Friday, June 06, 2008

Youth Delegates?

You know the church is old when I’m considered a “young pastor.” At 38 (and counting), my bald head and protruding belly is quickly pushing me toward middle age. My mp3 player has Willimon sermons and music by Arvo Part. I have no tattoos nor piercings and puzzle why anyone would want to do that to their body.

The point I’m getting at is that I’m not really all that young, even though here I’m in a minority given that most delegates and guests are retired and have time to participate to gatherings like these. We are governed by older people. And I worry that our grey and white heads send the message that we are a church of and for older people.

But we’ve passed a motion allowing youth delegates (age 16-22) with voice and vote. But I can’t think of any young people who’d want to participate in this kind of exercise. And if they did, I would be shocked if they wanted to come back, or invite their friends to participate.

However, the mood here among some folks is that having youth attend as delegates will attract only a handful, if that. So we’re not in any real danger of an army young people out voting the clergy (as if that would be a BAD thing). Some people are concerned (or celebrating) that we couldn’t get enough young people.

We have 151 churches in the ABT synod. So we could conceivably have 151 more people at convention. Some say that such a challenge is impossible, beyond the ken of our small church family. But I think we could easily get one young person per congregation to attend. ONE PERSON. If we can’t find, recruit, cajole, wheedle, entice, ONE young person to attend the gathering of our church family, then we’re not doing our jobs.

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