Emerging youth issues in the LWF Strategic Planning

Since a little bit more than a week, young people in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have been discussing aDraft Strategic Plan (download here)for the organization. The plan will be voted on by the LWF council in June.

We had already a good conversation here and here.

Here is a short summary of some major issues emerging. Please discuss in the comment section.

Role of Youth in the LWF

Many respondents recognized that youth is clearly part of the document. However, there is the hope that it would also be mentioned in other parts:

Therefore, there is the suggestion to include a new sentence under “Shared purpose” on p. 6:
“Valuing youth participation in its work, as well as support, encourage and provide education on the function of the LWF in order to promote an interest of the youth for the global Lutheran Communion.”

There was also the suggestion to include “youth” as a cross-cutting issue on p. 10.

However, there is still an ongoing discussion what the role of the youth in the LWF should be focused on:

  • Generational justice?
  • Resource of ideas and enthusiasm for the wider church?
  • Communion formation and global learning?
  • Developing leaders?

Lutheran identity and communion formation

The respondents generally confirmed the need to further work on the common Lutheran identity in the framework of the communion. However, several respondents emphasized that this needs new strategies:

It is not enough to invite a small group of the same leaders to meetings. There is an experience that processes stop at this level, “because they don’t have time again to go down to the grassroots level to impart this knowledge.” (cf. here)

Therefore, the young respondents emphasize strategies that foster learning also on the congregational level:

  • Youth exchange and international youth camps should be added.
  • Having resources ready that can be directly used in the congregations (speaking to p. 24 in the Strategic Plan)
  • Mutual visits of member churches to each other. Here young people should be prioritized participants.


Several respondents mentioned the necessity to work on a better communication for the LWF. It was especially emphasized that young people can be instrumental for the communion to get a better understanding of social media.

Ethical investment

In the message of the LWF Youth Pre-Assembly Conference 2010 it was mentioned that the LWF should follow ethical investment guidelines.  (cf. p. 21f)


Youth unemployment is another issue that is coming up in conversations. Would that not be a topic to be added as an advocacy priority issue (cf. p. 17)?


15 responses to “Emerging youth issues in the LWF Strategic Planning

  1. Andrey Filiptsov

    I’m very impressed after reading this text, you did good job

  2. Martijn van Leerdam

    I believe it’s a good thing that there’s a diverse group of committed youth involved in the strategic process. I’ll add a short comment on the focus of the role of youth in LWF.

    In the summary above, it is mentioned that there is an ongoing discussion about the focus of the role of youth in LWF. Following, there are four bullet points with different foci.

    The first of those foci is generational justice. Last summer, I was one of the youth delegates in the Stuttgart Assembly. For me, it was a very interesting experience. However, I’m not quite sure about the value of my contribution. My lack of experience in LWF and many of the issues discussed during the Assembly are the cause of that.
    I believe that generational justice should, therefore, not be the main focus of the role of youth in LWF. It is important that young people can experience LWF from closeby, and grow in the organisation. However, in my view, that is not an issue of justice, but an issue of leadership. Any vital organisation gives attention to young people, for the future of the organisation itself.
    Instead I believe that the development of new leaders should be one of the main issues for youth in the LWF.

    The third bulletpoint above mentions youth as a source of enthusiasm and ideas. Many young people show that enthusiasm, but it is not essential to them. Furthermore, lots of older people I know are also sources of ideas and enthusiasm. In my view, it’s would very effective to focus on generational justice in order to generate more enthusiasm. People selected for LWF projects should not be selected according to their age, but according to their enthusiasm and ideas, as well as their experience and potential. Age itself should not be an issue in that sense.

    Furthermore it’s important that youth are also able to participate in the global communion. I think this is mainly an issue of localism. Assemblies and other LWF meetings always happen in a specific location and context. It’s important to try to generate a genuine dialogue with that specific context and location, and -for example- to invite the youth of that specific location to engage in dialogue.

  3. Sanna Eriksson

    I believe the point of developing leaders is important in the youth participation in the Lutheran Communion. Young people have a great knowledge from local experiences; something that complement and make a very important contribution to official church leaders. It is important that young people get the opportunity to share their enthusiasm and ideas but they also must receive the opportunity to participate in implementing them.

    Something I don’t understand; what is the difference between “developing leaders” and “communion formation and global learning”?

    I agree to the suggestion of adding unemployment as an advocacy priority issue, good idea!

  4. en esta semana santa que estamos tubimos varias actividades tuvimos dos vijilias programadas con los jovenes con dramas y viviendo la pasion de cristo y sufrimiento de lo que paso por nuestros pecados …….

  5. John B. Lanbon

    Youth unemployment is an issue to that need to be added in this ongoing discussion because if the youth are unemployed, they end up getting themselves involve in all sort of vices which at the long last will affect not only their lives but that the larger society as well.
    In general, I think the work done is Ok. Thank you.

  6. Iwona Baraniec

    Dear friends. Thanks you for that discution. It looks good for me. I am following our blog, I don’t have a lot of things to underline
    I agree that adding youth unemployment as an issue is very important idea.
    I can see it in my country, I can see it in my church (for example with women who have finished theological studies). Thanks you for this point
    Next, in my opinion, we need to discuss possibilities of mutual visits of member churches to each other.

  7. About the ENEMPLOYEMENT

    Personally, I propose that the problem of youth unemployment is placed in the program of diaconie.

    It is not only about advocating but we can also act quickly because it is a very present and heavy problem for the young people.

