Churches for young people, by young people

20 OCT 2020

At least thirty more Missional Youth Churches (MYCs) could be established across the country with the support of £200,000 funding from Allchurches Trust.

The Allchurches’ grant will enable The Missional Youth Church Network (MYCN) to significantly expand reach over the next three years, creating churches ‘for young people by young people’, with a particular focus on engaging and supporting ‘non-churched’ young people in disadvantaged rural and urban areas.
Andy Milne, CA, Missional Youth Church Network Strategic Lead, said: “The past six months of COVID restrictions have only increased the need to reach out to young people, creating Christ-centered communities where young people are valued, encouraged and empowered and where they can simply be themselves, growing in trust and hopefully becoming a family of God. 
"There have been many encouraging conversations with those interested in establishing MYCs and the grant will help to consolidate this so that we can continue to grow this work over the next three years.”
MYCN began in the North of England in April 2019 and is a joint partnership with Church Army, the Archbishop of York Youth Trust and the Office of the Archbishop of York. Its vision is to establish at least 30 Missional Youth Churches (MYC) over the next five years, enabling 11 to 18-year-olds to build a community and discover their faith. 
Working with churches, schools and dioceses to explore the possibility of establishing MYCs in their locality, there is a particular focus on disadvantaged areas, in communities that have been left behind, and where there is little or no church youth work. From its beginnings in the North of England, MYCN now has more than 16 partnerships developing from Carlisle to Wrexham, Durham to Canterbury.
The Archbishop of York, The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said: “This is fantastic news. I want to say a huge thank you to all of those involved in the vision and development of this initiative and I look forward to taking the next steps with MYCN and seeing where God is leading us!”
Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, added: “The pandemic has presented huge challenges for the church in engaging with young people, but it has also opened new doors; and there is a real opportunity to co-create church with the next generation. The Missional Youth Church Network has the potential to be transformational in communities and young people’s lives, and we’re delighted that our funding will support their plans for numerical and spiritual growth.”
Since the launch of MYCN in 2019, there have been many expressions of interest and exploration of how MYCs could be established. Two projects, still in their infancy, give an idea of how the help, resources and support available from MYCN can begin to bring young people together in community.
On the Seacroft Estate in Leeds, former Special Operations Combat Officer, Neil Obbard, was licensed in January 2020 to begin a Missional Youth Church. Working with Church Army, Bishop Young Academy and local churches, Neil has begun to build relationships with the school and its pupils. Despite lockdown, he has been developing those relationships and establishing community, helping deliver food and welfare parcels to local families connected with the school, also supporting staff as they navigate the reopening of school to students.
In Archbishop Sentamu Academy, Hull, the Academy Chaplain, Anne Richards, knows the area and the young people very well. Talks have proved fruitful and Anne, with others from the Academy and local church, is currently praying and seeking funding to employ a youth worker who can work with the school and local churches to set up an MYC there. A Christian leader said, “there is a real sense that God wants this to happen in this place.”
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