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Posted date: 25 Oct 2016


The church isn’t always an easy place for boys. That’s what author Nick Harding has long been aware of. It may feel irrelevant and boring, and a potential lack of good role models may hinder a sense of belonging. Despite a few exceptions, the majority of children engaged in church activities, whether that’s Messy Church or Sunday groups, are girls. Peter Brierley has researched church trends for many years. Reaching and Keeping Tweenagers (Christian Research, 2002) identified that girls are more likely to go to church than boys.

As a Children’s Work Adviser, Nick Harding has heard the same story from parents. His new book The Church and Boys looks at reasons behind this and suggests a way forward. An increasing understanding of how boys learn and develop will ensure that any engagement with boys is positive. By drawing upon this understanding and an appreciation of different learning styles, we can avoid forcing boys into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to children’s work. A recognition of how boys may engage differently can build a broader approach, encouraging a greater gender balance in groups and ultimately in the wider church.

Nick Harding is Children’s Ministry Adviser for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. His Grove booklet Boys, God and the Church (Grove, 2007) first addressed this area.

“Nick Harding’s wisdom sheds light on the vexed question of ‘What about the boys?’ without creating an artificial boy/girl divide. His practical advice and down-to-earth approach make this a book in which anyone involved with children’ s ministry will find encouragement, help and hope.”
Mary Hawes, National Children & Youth Adviser, C of E Education Office

The Church and Boys was published on 23 September 2016.

BRF is a Christian charity working in the areas of Bible reading, Prayer & Spirituality and Discipleship, to help children, adults and families to explore Christianity creatively and grow in faith.



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