Learn: Children and Young People


Passing on the faith to the next generations is an exciting and challenging journey, a journey that can at times be exasperating, and a journey during which we all need a little help sometimes.

Learn: Children and Young People, draws on the experiences and wisdom of many practitioners to offer you encouragement, inspiration and thinking that will help you on that journey.

This collection of articles explores how we can be church together, how we can work together and how we can be formed together. Each article works as a stand-alone resource but equally builds on the others.

Written by experienced youth and children’s workers from a wide variety of contexts (including Grant Barclay, Mark Arnold, Martyn Payne, Val Brown, Richard Knott, Stewart Cutler, Graeme McMeekin, Tony Stephen, Jen Robertson, Vicky Stigant and Ewen Glen) the range of articles provides a starting point for further thought, each offering questions to think about or for discussion, ideas for further reading, actions to try and resources to use.

  • Part One: Being Church Together focuses on children and young people and the church community, the Bible, baptism and communion, inter-generational ministry
  • Part Two: Leadership explores pastoral care, family issues, mental health problems, being an effective leader, reaching and keeping volunteers, developing leadership in children and young people
  • Part Three: Mission and Discipleship looks at faith formation in children and young people, chaplaincy, Fresh Expressions of children's and youth work, children and young people in social action and in world mission.

Attractively illustrated throughout and enlivened by actual stories of local projects, this is an essential volume for all involved in working with children and young people.  Use it on your own, or gather as a group to discuss together.

Available now from all good book retailers RRP £10. Save up to 35% on bulk order purchases from St Andrew Press.

Excerpts from Learn: Children and Young People

Children, Young People and Baptism

Paul T. Nimmo, King’s Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Aberdeen

In this way, baptism is about far more than one person. It is an event which involves the whole family of God in a service of celebration – rejoicing in the new person being welcomed formally into the church and rejoicing in the great blessings of God of which the sacrament of baptism is a sign. The promises being taken by those closest to the font – the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the infant or the adults being themselves baptised – are in no sense more important than those being taken by those in the pews: in baptism, the whole community is drawn together in a renewal of faith, purpose and direction in their Christian discipleship.

Dealing with Family Issues

Kerry Reilly, Chief Exectutive, YWCA Scotland

The children and young people in our congregations and communities don’t exist on their own in a vacuum - they all belong to families.

That means that as churches, we need to be mindful of the fact that we are dealing with children and young people who may be exposed to a range of family issues – new siblings, divorce, blended families, illness, bereavement, distance, addiction, unemployment etc. Such family issues can be complicated and messy and wonderful and challenging all at the same time.

Often as adults, we can find it difficult to discuss deeply personal issues such as grief, relationships and personal trauma with other adults.  How then do we begin to approach these issues with children and young people?


Jonathon Fraser, Youth Minister for Hilton Parish Church

So, rather than confining children and young people to certain pews or sequestering them in the church hall, we need to make opportunities for them to fully participate in the priestly office that is as much theirs in Christ as it is ours.  We need to recognise that children and young people are not a demographic that we minister to, but priests of God we minster with. Therefore, we need to make sure that they are active participants in all the practices that lead us into the presence of God - our discipleship-making, our hospitality, our proclamation, our serving and our worship.


“This new production from the Learn series will not answer every question, nor indeed will it meet with universal welcome. That is good! What it will do is enable and encourage thoughtful and informed discussion in this important area of our Church’s life. It will challenge us to consider again how we include all God’s children, whatever their age, within the life and worship of our Church.”

Right Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (2017-2018)

“Children and young people matter. The dynamic and life affirming presence they bring today matters. The hope and potential they bring for tomorrow matters. Living faith shared between the generations matters.  If all this matters to you, then this book has been written for you; may God challenge, affirm and bless you as these words take shape and bring life within your congregation.”

Jamie Milliken, Convener of the Congregational Learning Group, Mission and Discipleship Council

“This collection of articles is a must read for anyone in church leadership, especially those working with children and young people. Each article gives experience and fresh insights into this ministry with ideas to further reflect, read more on the topic and act in your own church and community. It is a quick read which won’t collect dust on the bookshelf as I will refer to it again and again.”

Michelle Brown, Family Worker, Portobello & Joppa Parish Church

Further reading and resources

Our Children and Youth webpages have a wealth of information on a variety of topics and showcase further training events.

How Will Our Children Have Faith? Is a small guide designed to help you put new ideas into action. The guide is composed of four sessions which encourage reflection on the theology of youth and children's work; on the specific needs of the community in which the church is based; on the work the church is currently doing; and finally on developing an action plan for up to three years.