What makes an ideal delegate to churchwide Convention of Synod? Intelligence, stamina, determination, a love for Jesus and the church? Patience too? These guys have it in spades …
The average age of LCA members may be 60 years, and this demographic is definitely reflected in any quick survey of Synod delegates. But sitting among the older heads are four enthusiastic young men, whose average age of 22 years breaks that stereotype.
‘We’re here as youth consultants, sponsored by Grow Ministries to add a young person’s presence and perspective during table discussions’, Matt Schubert, 22, from Rockingham WA, said.
They have the privilege of sitting at table with the delegates but they hold no voting rights themselves. That certainly doesn’t stop them expressing their opinions.
‘I’m appreciating the opportunity to get a pulse for where the church is at and also some of its recent history and changes’, Matt said.
Eric Marschall, 20, from the Barossa SA, said that it was encouraging to see people’s passion for the church expressed in different ways. ‘I’m also keen to see that dialogue doesn’t stop at Synod; that it continues to occur in congregations during synodical terms.’
Joel Grieger, 27, from Adelaide SA. said that it was good to observe church process in action, but it was important ‘that decisions are implemented to further the church’s mission.’
Youngest consultant, at 19 years, Noah Hahn, from Golden Grove SA, was interested by seeing the business side of church life in action – despite having just sat through an intense set of proposals relating to church governance.
‘I’d like to see a larger spread of ages across delegates’, he said, sparking discussions among the group about ways to encourage young people to nominate as congregational delegates and encourage congregations to elect younger delegates too.
And it was conversations like that which were at the core of the Grow Ministries Youth Consultants program, developed in support of a joint proposal from the Committee for Child Youth and Family Ministry and the Standing Committee on Nominations to work towards the inclusion of more people aged under 30 on the LCA’s boards, councils, committees and commissions.