    I have some examples of solutions. Can be they are acceptable.
    As it is said in the strategic plan that the LWF possesses strategic partners, not only it is necessary to strengthen these partnerships but it is also necessary to widen them. It is not only a question of finding international partners but also regional, through the member Churches of every region.

    For examples, if the LWF has a partner school in the region of Africa, the LWF could invest in some young person’s training coming from Africa, and these young people will have the insurance to teach in this partner school.

    With their salary, they will pay off little by little their cool of training.
    And these paid off expenses will again serve to pay the formation of the other needy young people.

    I think that it is applicable in all the domains but not only in the teaching

  8. For me I think the first priority is the generational issue, without that we don’t really have a clear stand in my opnion. I think there are a lot of really important issues but I also think that we as youth have to have a clear position. Now I sometimes get the feeling we don’t really get taken seriously by everyone and I think it’s really important to also have gender balance within the young people in the council.

    I am really happy to see that lots of the issues pushed forward by the youth in de general assembly have been taking up by the council. I’m really proud of that. And I think the draft looks really good, thanks for all the hard work guys!

  9. Jenny Skumsnes Moe

    I would definitely agree with all the points mentioned in regards to communication, unemployment and ethical investments. In particular, in regards to the communication point it is also a very important point when it comes to virtual meetings and on line exchange as being done in the lwf the earth needs you project, because it is also a financial & environmental question: coming from the churches in the nordic region we are aware that the financial situation for the churches are changing and being major contributors when it comes to finances we are eager to look for solutions where we are preparing and being in the lead when it comes to the future – where we might not have as much money. I would also like to stress the fact that it is important that we first and foremost have a self understanding as participants/members of the LWF, not as youth members. We must be able to disagree, and we must recognize the fact that each time we use the “youth”label, we strengthen the category “Youth” – which in one way is good and which in another way makes it harder to just work alongside everyone else, be they man, woman, old, young, stupid or clever;) that’s why I also agree with pushing stronger for the generational balance (a bit hesistant towards the term generational justice) and making intergenerational cooperation one of the fundamental ways of functioning within the LWF, cause that I believe is the key towards sustainable policies and … as cliché as it might sound, better decisions for a better world.

  10. Michel N. Mulunda

    I will appreciate to see the visible role and place of youth to appear on page 6 where we have “our shared purpose”, and it will be better to add to the sixth bullet this important idea “…;Elsewhere, to consider young people as a priority and actors of LWF communion’s values implementations”. Because this one will facilitate the LWF-Youth to be known as part of the LWF’s purpose.

    Otherwise, I do agree with the issue concerning the unemployment to be added as an advocacy priority, but it will be relevant to use it as a nonnegotiable priority. Finally, I am happy with the rest of issues.

  11. Klara W.Balicza

    Thank you for the summary, I think it is quite helpful.

    As for me, I would like to underline all comments and proposals that aim at strengthening grassroot level participation.

    Concerning the ongoing discussion on the role of youth, I would like to cast a vote for communion formation and leadership training. I agree with the comment saying that enthusiasm and new ideas are not a privilege of the youth, nor should we make the issue of generational justice too strong. Just as with women issues: the more you try to promote it as a women’s issue, the less it is taken up by the whole communion. The issue gets ‘outsourced’ to women, and that’s the end of it. The same might happen, if the generational issue is pushed too hard. Sure, it should be there to help processes but it should be the means, not the goal.

    And one final remark: I was missing some kind of reference to the missional dimension of being (a youth) member of the communion. I apologize if the point has been made, but I feel that all the above mentioned roles are too inward looking. They only take into account those, who are already members of the church. As Christians, we have to think of all those, who do not yet belong to the church and this is especially important for young people, because for teenagers and even for young adults, peer connections are quite important. Therefore, it is mainly the task of the youth of the communion to reach out to non-Christian or inactive youth in their contexts. This final remark doesn’t necessarily have to make it into this actual summary on the Strategic Plan, I only mean it to be a voice in the general discussion.

  12. Jarerd Magero

    It is an impressive idea to have the youths discuss such important matters which were formerly left for the elderly. My comment on the LWF strategic planning is that, LWF should consider creating job opportunities that will economically empower the youth. This should be considered in every region. The role of the youth is evident in the Lutheran communion and this can only be rewarded by opening many avenues to assist the young who are the majority hit by the global economic crisis.

  13. Youth’s Unemployment is a very big challenge to the church, because if the youths who are members of the churches are unemployed, it therefore means that, the church is unemployed. So, we need to tackle the issues of unemplyment.

  14. I would also want to share my opinion about developing future leaders. I think young people could also be a good leader. The LWF Asia regional has prove it by chose a youth as a vice president for Asia. And i think she’s doing a great job as a leader. All the youth need is a chance to prove it. By guidance, supporting and encouragement the young people can actually prove themselves as a good leader.
    About generational justice, i still don’t understand what it really means. Is there any measurement for this?
    And for the youth exchange and international youth camp is also a good idea. Maybe it can start regionally at first. For example: asia youth bible camps (or some other programs). The young people will have the chance to learn more about LWF as a global communion and it can strengthening the communion as well. I also agree for the unemployment issue because most of countries are facing this giant issue. And thanks a lot for clear explained about the ‘holistic mission’ 🙂 Let’s hope and pray that youth can be represented well in the upcoming Strategic Planning. God Bless.

  15. Pingback: Youth and LWF Strategy 2017 – a summary | LWF Youth Blog

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