Video Discussion Starter: Youth Voice and Engagement in the Church

Two interviews from a recent General Convention are great tools to start a dialogue within your church--among your young people and between youth and adults--about the extent to which young people and their full involvement may be encouraged and discouraged in your parish.

Megan Lightcap (St. Paul's, Natick) and Michelle St. Francis (Trinity Church, Concord) attended General Convention as observers thanks to support from the Mass. chapter of Episcopal Church Women (ECW).  While there, they maintained a video blog, and two of their entries included interviews with the two youngest deputies from the Massachuetts delegation:  Sarah Neumann (20, from Church of the Redeemer, Lexington) and Sam Gould (26, from St. Paul's, Brookline).

In the interviews, Sarah and Sam talk from their experience as young leaders seeking and finding their voice in the church today.

The interviews are included in a video available free online>> 

After viewing the two videos with your youth group, have a discussion:

  • To what extent are Sarah's and Sam's experiences in wanting to be involved in the church governing bodies similar and dissimilar from your own?
  • To what extent are their experiences with being taken seriously by others in the church similar and dissimilar from your own?
  • What lessons have Sarah and Sam learned about what it takes to be heard as a young person in the church?
  • In what ways does our parish encourage young people to "step up" and share the work and responsibility of our life together?
  • In what ways does our parish discourage young people's voice?
  • What advice might Sarah and Sam have for our young people?  For our vestry?  
  • What suggestions do you have for how we can do better as a youth group and as a parish to encourage more youth voice and engagement in the church?

This could be a great discussion at your youth group meeting.  Could also be a great start to having a broader conversation between young people and your vestry, or perhaps as a format for a Sunday forum open to the entire congregation.