We heard these same sentiments from our youth at Assembly this past summer. Our youth are tired of the tokenism we offer them in the life of the church. They are tired of the entertainment slots we give them at our gatherings. They want to be integrated into the life and purpose of the church the same way everyone else is. They don’t want to be ‘youth delegates’. They want to be delegates.
Consider the motion on the floor of the Eastern Synod Assembly this past summer that spoke to increasing the numbers of youth at Assembly. I spoke against that motion. We do need a larger young adult contingent at our Assemblies. But changing a number in a constitution will do little to make that happen. I applaud the energy and excitement people have for youth, just as I applaud the motives of the mover of that motion on the floor of Assembly this past summer. We need that energy, excitement and positive motivation to move youth and young adults more fully into the life of the churches we are a part of. That takes work. But imagine what our communities would look like if our youth and young adults were leading worship regularly, leading committee work, serving on council, elected as delegates to Convention and Assembly.
We have heard our very own Bishop Michael Pryse voice the same invitation that I heard from Bishop Chapman this week. Perhaps it is time for us to use our energy and excitement to build up the inter-generational life of Christ’s Church.