Growing Faith in Churches – Youth Ministry Resources

The wording around the national aim to grow young disciples is important. As we as a church encouraging discipleship in children, for the faith that is grown to be lasting we are striving to develop youth ministry across the diocese.

As Strategic Lead for Youth Ministry, Rev. Aidan Watson is here to support youth workers, both paid and volunteer, across the diocese. Please get in touch by emailing aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org

Below are a series of links for starting, developing and growing youth ministry in your church.

  1. Confirmation Resources

Our colleagues at the Bath and Wells and Bristol Diocese have produced some excellent downloadable confirmation resources. If you have a young person or a group of young people you are preparing for confirmation and would like to use this resource, then click here to have a look and download your own version.

  1. Youthscape Podcast

A fantastic resource for any Christian working with young people, the youthscape podcast has several years-worth of episodes covering a range of areas so there will be plenty for your context to learn. Find on any major podcast platform or here https://www.youthscape.co.uk/podcast

  1. Youthwork Resources

Various fantastic organisations exist to support churches in running activities for young people with varying levels of faith involvement. Some of our recommendations include:-

Youthscape – originally working Luton, YS now has a national focus and is leading the way in research and innovation for Christian youthwork - https://www.youthscape.co.uk/

Scripture Union – in addition to their decades of church based youth and children’s resources, they are focussing most of their work resourcing churches to reach the 95% of children and young people nationally who have no connection with church - https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/resources-activities

The RSCM – for more traditional contexts church choirs can provide a way of engaging with young people, including developing them as young leaders. https://www.rscm.org.uk/learn-with-us/

Urban Saints Energize - Thousands of engaging and adaptable biblical sessions, training articles and support resources - https://www.urbansaints.org/what-we-do/online-resources

  1. Living Out Love – a youth group resource

Our colleagues in Birmingham diocese have created a series of short films to help young people think through issues of sexuality, gender, relationships, and justice based on the six pastoral principles which are:

  • Acknowledging Prejudice
  • Speaking into silence
  • Addressing ignorance
  • Casting out fear
  • Admitting hypocrisy
  • Paying attention to power

They come in two versions a 30 min and 60 min versions, they can be used all together or as stand-alone sessions. To download your free copy click here.

  1. Bishop’s Youth Council

The Bishop’s Youth Council exists to hear the voices of young people in the decision-making processes of the diocese. It is made up of 16-25 year olds across the diocese and is invited to feed recommendations into Bishop’s council and Diocesan Synod. The council is overseen by Ben Martin (Lay Pioneer and Bishop’s Council Member) and Rev. Aidan Watson (Strategic Youth Lead). As well as having their voices heard, members are invested in as young leaders in the church.

If you or a young person you know are interested in hearing more about youth council then email aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org

  1. Local partners

Valley Cids - an independent Christian charity based in Derbyshire, committed to serving children, young people and families through out-reach work in schools and the wider community. https://www.valleycids.co.uk/

The Peak Centre – A Christian-run activity centre in the Peak district that gives preference to young people - https://www.peakcentre.org.uk/

  1. Training

As a diocese we seek to facilitate training of youth leaders, both paid and volunteer. We are keen to invest in potential youth leaders, and anticipate that more will be announced on this shortly.

Alternatively, members of the diocesan staff are ordained/licensed lay readers and can come preach/speak to churches about the place of youth ministry in the church. If you would like to do a training day with your volunteer team(s) or to discuss options, then contact aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org

  1. Youthworker networks

Across the diocese we are setting up or supporting regional networks of paid/volunteer youth workers. If this would interest you then email aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org

We also work with Missional Church Youth Network – an organisation seeking to enable local schools, churches and community projects to work together to reimagine church with young people. We facilitate a Learning Community in order that youth leaders and volunteers can come together for training, encouragement, prayer and support as they build for the future. https://www.mycn.org.uk/

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 May 2024 11:39

16/11/23: This page is currently being updated, please forward any enquiries to matt.barnes@derby.anglican.org 

Last modified on Thursday, 16 November 2023 10:35

This page is under development

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 February 2023 12:44

Growing Faith: resource pack for churches and schools - Diocese of Derby 2022

This resource pack was created following the Churches and Schools Survey of 2021.

It is designed to support and encourage all churches as they aim to put Growing Faith at the heart of their parish priorities.

The first document listed is the contents of the pack.

Please read this first. It shows how the resource is divided into eight parts.

The contents document lists the areas covered by each of these eight documents. For example, if you were looking for information around collective worship, you will see that this heading is no.1 on document C).

If you open document C), you will find that the first section lists resources and ideas around the area of collective worship.

