When 24 young Lutherans gathered in Adelaide for the LCANZ’s Young Adult Forum last month, their sense of hope for their church’s future inspired presenters and participants alike.

Aged between 18 and 26 and representing rural and city congregations from across Australia, forum participants heard about and discussed key issues facing the church and gained a deeper insight into how the church functions.

The event was also an opportunity for LCANZ leaders to hear the needs and thoughts of our young people,

Facilitated by Grow Ministries, the forum also included sessions about worship, the work of the LCANZ in local and international mission, ministry support and public theology, issues to be discussed at next year’s Convention of General Synod and conversation time with Bishop Paul Smith.

Grow Ministries Director Jodi Brook said being among the young adult participants was ‘a blessing’. ‘To listen to the passion that they have for their church, to see their understanding of how the church functions grow and to be inspired by the hope, generosity and positivity which they spoke about the church was such a blessing’, she said.

Bishop Paul said while discussion tables during the forum each included a church leader to guide conversation among the young adults, ‘they really didn’t need the guide’. ‘Each time the groups were assigned a task, they launched into discussion and collaboration with passion and pastoral support for one another’, he said.

‘It was a joy to serve with them. They will certainly be praying for their church.’

Participant John Hillier from South Australia said he ‘gained a sense of hope about a wide range of things’ at the forum. ‘It was good to hear the wisdom and experiences of others’, he said. ‘It took a lot of the sourness I had when I think about the future of the church. It was great to see that our church has many people who are aware of the challenges we face. To me, it was a good reminder that no matter what happens, the church can and will prevail.’

Other participants also said they were encouraged to do more in their home congregations and communities, thanks to their experiences at the forum. Stephanie Swift, from Western Australia, said, ‘I am feeling encouraged to find ways to serve my congregation, such as joining a committee or starting a small group’, while Queensland participant Christian Hansen said: ‘I think being enthusiastically involved in the body of the church is something I’m looking forward to doing more of.’

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