A YOUTH worker from east London has been appointed the Church of England’s first Youth Evangelism Officer.
Jimmy Dale, who previously ran Newham Youth for Christ, will take up the post in October, developing new ways to witness to 11-to-18-year-olds, and rolling these out across the dioceses.
His appointment is a result of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s focus on evangelism. The Archbishops’ Task Group on Evangelism reported early this year that much more needed to be done to reach out to teenagers, including appointing a bishop to lead this ministry (News, 5 February) It welcomed the news that a Youth Evangelism Officer would be appointed.
More than half of the parishes in the C of E have fewer than five young people in them, the From Anecdote to Evidence report on Church growth suggested (News, 17 January 2014).
The Task Group’s report, which was endorsed by the General Synod in February (News, 26 February), also recommended parishes and diocese hire more youth workers and that every deanery create a plan for how they intend to share the gospel with teenagers.
“It’s brilliant to see young people as they evangelise to their friends and support them in that, and helping churches reach young people with the good news of Jesus,” Mr Dales said.
“I am really looking forward to working alongside people across the country as we seek to support and promote where youth evangelism is working well, as well as dreaming together of new ways to reach young people with the gospel.”
Mr Dale will work within the Mission and Public Affairs department at Church House, Westminster, as well as the National Education Office of the Archbishops’ Council.
The director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, said that appointing Mr Dale was a “creative response to the priority of youth evangelism” that would combine resources from both his department and the education team.
Mr Dale’s post “will start to address the challenges of reaching out to a generation which can confound our assumptions about how they see the world, the church and the gospel”.