One of the challenges in starting a youth ministry is engaging with young people and young people who are not part of the church family. Scripture Union has a statistic that 95% of young people have no contact with the Church. So how do we introduce young people to the church and more importantly Jesus? And the church to young people?

If you don’t know where to start with your youth ministry, it is good to see if there are easy wins and simple ideas which will start building relationships between Christians and the young people of the area. A simple idea is to engage with the young people who are in the church building. Are there any young people who sit in your churchyard? Do young people walk past your church after school?

St Nicholas in Warwick noticed that many young people from the three local secondary schools walked past their church every day in term time. This created an opportunity to interact, to share something of the love of God, and to slowly build meaningful conversations with local young
people.

The idea was simple, to buy and give away ice creams to young people every week during the exam season in June. A small team was gathered and in the first week, 45 ice creams were given out. The second week was more popular with 65 ice creams being given out. overall, in the six weeks of the project, over 300 ice creams have been given to secondary school-age young people.

During this time, several significant conversations have been had between members of the team and the young people receiving ice cream. Including offering to pray for two young people’s job interview, and their reflections on exams which they had just sat. The young people actively walk through the churchyard now rather than going around and some familiar faces and names are emerging.

The project has been a good starting point for the church seeking to engage more with children and young people and it is hoped that this project could be developed into something more long-term which will build relationships and opportunities to share faith.

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:1-2

“Some of the young people have stopped for a chat, telling us how a small treat had brightened a hard day or perked them up after a tough exam. It has been brilliant to see how such a simple act of kindness can make someone feel valued and cared for. We pray that this small ministry will grow into something that is shaped by the young people themselves in the coming months.”
Rev. Eira Hale Curate St. Nicholas