Please contact Sarah.brown@derby.anglican.org if you need any assistance or if there is an area which doesn't seem to be covered.


Churches and schools: contents

A) Churches and schools: an introduction

B) Churches and schools: prayer and prepararion

C) Churches and schools: involvement in the spiritual lives of schools

D) Churches and schools: school visits

E) Churches and schools: links and welcomes

F) Churches and schools: survey results and conclusions

G) Churches and schools: a toolkit for primary schools to promote the development of spirituality - by Jo Gotheridge

H) Churches and schools: growing faith - a flow chart to offer ideas for churches

Last modified on Monday, 20 February 2023 12:03

This page is under development

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 February 2023 12:45

Click here to view a promotional video for the Ministry Experience Scheme

The Church of England’s Ministry Experience Scheme (MES) has been running for ten years, with 700 participants and involving 35 dioceses.  It offers a year of experience and training in a range of settings for people aged 18-30 to help them discern a call to ministry.

This has been largely focussed on ordained ministry, however MES is expanding, in line with the Church’s Vision and Strategy for the 2020’s, to include a stream focussed specifically on ministry opportunities amongst children, young people and families (CYPF) – the Future Youth Ministry Experience Scheme. Funding has been received to run two pilot years of this new stream starting in 2023/24, with 12 participants nationally.

In the Diocese of Derby we have been a part of the first year of the pilot, and are looking to invest in two young adults aged 18-30, to join us as Future Youth MES workers. These 11-month training and experience gaining posts will seek to help participants discern a long-term possible vocation to Christian ministry with Children, Young People and Families.

The successful applicants will gain a diverse experience of mission and ministry with CYPF within one of our specially selected placements as part of a wider process of discerning God’s call on your life. These exciting roles will involve working closely with the ministry team of the church or mission community, to play their part in the Kingdom of God which is good news for all, helping to see transformation in the lives of CYPF, the church grow and communities built.

The FY MES scheme has also partnered with Aurora, and participants will join together with others across the country to complete the nationally run course. We will also work with participants to build in optional further training modules to their year through our Diocesan lay ministry training programme.

Placement contexts

Participants will be placed in one of up to six ministry placements across the diocese. After successful applications and interviews, the Diocesan team will work with the candidates to work out the placement where they are most likely to flourish. This decision will be based on location, church tradition, ministry interests and where there is most likely to be the best working relationship with placement supervisors. This allocation will be a conversation where successful candidates will have a chance to meet with placement supervisors and agree focuses for the placement.

The range of placements offered will offer as diverse a range of opportunities as possible, across differing contexts including urban, post-industrial and rural contexts, as well as differing traditions and theological backgrounds. The complete list of potential placements is currently being finalised and will be advertised prior to participants’ applications opening.

Placements will all adhere to the following criteria:-

  • Proven capacity and ability to nurture, support and develop ministry staff.
  • Effective and stable leadership with a deep understanding of ministry with CYPF.
  • Congregational support for prioritising mission and ministry with CYPF.
  • Established ministries with CYPF, but with extensive opportunities for further missional development.
  • The national and diocesan aim for the scheme is to encourage and equip more people to discern a calling to CYPF ministry and the hope is that a significant proportion of participants will go on to be CYPF ministers in their placement contexts beyond the conclusion of the scheme. However, there is no commitment from either party beyond the initial CYPF MES.

Whilst accommodation is not provided as part of this role, we will work with successful candidates and the local church to explore affordable lodging options with hosts from the placement churches.



Ellie, current Future Youth MES Worker placed at Derby Cathedral, continuing a career working with young people beyond the completion of the scheme.

“After finishing university and moving back home, I wanted to gain experience working with children and young people whilst also accessing some further training, so Future Youth was perfect for me. It also gave me the chance to experience a different type of church and create a new Christian family compared to my normal church that I have grown up in. Although based at the Cathedral, I have been able to explore other youth ministries within the deanery.

I would not have been able to do this scheme if it had not been paid. Due to travel expenses and the climbing increase of living costs, it would not have been viable for me to start, never mind complete. It has given me the life experience of working a full-time job and helped me become more independent.

The highlight of my year has been the increase of children attending Sunday morning service and that of messy cathedral. Bringing part of who I am to the role has been great, including my agricultural background as I brought a lamb to the Easter Messy Cathedral. Asking colleagues at the Cathedral, they have all commented on how my input has led to an increase Messy Cathedral attendance and sustainability as well as the Sunday school. I am proud that being a part of this scheme at the cathedral has led to an increase in youth connection and outreach.”





