The Scottish Government has established 6 key themes for YOYP 2018. These themes were developed by young people across Scotland and will guide the activities for the year.

Across the Church of Scotland, we are broadening these themes to include a particular focus every month. Below you will find suggested prayers, actions and stories for each theme throughout 2018.

January - One Church / One Body

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-8

Living Life Together

Congregational life can be tiring, too many meetings and rotas, not enough volunteers.

However, we long for real community, we want to live life together – sharing meals, chatting, being present for each other in the times of celebration and the tough times of life. This is what good families do together and God has always called us into family living – a family where all are welcomed. Is this one of the reasons the early church grew so rapidly?

It was counter cultural as people discovered God as they worshipped, prayed, shared, explored the apostles’ teaching, and lived life together.

Messy Church has taken me to a new place in my church experience, it has shown me how creating a relaxed, welcoming, worshipping, creative environment enables us to be church for all ages. This doesn’t have to happen in a Messy Church (although I think that it is a great way to do it!) there are many ways we can make our churches places where we can live life together, focussing our energies on creating life changing attractive communities.

Faith was never meant to be kept in a little compartment but to part of our whole lives, “Talk about it when you sit at home and when walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut 6:7

Source: Jen Robertson, previous Schools/Churches Development Worker for Hamilton presbytery, written July 2017



  • Use the Year of Young People Service outline for a service including all ages
  • Discuss with your children and young people how you can get involved in the Year of Young People
  • Do the Have Your Say listening exercise - Toolkit p.16
  • Do the Church Healthcheck
  • Have some discussion on your vision and practice with children and young people in the Kirk Session - Toolkit p.11
  • What gifts and contributions can you celebrate in your children and young people?
  • How can you get more intergenerational conversation and activity in your church?
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?

Explore Further

February - Health and Wellbeing

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

How can we Get It Right for our children & young people?

"We all want our children and young people to be fully supported as they grow up from birth, through to childhood and adolescence.


Some may experience temporary difficulties, some may live with challenges, and some may experience more complex issues; and sometimes a child and their families are going to need help and support.

So what is Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) and how will it help the church to continue to support and nurture the children, young people and families in our communities?

GIRFEC is a national approach to supporting and working with all children and young people in Scotland, to make Scotland the #bestplacetogrowup. To achieve this we require a positive culture towards children, and fundamental to achieving this is respecting the rights set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Children’s Rights."

Read more on the Social Care Forum

Source: Tanya Anderson, GIRFEC Development Officer with CrossReach, written November 2017


  • How does your church or group promote physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual health?
  • What can you do around physical health? Can you do a sponsored walk or a pilgrimage? Offer healthy snacks in church groups
  • Can you plan for an outdoor or active opportunity? Go on a camp, do a sponsored walk or a pilgrimage?
  • Review the food offered at church. Can healthy snacks be offered?
  • Get involved in CrossReach Grey Cakes mental health campaign
  • Discuss youth mental health with young people, members of your church and community (read the NYA 2016 Mental Health and the Church report)
  • Singpost young people to local support services
  • Do you know about the Convention on the Rights of the Child? What does the Bible say about children’s rights? How can you discuss this with your young people
  • Use Cal the Octopus to explore the 8 child wellbeing indicators for young people to live life in all its fullnes
  • Explore and teach Christian meditation/mindfulness as a way to manage anxiety
  • Provide accredited first aid training for young people
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?


Heavenly Father
We ask that you open our eyes to the needs of others,
We pray that you will open our ears to hear their cries,
Our hearts are broken due to all the tragedies which are,
happening in this world.
We read about the fatalities that are occurring due to the wars,
Which are taking place.
We hear about the children who have lost their families and their homes.
We pray that those who are making the decisions that affect the World,
Can learn how to show compassion, respect and love,


Dear God
Thank you for my family and friends all over the world,
Thank you for food and water that we eat and drink,
Please help and pray for people who have been hurt or injured by bad people,
Please help those who have lost someone in their family,
Thank you God for all you do for us,
And thank you for loving us,


March - Community, Enterprise and Regeneration

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

Making a Difference

In the Blackhill/Provanmill area of north east Glasgow, which is 47th on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation list, youth crime has dropped from 116 reported crimes in 2006 to two in 2016.

Much of the credit for this lies with St Paul’s Youth Forum, an arm’s-length charity which grew out of the youth club of St Paul’s Church.

Neil Young, who manages the project, says that its impact is based on ‘listening to young people, saying that we realise this is a problem, and asking what we can do to help’.

