Invited to Belong (a partnership between Youthscape and Urban Saints) is a six-part journey to consider, alongside those you work with, how you might invite young people with additional needs to find a place of belonging within your community, your youth group, your church. Inside the resource are six envelopes, designed to be opened in order, each with a different reflective task, activity, or challenge inside. Once you’ve completed one, only then should you move on to the next.
Now you could use these envelopes in a variety of ways – you could set aside a Saturday, get the team together, and lock yourselves away together until you’ve opened every one! If that’s not your style, you could all arrive an hour early to youth group for six weeks and open one at a time… the choice of how you take this journey is up to you. But no matter how you chose to do it, there are some things you can all expect:
And finally, expect, not just your youth work, but also for you, to be changed. To become people who have the heart, the knowledge, and the will, to see every missing young person invited to find a genuine sense of belonging within God's Church.
"I wish I had this resource many years ago – it is a breath of fresh air and a much needed resource for us all to proactively think through how we engage, love and give a warm welcome to young people with additional needs." - Youthwork Plus
“We used some (Invited to Belong) at our youth group team meeting, with some of our young leaders, and it produced some really helpful conversations. We’ve come up with a good list of ways we can make our group better and more inclusive! These resources are really invaluable.” Thrive, Leeds
The following is designed to be used in conjunction with the Invited to Belong resource pack:
Stories of inclusion and accessibility done well in churches and Christian youth groups:
The Bible studies / devotionals, highlighting what Jesus was really teaching us through his encounters with those he healed, are also available on the Grow mobile app:
Click on one or more of the following information sheets to help with the Barriers to Belonging session:
For further support and guidance on how to make changes in your context, here's a document that you might find helpful. These top tips were originally compiled in partnership with the Methodist Church for their Belonging Conference:
The following checklist highlights common barriers and suggests what might need attention so that you can take steps to bring about change in your context.
Let's create places across the country where everyone truly belongs! You can download copies of the example invitations below - and if you would like to order some more hard copies of the postcards (while stocks last), you can do so below too:
© Youthscape and Urban Saints 2021