Seminary level training in children’s, youth and family ministry. A new opportunity to equip all those serving children and young people in the local church.


Overview of the GYD Academy Course

Year 1

  1. What does God want us to do with the next generation?
  2. The history of children’s and youth ministry
  3. How does scripture shape our ministry methodology?
  4. A biblical model of children’s and youth ministry
  5. Engaging with current children’s ministry models
  6. Engaging with current youth ministry models
  7. Children’s and youth ministry in the context of the church
  8. Considering curricula
  1. The doctrine of scripture
  2. Word ministry – Part 1
  3. Word ministry – Part 2
  4. Effective illustration and application
  5. Teaching to reach the heart
  6. Writing a Bible talk
  7. Communicating in children’s and youth ministry
  8. Tips for communicating with children and youth
  1. Understanding children’s spirituality
  2. Spiritual development by age and stage
  3. Spiritual development and the family
  4. Factors affecting spiritual development
  5. Faith development theories/Towards a biblical model of spiritual development
  6. Towards a biblical model of spiritual development
  7. The discipleship of boys and girls
  8. Spiritual development and the sacraments

Year 2

  1. God
  2. Trinity
  3. Jesus
  4. Imago Dei
  5. Sin
  6. The Church
  7. Teaching doctrine to children and young people
  8. The role of catechesis in ministry
  1. Christian character
  2. Leadership dynamics
  3. Leadership skills
  4. Developing and communicating a vision
  5. Building and managing a team
  6. Training a volunteer team
  7. Caring for yourself in Christian Ministry
  8. Leadership on the ground
  1. Developing a model of pastoral care
  2. Child protection in pastoral care
  3. Caring for children and young people through bereavement
  4. Caring for children and young people through separation & divorce
  5. Caring for children and young people with image disorders
  6. Caring for children and young people with addictions
  7. Young people and sexuality
  8. Young people and mental health

Year 3

  1. Understanding worldviews
  2. Building a biblical worldview
  3. An introduction to culture
  4. Engaging with social media & books
  5. Engaging with movies & T.V.
  6. Engaging with sport
  7. Engaging with gaming
  8. Training parents to engage culturally with their kids
  1. Understanding Gen Z to reach them
  2. Understanding Generation Alpha to reach them
  3. Teaching truth in a post truth world
  4. Planning evangelistic events
  5. Writing evangelistic talks
  6. Apologetics for crossing youth cultures
  7. Training children and young people to be apologists
  8. Raising world Christians
  1. Parent and toddler’s groups
  2. Working with the under 3’s
  3. All age services
  4. Holiday Bible clubs
  5. Weekends away
  6. Caring for children with special needs
  7. School’s ministry
  8. Final Big Q & A


Mel Lacy

Mel originates from Dublin but has been enjoying the hospitality of the U.K. since 2005! Mel has been in fulltime ministry for 22 years and many of those years have been dedicated to families, children’s, and youth ministry. Mel has taught and trained in many contexts and countries and is passionate about equipping the local church to raise the next generation for Jesus. Mel served as the Director of the Children’s and Youth Ministry Course at Oak Hill College for 11 years and now is on the faculty of Crosslands Seminary, heading up the children’s and youth ministry track. Mel regularly has the opportunity to teach at gospel partnership training courses, conferences and events, and a number of theological training institutions in the U.K. and Europe. When not working you’ll usually find Mel on or in water!


Jane Watkins

Jane joined Growing Young Disciples as Director of Mentoring in January 2022. She was Head of Children’s Ministry at Above Bar Church, Southampton, for over fifteen years, having previously been a teacher. She loves working with children’s and families workers and volunteers, as well as parents, to encourage and equip them in their roles. She benefitted greatly from Growing Young Disciples conferences and training over many years, and is grateful for individuals who encouraged and equipped her in her role. She sees it as an immense privilege to now be in a role where she can encourage and equip others.

Jane is studying for the Crosslands MA in Christian ministry. She is married to Tony, and they have three adult sons.


Johnny Beare

Johnny joined Growing Young Disciples in January 2023. Since 2000, he has been involved in full-time ministry to children and young people, working for various organisations and churches throughout Northern Ireland. For 13 years, prior to joining GYD, he was the Youth and Children’s Worker in St Elizabeth’s Church (Belfast). Johnny is also the Chairperson of the Irish Youth Convention, an organisation which desires to see generations of young people, across the whole island of Ireland, raised up to be disciple making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Johnny is married to Susanna, Dad to Lois and Joel, and in his spare time enjoys time on his motorbike, Paddleboarding, drinking coffee and cheering on the mighty Liverpool FC.


Academy Fees

Pay for the full 3 year academy course


Pay for year 1 of the academy course


Pay per module


2023–2024 dates

Mondays on zoom from 3:00-5:00pm

Autumn Term 2023

25 September • 2 October • 9 October • 16 October • 13 November • 20 November • 27 November • 4 December

Spring Term 2024

22 January • 29 January • 5 February • 26 February • 4 March • 11 March • 18 March • 25 March

Summer Term 2024

22 April • 29 April • 13 May • 20 May • 3 June • 10 June • 17 June • 24 June