Generation to Generation (Gen2) Project Mid-term Evaluation

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Abstract

Church participation in Western countries over the past fifty years has experienced a decrease (Webber, et al. 2010). The engagement of children and especially young people is among the biggest issues of Diocese and parishes (Webber, et al. 2010). A report developed by Youthscape (2016), a Christian youth organisation, highlighted how churches mainly engage with children (ages 5 to 10) than youth (ages 11 to 18). In fact, the latest research invites churches to participate in understanding if ministries are reaching out to non-religious young people and if they are able to listen and address questions of religious young people about their faith (Youthscape, 2022).

The Generation to Generation (Gen2) project objective is to improve the engagement of children, youth, and families with the church and develop supportive environments that are responsive to their needs. Primarily, with an innovative training pathway, the Gen2 project seeks to fit in two professional narratives, Ministry and worker (either Youth or Children and Family), the former involving the participants' faith journey, and the latter ensuring their positive development (Clyne, 2015; APPG, 2019). This training pathway seeks to improve the engagement of young people by changing the culture of the Diocese, altering the lens through which we view and hear young people in our churches. The Gen2 project is ongoing and it has been delivered by the Peterborough Dioceses since October 2020 in several areas: Kettering, Towcester, Corby, Higham, Rutland, Peterborough, and Wellingborough.

Thisresearch evaluation outlines the experiences of the participants, the volunteers, the mission enablers, and the overall organisation around the Gen2 project using a mixed method approach mainly driven by qualitative data. Quantitative data were provided by the Peterborough Diocese from October 2018 to May 2022 and were collected at sessions implemented by the Gen2 mission enablers and the volunteers. Qualitative data consisted of 36 semi-structured interviews with participants, volunteers, mission enablers and broader organisation members (such as the project lead and the rectors of the benefice) and focused on the needs of programme participants and the programme performance.

Overall, the data showed that Gen2 increases the engagement with the Church and that mission enablers are able to respond positively to the participants’ needs. The quantitative data showed that the activities have been increasing over time and that Gen2 is able to achieve some of the innovative goals, including creating more outreaching programme, especially for young people. The qualitative data show that the beneficiaries of the programme felt that their needs were being met and that the programme was responsive to their needs, with each participant expressing positive experiences since they engaged.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Northampton Institute of Social Innovation and Impact
Commissioning bodyAnglican Diocese of Peterborough
Number of pages62
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2022

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