Children / Youth
At the Countess Free Church we believe that all children are a gift from God. We also believe that they have a natural spirituality deep inside, which we want to nurture and encourage. We want to help each individual child to know God through Jesus, and see the Spirit at work in their lives.
Our work with children and young people involves coming alongside, providing opportunities to discover, question, and have a go for themselves. This permeates into our Sunday whole church gatherings, as well as smaller group settings and one to one with individuals. In all occasions we recognise that we can learn from the children as well as the children learning from adults.
Towards secondary school age we try we encourage the children to take part in a small informal group, where they can do an activity and explore with others of a similar age. On moving up to secondary school they can also join our youth activities (explained in more detail on our youth page). We figure that there is no one single approach that works with all young people, so typically we have a range of things going on.
As the children progress through secondary school we also try to buddy them with an informal mentor: an adult who will look out for them, chat to them about life and suggest things to encourage them in their faith. This is optional, but we find most young people accept this offer of friendship. In parallel we offer opportunities for young people to have a go themselves, volunteering and taking responsibility in different situations. We love to foster emerging leaders, and this approach really has no limits – we have even had sixth formers on our church leadership team learning how to be a trustee of the church charity. At each stage we try to work out what is appropriate and affirming for each young person – recognising that each child is different.
Our aim and desire for each child and young person is that they discover Jesus for themselves, and that they grow in faith towards lifelong discipleship and service of Jesus.
Safeguarding is important to us at Countess Free Church, so we have a named safeguarding coordinator (see our leadership team page) and volunteers in contact roles are vetted by DBS checks in line with our safeguarding policy.