Let’s Talk: Open Discussion with Youth and Young Adults

March 1, 2022

HOUSTON – On Dec. 11, 2021, the Southwest Region Conference administrators engaged in open and transparent dialogue with the youth and young adults at the Fondren Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Tex. This was the first in a series of “Let’s Talk with Our Administrators” sessions. The event allowed the administration to take one of the first steps as part of the goal to better engage the youth and young adults in church participation and to prayerfully retain this segment of our constituency to help the conference “Move Forward.”

Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min., Southwest Region Conference president, along with three members of his administration, Jason North, Vanston Archbold and Philip Palmer, answered questions posed live as well as prior to the event. Leslie Soupet, as the moderator for the session, presented questions on church structure, youth and young adult participation at the local and conference level and how to better develop a personal relationship with God.

The overwhelming number of questions raised during the event spoke volumes of its success. So much so that the 90-minute session was not enough to cover everything that our youth and young adults were eager to learn from their Southwest Region leadership. Gracious and transparent to the end, not only will there be a forum setup to address the unanswered questions from this event, but Byrd has indicated plans to continue the “Let’s Talk” series in other areas of the region so that our youth and young adult’s voices can be heard across the conference.

As we work toward kingdom building and hastening the coming of Christ, this population segment is critical to moving the church forward and growing our church as the Lord has commanded us to do. It is inspiring and important that a stated goal of the conference is executed in a way that allows for the inclusiveness our youth and young adults have longed for.

As we continue to re-engage this almost lost, yet so very critical population of our churches, I pray that we are willing to be open and listen and learn in the same way that we are asking them to be, so that we can grow from our shared experiences and desires for a closer relationship with Christ and each other. 

By Adrienne Lee-Jones