This is the theme of the Conference of the MCSA 2018. The idea is that the church should focus on children and youth in the next year. This is a theme which I can buy into very easily and I wondered what I would have to say, if anyone were to ask my opinion.
I see that speakers so far have emphasised the fact that the population in the country is getting younger. There are a lot of people under 35. This is an important reminder - and the importance of youth and children strikes me as so self-evident that I would probably forget to give it!
I would question the role of the Methodist Youth Unit in today's church. I believe it is an anachronism. I would prefer to see a voluntary grouping tasked with keeping the broader church body honest in its commitments to include young people in every structure. It should also be tasked explicitly with crossing cultural barriers. (I think that a similar structure should exist for women's work - it may exist.)
I would question those who see the inclusion of young people as being an effort to force them into the mould of existing church structures, ideologies, practices and so on. I would motivate that the point of including young people would be to allow them to catalyse change. Older leaders become sounding boards, those who empower, sources of wisdom and experience.
I would call for training opportunities for young leaders - along the lines of the 4G Youth Pastor training, or perhaps the three day superintendents training, but something structured and rigourous which is available for circuits to train young leaders in all spheres of ministry.
Now I am starting to dream . . . as I think of creating solid multimedia presentations . . . Bible . . . theology . . . praxis . . .
Well, if anyone were to ask my opinion, that would be my 2c, off the top of my head!