“There were a lot of problems with gang violence, and alcohol and drug abuse was rife, so a lot of our energy was directed towards working alongside the community, to create alternative ideas and outlooks.”

From a youth night for teenagers once a week, the Youth Forum has mushroomed into a seven-day-a-week operation with clubs for all ages, community youth radio station Bolt FM, residential trips, a food growing and cooking project and more.

All of this, Neil says, is driven by the young people themselves.

“All these bits and pieces stem from the young people’s ideas, and we support and nurture them. They are the ones with the power and control, and our staff are there to support the young people’s dreams."

“There is a real sense of belonging. Some of the young people are here just about every day."

“We don’t bar anyone. We have worked with young people who have caused thousands and thousands of pounds of damage, but we have a message of grace. No matter what they do, we’ll say ‘see you tomorrow’ – and that’s really challenged a number of young people because they are expecting to be excluded."

Source: Thomas Baldwin, Life and Work, written June 2017



  • Celebrate young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live.
  • How can your children and young people contribute ideas to ‘regenerate’ your church? What ideas do they have? How can they be involved?
  • Is your church an eco-church? How are, or could, young people get involved in this initiative?
  • What contribution can your church and young people have to ‘greening’ your local community? Campaign for climate change
  • How can we celebrate where young people are innovative or showing entrepreneurship?
  • Encourage and celebrate youth involvement in community councils and leadership roles at school etc.
  • Intergenerational clean up teams to remove litter from surrounding neighbourhood/beauty spots
  • Create a social enterprise to meet a need and be self-funding/generate money for another area of ministry
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?

Explore Further

  • Priority Areas Blog: Priorities... Mosaics by Rachel Smith. "One theme that has come up over and over this past year is the question: how are we being the church? Within Scotland, within The States, within this 21st century world, how are we the church?"

April - Equality and Discrimination

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8



  • What forms of discrimination do your young people face?
  • What areas do your young people want to discuss and think more about?
  • Are there peace and justice initiatives or campaigns to get involved with?
  • With the terrible events that have happened in the world over the past few years, how can we support young people to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination and engage with others in peace building?
  • The National Youth Assembly in 2017 explored interfaith work. How might your young people explore this?
  • Lock-ins or sleeping rough to raise awareness about homelessness and refugees
  • Examine the Church's work with those with additional support needs
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?


Dear God,
We pray for all those in our world suffering from racism, sexism and religious discrimination.
For the individuals who are silenced for expressing their beliefs.
For the people who feel marginalized within society.
Please help them remain positive despite physical and psychological strife.
Help them to forgive those who persecute them
or who fail to treat them with respect.

Forgive us, Lord, if we consciously or
unconsciously share in the conditions
or in a system that perpetuates injustice.

Please enlighten all Your disciples
that discrimination does not only come in the form of lowering others
but it demonstrates itself in the process of granting of privileges
to select groups of people as well.
Guide lawmakers and those at the head of government make decisions that
grant all individuals equal status under the law.


Source: Kira Kowalczyk, 2015

May - Participation and Influence

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Deficit vs. Abundance

Starting from a place of deficit we find ourselves succumbing to a survival mentality, trying to do the best we can to ensure we have enough children left to ensure the future of our institution. We begin to focus on what children and young people can bring to the church in the future rather than what they can bring now.

All our efforts go on ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to do the things that we will need them to do when they are adults. We easily forget to see the bigger picture, finding ourselves competing with other congregations in our communities for the few children we do have, thinking there will never be enough to go around.

We start to chase after the magic resource that will change our fortunes, copying what we perceive to be success elsewhere, believing it to be the answer to our problems.

I don’t think this is a healthy place to be and it is certainly not helping to bring about the sort of change that I believe God is desiring in our churches

The God I believe in is a God of abundance not of deficit. A God with whom there is always more, a God of hope, a God who desires to see us grow and have life in all its fullness. When we recognise all that God has done and is doing for us we begin to join in, following the Spirits leading, willingly sharing such abundance with others, regardless of age.

Starting from a place of abundance helps us to notice the stories of children who have found love within our church communities, the stories of young people being released from pain and given hope, the stories of adults whose faith has been inspired by the questions and thoughts of children.

Hearing these stories leads us to yearn for more and to being more willing to change what we are doing so that we are in step with the Spirit, leading others to join the party too.

