Saturday, April 26, 2008

General Conference- April 25

The most notable thing about General Conference today was the first ever "Young People's Address". There is already an Episcopal Address from a member of the Council of Bishops and a Laity Address from a lay person. At the last GC a new section of the General Board of Discipleship was created to focus on Young People's Ministry, specifically young adults between college age and their thirties. This is a demographic that is largely missing from the UMC, so to show the denomination's commitment, the 2004 GC decided to have this address as part of the 2008 GC.

The Young People's Address came from six speakers- five of them young adults and one a young clergy person that works with young adults. They were all very impressive. I didn't have their public speaking skills when I was in high school or college. One in particular, Matt Lockett, had a couple of quotes that really stood out: 

It is time for us to set aside the fear of not being in control, and the ounce of comfort that comes with pretending to be righteous.” 

Will the church even exist if all we do is talk about the future without acting?

What was not said explicitly in any of the Young People's Addresses, but I'd like to think was implied, was that while young people want to be a part of the church, they want to be able to make it their own. They don't just want to copy the way their parents and grandparents did it. There will be some of those elements that were handed down, of course, but they want to make church uniquely their own. This can be scary because it means that older generations will have to give up some control and get used to the fact that things might not look the same as they always have during their lifetimes. But just because it looks different doesn't mean it's not real. The same Spirit that brought thousands into the Church on the day of Pentecost still calls and drives people of every generation to follow Jesus and live out the Kingdom of God in their own way.


Nato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nato said...

crap. thought I posted twice and deleted the original.

Anyway, glad to see someone from the Cohort posting about the GC. Although not a Methodist, I've been back in the TV truck delivering all of the on-screen media for the addresses and worship (back in Nashville now for the marathon) and have been intrigued by some of the foci of the addresses and such this year. I look forward to hearing about other interesting items of note over the next week.

Becca said...

Just wanted to mention that the address was actually given by two probational clergy (the young lady from Russia is also a probational clergy), two young adults, and two youth. The age range was 16 to 29. Thanks for your commentary; it's been fun to hear General Conference from other points of view!