For more contact Revd Aidan Watson Aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org | 01332 278144


Last modified on Tuesday, 30 April 2024 22:33

A vision for the Church of England in the 2020s is to be 'a Church that is younger and more diverse,' seeking to double the numbers of young disciples by 2030.

Growing Faith is the movement that exists to change the culture of the Church of England, so that everyone instinctively puts children, young people and families at the heart of all the ministry and mission of the Church.

Growing Faith involves churches, schools and households working together to help children, young people and families have life in all its fullness.

As a diocese we are adopting Growing Faith as the basis for our strategic plans to grow younger.

Why is Growing Faith needed?

Jesus (Matt.19:14) and the early church (1. Tim 4:12) placed immense value on the place and role of children and young people in the kingdom of God.

Children, young people and families are vitally important to the church, not merely for our survival into future generations, but because a church that cares about children and young people is indicative of a healthy church.

In this report from the House of Bishops in 2019, there is recognition that ‘it is not always clear that the church is sufficiently focused on the engagement in ministry with children and young people.’

This is despite it being well acknowledged that the vast majority of Christians today have come to faith before the age of 18.

As a church and as a diocese, we have to confess that historically and at present children and young people have not always been intrinsically part of our ministry and mission.

There needs to be a cultural shift.

Growing Faith envisions children, young people and households coming to faith, growing in discipleship and contributing confidently to the Kingdom of God through the community of faith.

It is about how, as members of the whole people of God, children and young people are encouraged and how the whole Church is equipped to think intergenerationally. (A useful summary can be found here )


The Growing Faith Principles

Growing Faith provides a helpful lens for assessing our current practices and potential opportunities.

As we, as churches and as a diocese, seek to give children, young people and families a chance to explore and deepen their faith, it is helpful to look for the meeting places between churches, schools and households.

Alongside our diocesan vision, "The Kingdom of God – good news for all" we are inviting church communities to ask themselves what it would look like to be good news for young people in churches, schools and households.

Three principles are shaping our approach to Growing Faith:

Connected Communities - looking for the meaningful connected community of faith in the intersection between church, school and households.

Spiritual Encounters - engaging in conversations about and expressing faith as people encounter God as individuals and together.

Imaginative Practices - searching for 'a new way of being church' and creating new thinking and new doing in relation to children, young people and households.




  • What is the current picture? +

    Numbers are not always the best way to measure how fruitful a church/ministry is, but they can be a useful tool.

    An estimated 95,800 under 16s attended Sunday church before the pandemic, with 1100 in the Diocese of Derby.

    Most recent provisional national statistics for mission imply this has dropped by as much as 40% between 2019 and 2021.

    Many of our churches are rebuilding their ministries and there is lots of potential across the diocese, but sadly children’s, youth and families ministries were most impacted by the pandemic.

    However, the reality is that there are many opportunities to be good news to children, young people and families, especially since the needs for many have increased.

    We are supporting and encouraging innovative children’s and youth ministries across the diocese.
  • What about small congregations with fewer children? +

    Growing Faith is a vision for all churches, large or small.

    Every congregation can pray for their community and school(s).

    Children, young people and their families need a friendly welcome and the chance to be involved, even if they are just visiting.
  • How should we identify opportunities for Growing Faith? +

    A key recommendation from the national growing faith movement, is that churches are encouraged to do ministry with and not just for children, young people, and families.

    Listening to the voices of children and young people is key if a church is to serve them, but moreover young people are the church of now and we encourage all churches to experience the rich blessing that comes from involving young people as much as possible in all aspects of church life, including decision making structures.
  • What is the Church of England doing nationally to develop Growing Faith? +

    Details of the Growing Faith Foundation can be found online.

    Lucy Moore (formerly of Messy Church) now heads up the team. The work in progress includes:
    • Encouraging networking and shared story-telling across dioceses through growing faith champions.
    • Learning hubs – investing in 12 learning hubs across the country to foster growing faith in different contexts. As a diocese, we have successfully applied for one of these learning hubs commencing in May 2023.
    • Training programmes – developing the pathways for youth, children’s and family workers so that more can explore it as a vocation and progress in it for longer.
    • Research - 13 Growing Faith research projects are underway to further our understanding of growing faith in the intersections between households, schools and churches.
  • How will the church(es) I’m linked with be part of Growing Faith? +

    It’s likely that there will already be areas of GF that are part of your church life.

    Perhaps someone visits and helps in the local school, maybe you are engaging with young people in your community through various ministries, or have ways of involving children and young people in your Sunday worship, or perhaps there is a Toddler group or other activity to support carers and parents.