Source: Suzi Farrant, Suzi's blog, written March 2017



  • Give young people the chance to influence decisions that affect their lives
  • How are young people involved in decisions in the church? How can this be developed?
  • How can young people be more involved in the Kirk Session?
  • Ask children and young people what they want to do in the groups they attend
  • How are young people involved in decisions at Presbytery and national level – can they attend National Youth Assembly or become a General Assembly Youth Rep?
  • Can young people share a video of something they are proud of or some challenges they want to share with the wider church?
  • To further develop your relationship with your children and young people, find out if any young people or children participate in the decision-making within their school. Are they members of the Pupil Council? Eco Committee? Or any equivalent? Celebrate these achievements with your young people.
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?

Explore Further

  • Watch Suzi Farrant's keynote talk on falling numbers and how to involve young people in church life

June - Volunteers

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. Ephesians 4:11-1

Youth Workers Play Vital Role in Church

"I believe children’s and youth work, whether paid or voluntary is a vital part of the Church today, because children and young people are a vital part of the life of the Church.

A lot of people say they are the future of our Church - while that is one way of putting it, I believe they, along with the rest of our congregations, are the intergenerational present of our church who all grow in faith together.

I feel the quote by Frank.A.Clark is very accurate, in which he said: ‘There’s nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child’."

Continue reading this story

Source: Gigha Lennox, Children’s and Youth Worker at St David’s Broomhouse Parish Church


Nurturing God,
We pray for all those who work with
and support children and young people
- for those of all ages who give their time, talents and love
to create a place in churches and communities
that can be the foundation of growth,
confidence and a relationship with you.

Source: Year of Young People Prayer


  • The first week of June is National Volunteer Week – can you do something special to celebrate?
  • Give thanks and pray for your volunteers during a special service
  • Give your volunteers a certificate to recognise their work and contribution
  • Show a powerpoint or short video of the youth group's activities throughout the year
  • Show photos or videos of all the volunteers involved in your church
  • Share stories and examples of what volunteers have done
  • Find a creative way to thank the youth leaders and workers
  • Project idea: Calculate the approximate number of hours people volunteer within your church
  • Don’t forget the many volunteers involved through Brigade and other groups using church premises
  • Celebrate non-church volunteering e.g. befriending; scouts/guides as also out-working of faith
  • Help young people who volunteer to gain recognition through Duke of Edinburgh uniform groups or saltire awards
  • Encourage young people to take up leadership roles within their churches
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?

July - Culture

Fan into flame the gift that is in you. Timothy 1:6

Gifts are given for the common good. Corinthians 12:7


  • How can you support local youth theatre and music?
  • What aspect of your local culture can young people celebrate?
  • How might you get involved with local events?
  • Can you involve children and young people in music and drama within your services?
  • Can young people create some artwork for the church building?
  • What Scottish talents do your young people have and how can this be celebrated?
  • Involve young people in planning for church events e.g. Burns Supper
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?


Almighty God,
Through your Holy Spirit you created unity
in the midst of diversity;
We acknowledge that human diversity
is an expression of your manifold love for your creation;
Enable us to be the architects
of understanding, of respect and love;
Through the Lord, the ground of all unity, we pray.

Source: Young people at Dalmuir Barclay Church

August - Education

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:19

Ten Must Know Bible Stories


The Ten Must Know Bible Stories project is a local church working with local schools to collaboratively develop resources for teaching Christianity as part of their RME (Religious and Moral Education) Programme.

We are privileged to work in 7 local primary schools and together we wrote and trialled resources with their classes. Our lesson plans are active and hands on. They link to other areas of the curriculum and help children hear and know the story, explore for themselves what the God of the Bible is like and to consider their own beliefs.

The response from children and staff has been overwhelming. We have all been amazed at the deep thinking the children show in discussion and questions, the delight in their faces as we take our lessons outside and the many opportunities there have been to help them process the world around them. It is an incredible privilege to be involved in their learning.

Source: Sue Thomson, Schools Worker, St Columba's Church of Scotland


  • What involvement and support can your church give local schools – both staff and pupils?
  • How can you further develop and strengthen your relationship with local schools?
  • Explore ideas from Serve Your Local School
  • How can young people you work with support others in their schools?
  • Project idea: anti-bullying campaign in partnership with schools
  • Activity idea: online safety discussion
  • How can you best support the young people within your church at exam time?
  • How can you support young people in transitions from primary to secondary schools or secondary to work/university?
  • Get involved in mentorship/reading programmes at local primary schools
  • Organise for a school visit to the church as part of their Religious and Moral Education
  • Set up Prayer Spaces in a local school
  • Help start a Scripture Union in a local school
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?


