“Step Up”, a program launched at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando in July, encouraged youth to engage in the discussions and  work of the delegates and the larger Mennonite Church.  Hear below from WDC’s three Step Up participants:

 Erick Martinez (Iglesia Menonita Monte Horeb, Dallas, TX) My time at the Orlando convention was extremely enjoyable.  I learned a lot.  My points were taken into consideration and not just dismissed due to my age.  Weeks after Orlando, I realized how important the event was because it seems like everyone still speaks on the topics that were discussed and those who were not there were interested in hearing what had happened during the sessions.  This opened my eyes and made me realize that this gathering is exactly what the church needs, which is communication between everyone.  If we allow everyone to speak their mind, then we can all work together to reach a common ground.  I truly enjoyed the opportunity of being a part of the conversation and giving my views to people who were willing to listen.

 Andrew Moore (Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, KS) – My experience was extremely beneficial.  I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other people throughout my time in the delegate sessions.  This allowed me to gain a better sense of what Mennonite Church represents to other people and other congregations.  It also gave me a greater appreciation for how diverse the different congregations already are.  The second main benefit was as an education about MC USA in general.  I learned about the current organizational structure of the denomination. I am now more knowledgeable about the process that runs our denomination and the people in charge of it.  This gave me a greater appreciation of how open the delegate sessions were and how dissenting opinions were both spoken and treated with respect.

 Magdalena Wenger (First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS) – One of the things I most valued was the information.  Usually the youth convention and the delegates are kept very separate.  I really enjoyed being in the loop.   As a Step Up veteran, I know much more about how MC USA functions than your average youth.  It gives me a good base to build off of if I want to be more involved in the future.   I was most excited about the delegate sessions, because I wanted to see more about how the church worked.  It was amazing that this big group of people with so many different lives, views and home congregations could come together and make decisions.  I valued that I could be a part of that body.  The Bible says that we are the body of Christ, but it is hard to feel connected… at the  delegate session and the Future Church Summit, I felt that we were one body, which was cool.  The Future Church Summit was a lot of fun.  The people at my table had a lot of interesting answers to the questions.  I liked discussing with them.  I enjoyed the people at my table and our discussions.  I enjoyed learning about them and being treated like an adult.