Youthwork the Conference and booking please go to www.youthworkconference.co.uk/conference

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