“The youth are here because they choose to be here."

Primary Media
Published On: December 20, 2022

Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.”

But as Amy Crawford knows, you can’t be passive when trying to bring young people to the church.

“We took it for granted that youth and young adults were going to be in the church,” the Team Lead for Identity and Mission says. “And we can’t take that for granted anymore.”

But Crawford is not painting a dark picture here. “Our youth ministry in the United Church in many ways has grown in recent years,” she says. “The youth are here because they choose to be here. And they’re here because they find a place for themselves.”

Crawford has been doing ministry with youth and young adults for almost 30 years, and she’s never been more excited about the future for youth leadership in the church.

Recently, 45 youth at the General Council Youth Forum received honorariums to pursue passion projects on social justice, anti-racism, and Indigenous justice issues. As a result, they developed educational resources and social media programs for their congregations.

“These will be resources for the whole church,” Crawford says excitedly.

Mission & Service has funded outdoor ministries like camps and supported youth and young adults to take education trips, receive project grants, and initiate new ministries.

Crawford recalls one young woman who attended the General Council 43 Youth Forum. She went on to serve as a summer intern with the Church in Mission Unit, working on social justice initiatives for youth. Now, four years later, she serves on the General Council Executive and the Moderator’s Advisory Committee.

“When we provide opportunities for young people, it really does have a lasting impact on their lives and on the church,” Crawford reveals.

What would Crawford want supporters like you to know about the impact of your generosity?

“I would want them to know that young people make a difference,” she says, “that they are creating the next generation of leaders in the church and even beyond the church.”

A more detailed video, A Deeper Look: Working with Young Leaders, is available on YouTube.