By Tim Engle, 2008 Youth Yearly Meeting Recording Clerk
Working with the senior high Youth Yearly Meeting was a privilege; we certainly heard from God this summer in our collective worship. However, the process of discernment was something I admit I underestimated, and something that proved to carry much more gravity than I ever would have expected.
Before participating in active discernment, I thought of it as a mysterious wave that would spread over an assembly of bowed heads. It seemed very planned and orderly, as if God had a radio wave of discernment that would send out just the right signals if we were all on the same station. It would be a matter of simply finding the right frequency.
But the moment I stepped into the shoes of recording clerk, my perspective began to shift. What at first seemed like simply taking notes of a meeting became straining to hear God’s voice over several long hours in unprogrammed waiting with the other clerks. We took extraordinary time to struggle with whether what we were hearing was personal preference or the Holy Spirit, and we often wrestled with consensus on important issues. It was more difficult than I had ever expected, and more satisfying in its outcome.
I discovered that the benefits of the discernment process were unbelievably rewarding! I know that I listened carefully and intently to God, and that I sought God’s will in my decisions. I realized the value of collective listening, and I learned to trust what God was telling me individually. Although the discernment process was difficult, it was worth the effort.
View the minute sent from the youth to the Congregational Care Board regarding their roles in our churches.
- What is your experience as a youth in one of the Friends Churches?
- What would you like to see happen at your church to allow you to contribute as youth?
- Or, as an adult, how would you like to connect with or involve your youth?
- How is discernment practiced in your church or youth group?