    Growing Faith is about prayerfully seeking ways to further develop ministry in schools, homes and churches, so that as many children, young people and families have the opportunity to explore and grow their faith.
  • How can we pray? +

    Prayer underpins all our local, diocesan and national efforts to reach the younger generations with the good news of the Kingdom of God.

    In line with the national bold outcome to double the number of young disciples in the church by 2030, there is a weekly national prayer meeting on zoom every Tuesday 1-1.20pm.

    The aim is for 1000 people to pray weekly.

    To get the login information email aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org
  • 1


Revd Aidan Watson (Strategic Youth Adviser)  will be working to develop Growing Faith across the diocese. If you are looking to develop your growing faith ministry, or if you have stories of innovative ministry with children, young people and families to share with others, please contact.

Revd Aidan Watson Aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org | 01332 278144


Last modified on Tuesday, 23 April 2024 14:48

Introducing the Diocese of Derby’s Disability Inclusion Action Group (DIAG)

Disability inclusion and access is taken very seriously by the Diocese of Derby. 

Volunteers, with a range of disabilities and challenges, who all share the passion of making positive change across the diocese launched the DIAG to support the diocese and parishes to become as inclusive to disabled people as they possibly can be.

Our work is focused around three key themes - Attitude, Access, and Agency.

These themes arise from the paper ‘Disabling Church’ researched and written by Cptn Tim Rourke, which was received and endorsed by Diocesan Synod in October 2021.

The report focused on changing attitudes towards disabled people, improving access to all the church’s activities, and ensuring disabled people are enabled to exercise agency by participating at all levels in church life and governance.

The group meet regularly and is chaired by Carl Veal. The group always welcomes interest and/or enquiries from congregation and churches across the diocese.


What can we do for you?

We view our purpose as serving the needs of the disabled within the Diocese of Derby.

All of our activities and tools are designed by the group towards making the lives of those with challenges easier within the churches across our diocese.

Our information is intended for all the people of the diocese; clergy, church leaders and parishoners alike and currently includes:

  1. The provision of accessibility advice and you may contact us directly at diag@derby.anglican.org. We would love to hear from you.
  2. As we progress, we will be offering seminars both online and in groups – keep a look out for announcements.
  3. We can offer advice based on the very personal experiences of living with a range of disabilities. The members of the diag group are comprised of volunteers mostly with disability or multiple disabilities of some form.

We are currently working on making available a Braille print toolkit; and a BSL toolkit which willl include how to engage British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters. We are also liiking into access to completing a successful accessibility audit through an audit toolkit.

NB: All contact is treated in confidence and information will only be shared with express consent.


Getting Involved

We’d love to hear from you as your thoughts and experiences of church life and disability are important in developing best practice.

So whether you’re an individual with ‘lived’ or ‘caring' experience of disability, or a church, or community organisation, do get in contact with us.

We love to hear of new projects and events, and if you want to get more involved then we're always welcoming to new members joining our steering group.


DIAG related stories on the Diocese of Derby website

>> Bishop Malcolm experiences church from a wheelchair user’s perspective

>> Special service raises awareness of disability inclusion in churches



Please note - unless otherwise stated, events listed here are external and not endorsed by the Diocese of Derby but we are happy to share the information on them.

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Ramps - improving wheelchair access


Disability Awareness Sunday [webpage]

Supporting Autistic individuals in our churches [YouTube]

DIAG Chairman's report 2021-2022 [PDF]

All Stand brochure [PDF]

Disabling Church - report by Cptn Tim Rourke C.A. [PDF]

'Support Reimagined' - CofE and Livability [webpage]

Christian BSL
Songs, hymns, and carols in British Sign Language (BSL) signed by Deaf Christians.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Thursday, 18 May 2024. Purpose of the day is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.

Through the Roof
A registered charity that exists to transform lives through Jesus with disabled people.

Last modified on Tuesday, 05 March 2024 10:40

Christian Aid is asking people to join the global day of action on Saturday, 6 November, as people around the world take to the streets to march together for climate justice.

Many walks and marches are planned throughout the country, and for those who are unable or prefer not to join an organised event, there is the opportunity to join a virtual march, for which thousands have already registered.

The COP26 climate talks provide a unique opportunity for the nation to call on the UK Prime Minister and world leaders to take action that will end climate injustice.

Christian says our leaders must:

  • increase financial support to the world’s poorest countries to confront the climate crisis take action
  • limit global temperature rises to 1.5C
  • take action to stop the expansion of fossil fuel energy and to support clean energy

Find out more on the Christian Aid website.

Last modified on Thursday, 28 October 2021 15:26

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