Warime Guti, a vibrant youth from the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea took up International Office as a Member of the Council of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) from 2010 to 2017. Mr. Guti shared his experiences of a lifetime as a youth from Papua New Guinea and is encouraging young people around the Nation to actively participate in Youth Network locally and globally, while being a Youth.
“Youth is a period of a person’s life. Every human are not youth forever. They grow out of it. It is supposed to be a period of one’s life where one learns their responsibility to contribute back to humanity and to the Church, taking responsibility.”
By Warime Guti (Words and pictures)| 01 May 2021.
For 7 years (2010-2017), i had the experience to be seated at the Council of the Lutheran world Federation (LWF)
My participation was not of the fact that i was a theologian nor a biblical scholar or a Church administrator or Church elder but just being a young Lutheran.
In the LWF Council for 7 years, there were 10 of us young people (under the age of 30) representing the regions of the world, we sat among Bishops, deacons, Biblical scholars, Church administrators, Church elders etc… making up 20% of the 50 members of the LWF Council 2010-2017.
The 20% youth participation is a policy LWF really adhere to it to ensure mentoring and sustainability is guaranteed. We sat with them in meetings around the world, to Lutheran Churches in all seven continents of the world by the time our 7 year term ended.
We brought the young inexperience voice, the ideas, the passion as a young (Lutherans) to the table of discussion at the Lutheran World Federation council as one core important group in the Church.
Church is not only made up of clergies, deacons, Bishops, pastors, Church elders etc… young people and women are an essential part of Church life.
One of the very profound thing in all these for the 10 of us participating: it was not the fact that we know everything on how the Church works or the theological understanding (given we were young, hence inexperience and lack in depth knowledge on issues) but the fact that we were given a space to speak and share our views and opinion as young Lutherans.
This in itself was the most powerful form of empowerment that made us grow into really taking responsibility.
I am honored to have represented Lutheran Church from the Asia Pacific region at this role. My participation was not to represent youths but a representative as a youth representing the all Churches in the Asia-Pacific.
At the Council, i was also tasked to participate and lead in different committees. I was part of the LWF Communications committee, also with the special LWF 500th Anniversary Community, LWF Climate Justice committee representing LWF at United Nations Climate Summit meetings (COP), leading in forming the LWF-Asia global young reformers network etc…
I am sharing this not to only tell you of my story but to also tell that you young people have more potential to offer to the Church other than always being expected to sing/dance/labor only.
Global Churches are creating more space for young people to be fully involved, especially in decision-making. But how about us in Papua New Guinea. How much are we involving young people in decision-making processes? How many young people are actually given the space to represent their district at the Synod and Council meeting?
This is food for thought for us…for too long, in Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG), we have not seen many young people participating in the highest decision-making bodies of the Church. This is a very critical concern for the sustainability of the Church.
The onus now goes back to our districts, circuits as we are heading to the next Synod. The National youth, Pastors and Women’s conference are also coming up. Raise these critical questions. District should exercise it among themselves to involve their young people.
Ampo doesn’t make the decisions, but the synod, council and you members who represented at these conferences.
When will our Synod, National Church Council, District Conferences, District Council, Parish Conference have young people fully participating to make decisions of the Church??
and when i say young i mean, those below the age of 30.
In Papua New Guinea, our definition of youth tends to actually marginalizes the real youths. Youth is a period in human life. But most of the time we tend to define it being the state of mind.
Regardless of age some people are forever calling themselves youths and continue to marginalize and dis-empower the real youths to participate. It may seem funny but this is seriously critical for the Church’s sustainability into the unknown future.
The Church’s hopes to sustain into the unknown future will be at stake when we are not taking careful consideration to mentor, empower and raise more leaders when they are still in their youth.
Otherwise, they will find inspiration outside and will only be participating in Sunday worship service and not fully taking responsibility to carry the Church forward in congregation/parish/Circuit/district or national level.
Youth is a period of a person’s life. Every human are not youth forever. They grow out of it. It is supposed to be a period of one’s life where one learns their responsibility to contribute back to humanity and to the Church, taking responsibility.