Methodist Youth Serve, Grow Through Conferences

Attracting the youth and keeping future leaders in the church pews are among the top topics of concern for denominations across the theological landscape. This year, regional bodies in the United Methodist Church tackled this issue is a variety of ways f rom inviting youth delegates to raise funds for the denomination to allowing young-adult groups to vote on critical resolutions facing the church.

In the Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference – one of 63 regional bodies of United Methodist Churches across the U.S – 31 youth representatives served as full voting members during this year’s annual conference.

In the California-Nevada Annual Conference, a strong number of youth delegations served “as voting delegates or delegates with no vote but voice on matters before the annual conference,” according to the Rev. Colin Kerr-Carpenter, coordinator of youth and camping for the conference.

In both these conferences, the youth delegates also raised funds for the meeting.

“Our youth delegation raised over $5,000 at annual conference for the Bishops’ Initiative on Children and Poverty,” Kerr-Carpenter said. “Our unique form of fund raising was called the ‘Copper Mile for Children and Poverty,’ in which we challenged (annual conference) delegates to bring their pennies so that we could lay a mile of pennies end-to-end around the conference site.”

In these and other annual conferences, youth were able to hone their leadership skills by helping plan events and concerts.