Giving young people a voice is a prominent feature in our ministry with youth.
Youth Synod Giving young people a voice
By Mark Davies | Team Leader ACYM
On 27 July 2019, close to 50 young people from across the Diocese gathered together at Christ Church Grammar School to discuss and explore what became a though and somewhat tricky question, 'Should we tear up the rule book and start again?'
For those who were not with us on the day, the rule book we are referring to are those rules and guides that suggest the shape, structure and practical outworking of how we do 'Church'.
Giving young people a voice has been something that has had a prominent feature in my ministry with youth. Too often within the Church, we teach young people to have the ability to recall set information for the set questions that life might throw at them. But what we don't do so well is equip them to think and share their own worked-out opinions.
What we have done over the past two Youth Synods is to use a range of presenters to encourage the young people to think both independently and collectively about current topics and issues.
Each discussion group is then encouraged to share the conclusions of their discussions. This feedback then helps the whole group to hear a range of opinions and to process what they think for themselves.
This year Youth Synod had three different presenters tasked with encouraging the delegates to think about the overarching statement.
This was done by each presenter exploring smaller linked themes which included:
- The Church should become simple in its approach and focused on discipleship.
- The traditional Church model is fine. We just need to understand how to do it better.
- What next? How would young people like to shape the Church for the future?
The biggest challenge we faced on the day was trying to use Skype to broadcast a presenter in from the UK. Although the connection broke down a few times, it was great to be challenged by someone from a non-Australian perspective on Church.
Looking back at it now Youth Synod has to be one of the highlights of my year. To hear the delegates articulate their hopes, fears and dreams for the Church is a fantastic privilege.
If you haven't done so already, I would encourage you to invite those who represented your parish to speak at your next Church Council meeting. In doing this, you will not only hear what they learned from the presenters but how also how they would like to work with you to shape the parish for the future.
Published in Messenger, September 2019