Getting real with youth participation in decision-making

Archives can be fascinating. Recently, I have been reading some reports about the Youth Convention of the Lutheran World Federation 1952 in Hanover, Germany. A major feature of the meeting were reports from all participants from different countries. They all speak about how young people participate in the life of their churches.

Also today, young people are very active participants in their churches around the world. They are highly involved in diakonia and education, in preaching the good news of Jesus Christ both in word and deed. However, there is one contribution of young people that is quite often under-developed: Young people can help their churches to make better decisions.

While young people are highly involved in so many aspects of the life of the church, quite often they are under-represented in decision-making. This is a problem for at least two reasons:

– Theologically: Jesus Christ is the head of the church. But in Lutheran understanding, discerning his leadership is not just the privelge of a few but of the entire assembly around word and sacrament; it is duty and privilege of all the baptized. And that includes in most Lutheran churches definitely the young people.

– Practically: The world is getting evermore complex and churches need a reality check. Who could do that better than young people who are the focal point of change in most societies. Young people have the antennas to detect the change that is at hand.

Young people in decision making is a strategic priority for the Youth Desk of the Lutheran World Federation. From 27 August – 1 September a small group of young people is meeting in Geneva in order to propose to the member churches in the Lutheran World Federation how to move forward with youth participation in decision making.

The objectives of the process (that does not end on 1 September) are:

  • Identifying and developing creative approaches and best practices to youth participation.
  • Discussing theological approaches to understanding youth participation
  • Testing and further developing new ways of youth participation in pilot churches in every region
  • Publicizing the findings and encourage other churches to implement the findings in their context.

The participants have already started their work and shared a short report of the situation of their churches in regard to youth participation with each other.

You can read it here (as pdf):

We are trying to keep you updated on the process throughout. So, at the end of next week, you will be able to read much more on the process. In the meantime, we are always happy to hear from you: Your experiences and your ideas.


2 responses to “Getting real with youth participation in decision-making

  1. Dear Roger,

    This is impressive!

    As far as I have visited youth in some Lutheran Churches in Southern Africa, those are the real challenges and experiences felt by the youth (youth feeling isolated and lack support of churches’ leadership; youth not involved in discussions and in decision-making, among others). So, we look forward to update us on the outcome of the meeting and share with us your findings.

    In His Grace


    • Yes, don’t worry much more is coming!

      However, it would be great if you can draw more young people in order to get more perspectives. People in other regions will benefit from it!



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