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.