Helping shape church life strengthens the feeling of belonging and identification with the church and its mission. This is particularly true for young people. They are filled with ideas, opinions and energy, but too often they are not given opportunities to apply these in the church. Studies show that youth consider the church to be relevant, but does the church consider the youth to be relevant? Essentially, a feeling of belonging is fostered where one is included and can make a contribution. With young people in view, the Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership issued the following statement in 2007: “The reasons most frequently cited by persons who leave local church fellowship are found in the realm of relationships, the absence of a sense of belonging, and the lack of meaningful engagement in the local congregation and its mission” (“Conserving Membership Gains,” General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee, 2007, paragraph 5). Churches would therefore be well-advised to encourage their members, young and old, as well as guests to actively participate in shaping the vision and mission of the church.
“Scientific data refers to the fact that “congregations with high levels of youth involvement are also the ones more likely to be growing.”