Exploring Youth participation in decision making

The Lutheran World Federation’s Department for Mission and Development Youth desk is having a consultation on youth participation in decision making at the John Knox center in Geneva, Switzerland. Young people from LWF member churches in Brazil, Nigeria, Canada, Estonia, Singapore and Sweden have come together to explore how Churches in the Lutheran Communion could better integrate the youth in decision making.

And so here we are, youths from all the ends of the earth, coming together to discuss and discover the theological, practical and renovating aspects of youth participation in decision making. What exactly is youth participation in decision making? What does this mean for me as a young person in the Church? In which way is it meaningful for my congregation? my Synod? my Church? The worldwide Lutheran communion? … one may ask oneself.

Youth participation in decision making is in fact the different ways of involving and allowing youth to have their say about Church issues and speak out about youth issues.

Participating in decision making may be as simple and informal as wearing a t-shirt saying « prevent HIV and AIDS» . But it can also involve writing a structured report to convince decision makers to build a youth center.

The consultation on youth participation in decision making provides a space to discuss our experiences in our different, yet similar Churches. Different visions and understanding of youth participation in decision making are shared, how it has been and could be even more meaningful to us as youth.

Yesterday, I sat down with Mindy Yeo, the youth coordinator of the Jurong Christian Church in Singapore, and she shared with me how youth activities are meaningful for her congregation but somehow detached from other congregations. Youth presence is not always very evident at the national level. Mindy explained that chances to meet and discuss needs or share information are rare but needed for youths to speak out in one voice. « It would be very nice if youth leaders from different congregations mobilized together to see how youth can take part and be empowered to speak up on different issues » Mindy affirmed.

Youths are one of the many members of the body of Christ. As all members, they play an essential role in maintaining, voicing and developing the mission of the Church.

Written by  Tsiry Endor RAKOTO from Madagascar, youth intern at the LWF Office for Communication Services.

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3 responses to “Exploring Youth participation in decision making

  1. fernando sihotang

    Dear Rakoto,
    I have fully read your post of telling about the Youth Partisipation in the decision making.
    I would like to give my argument regarding to this topic.
    Actually, it is small we can see the youth to show up their key role for giving some ideas.
    I guess that culture very strongly effect youth to be less partisipated in such areas including in the Church lives.
    In Indonesia,there are many conventional and probably feudalistic culturals met in our country in commanding their young people meaningless.
    I do not know this case occured in your country or in Africa region,but it is happening in my Country,Indonesia.. Thank you
    God Bless us

    Fernando Sihotang

  2. Hello Fernando Sihotang,

    Greetings!
    Yes, as discussed at the consultation, youth participation in decision making is challenged in different ways. Sometimes in very clear ways and at other times not too clearly depending on social, cultural and even historical factors.

    I would suppose it depends on the context, as you mention, what types of challenges the youth face and how they can get around it to fully work hand in hand and side by side with the other members of the church like the womens group or the men’s group and so on.

    Discussions between youth and youths coming together is important, just as Mindy Yeo suggests, to enable the youth to speak in one voice and to get organized. Discussions and meetings with other members of the church, is just as important to identify areas youth can contribute and even convince them that they are able to do small things and big things in the church.

    What do the youth do in your church?

    Blessings,
    Tsiry 🙂

  3. fernando sihotang

    Dear Rakoto,
    Yes, I am sure that the youth’s partisipation in decision making has still been challenged. In Indonesia, so many parents forbid their Children get involved actively in the Church or maybe in the youth events. I am still observing and discussing with my friends and some parents here. I do not have an answer completely.
    Our youths usually do some routine activities in each community for example worship, Bible camp,etc both in the Church and the student christian communities. Each other perseives himself better than another one. Many youths go out from the Church’s youth community into the Student youth community. I will tell you soon Rakoto, I do not find yet the most reason why they do such thing…
    So,what do you think how the Church should do in solving-problem actions or maybe WCC as the Council of Churches in the World?(This is just argument,so we can fill each other and I can discuss to the others what their argument is…)
    Thank you Rakoto,I hope we can persistenly discuss by this blog.
    Nice to meet you.

    Jesus’s loves

    Fernando Sihotang

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