What is the impact of church buildings on church youth work in the twenty-first century?

It has become apparent through experience that whilst every church building is different, all have both positive and negative effects on church youth work.  This research intends to explore, with both youth leaders and young people, the impact their church building has on the church’s youth work. The analysis of this data seeks to draw out key conclusions as well as recommendations for future practice.
The research draws on the knowledge of relevant theorists and theologians as well as individuals from three churches that were used as case studies. The youth leader from each church was interviewed and also completed a diary entry whilst the young people filled in a questionnaire, with thirty-six young people participating in total.

This study concludes with the key findings and recommendations for future practice. The results indicate that; church buildings are good places to run youth work and are welcoming to young people; youth rooms are seen as beneficial to both young people and youth workers; and for older church buildings new extensions or re-ordering of spaces can help to improve the building for youth work. At the same time, the layout of church buildings can make safeguarding challenging and the building can limit youth work in ways such as; availability of rooms, rules as to what activities are allowed in the sanctuary and as a result of the architecture for example pillars.

Emily Twigg

Emily graduated from Bristol CYM.