Heavenly Father,
Help us to remember that we are all different
in our understanding and their learning.
But we share a common bond with one another,
we are loved by You for our uniqueness and individuality.
We pray for all the children who do not have the privilege
of a free education or a school to go to
due to war or due to poverty.

May we all walk in God’s light of compassion and understanding
so that one day we can teach the next generation
the very nature of God himself.
Help our children to use the knowledge and guidance they receive at school
to have the ability to show patience and kindness
to those slower to learn than themselves
and give them the understanding to realise
that God entrusted us all with different talents and abilities.


September - Global Justice

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-40

Boys' Brigade Support Children Refugees

Boys' Brigade companies across Scotland are being encouraged to get involved to support the work of St Andrew’s Refugee Service (StARS) in Cairo. Money raised will be used to build outdoor play facilities for refugee children and young people for StARS, which provides a safe and inclusive space for displaced people to come together as a community.

In the previous fundraising appeal, BB members took part in the ‘Climate Conscious’ Project which raised £10,000 to support environmental efforts in Bangladeshi villages.

John Sharp, Director for Scotland, The Boys’ Brigade, said: “I would encourage as many people as possible to support the new WMF project. I think StARS is an incredibly worthwhile cause. Refugee children haven’t always had the freedoms that we enjoy, but I hope that we can raise enough money to support young people to play, have fun and be themselves.

“World Mission is just one of many ways in which the BB provides young people chances to play an active role in helping others – both here and around the world. It’s important that our members can also learn about these issues and what it means to be a global citizen.”

To find out more about Boys’ Brigade World Mission fund, please visit World Mission Fund



  • How can young people build up their communities and make the world a better place?
  • Encourage children and young people to put their faith into action , love into service and hope into justice
  • Get involved in fundraising for a campaign such as Children in Need, Christian Aid week or Souper Sunday
  • What service or mission opportunities might there be in your area?
  • Host a Fairtrade stall
  • Share the children's discoveries with the church; what campaigns or issues are they interested in?
  • Check out Weekly Worship through September on eco-congregations
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?


Loving Father, we as young people feel a great sorrow for our youth. We have grown up hearing about acts of violence in countries far away from us. But now sadly, we hear too often stories from our own country. We pray for those affected by acts of terrorism at times when they should be enjoying themselves and feeling safe.

We pray for those who will now never grow up. Those who will never have the opportunity to go to university, work or have a family of their own. Those who have had their childhood taken away from them, we ask you to surround us all with your love and protection.


Source: Searchers group, Kirkton

October - Harvest

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-33


  • How can young people contribute to plans for a harvest celebration at your church?
  • Use Weekly Worship ideas to develop an intergenerational service
  • Use Christian Aid or Tearfund ideas for services and plans of action
  • Project idea: Discover where food comes from and who produces it
  • Explore Fairtrade initiatives
  • Use a Place at the Table ideas from World Mission
  • Explore the Zero Hunger campaign resources from the United Nations
  • Use the World Mission Harvest Resource focussing on South Sudan
  • Project idea: Explore what we can do to combat climate change
  • Invite people to have a simple lunch and give money to a charity like Mary’s Meals
  • Support a local foodbank
  • Have a competition to show what people can do to help prevent climate change
  • Throw a harvest festival – invite families outwith the Church
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?


Creator God,
We thank You for the mystery of growth
seeds sprouting, trees budding, plants bearing all sorts of fruit
birds nesting, young hatching, taking to flight for the first time
children born, youngsters discovering, maturity honoured.

Living God, we thank You for the mystery of life
hope renewed, purpose realised, progress made.
Redeemer God, we thank You for the mystery of faith
fear overcome, insight unearthed, trust rewarded
commitment expressed, belief put into practice.
God of growth, grace and grain
we gladly offer our thanks in the name of Christ.


Source: Rev Grant Barclay

November & December - Celebration

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1


Year of Young People 2018 is an opportunity to celebrate the amazing young personalities, talents, and achievers that make up Scotland. It’s all about inspiring our nation through its young people’s ideas, attitudes and ambitions.

  • Share stories and celebrate the great gifts and contributions of your young people
  • What can you celebrate you have done with children and young people during the Year of Young People?
  • What changes will last from the Year of Young People?
  • Create a celebration board. Encourage people of all ages to add things they are grateful for to the board
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?


I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. In Jesus’ name,