In figures that belie the image of the Church as ageing and declining, statistics collated for 2013 show that people under the age of 30 now account for 23% of all those entering training and that young ordinands are at their highest level for 20 years.
In both 2012 and 2013, 113 young people were accepted for training. In the previous eight years an average of 93 were under 30.
Young Vocations Adviser Liz Boughton told Premier Christianity that young adults came from different theological traditions, including conservative evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and charismatic evangelicals, many of the latter having been encouraged to go for training through Soul Survivor.
She said the increased numbers were because the Church had been intentional in helping young people who have a sense of calling to make a response.
‘We have a Young Vocations Champion in every diocese to support any young people exploring a sense of calling. Many dioceses run conferences. We are developing the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme giving people a year to have a really good taster of what ordained ministry might be like. We have a Facebook page and website to keep young people informed.’
23% of new CofE trainees are under 30
She added: ‘We are working with clergy, bishops and anyone who will listen – like Christianity readers – to explain that this is a matter of mission. We need young adults to express the gospel afresh to their peer group – a group under-represented in our Church.
‘Once young people know that the Church welcomes and needs their gifts, they are more likely to offer for ministry sooner rather than later.’