The voices of children and young people are heard at Conference

02 July 2024

The Methodist Conference, meeting in Leeds, 27 June - 3 July 2024, has heard the voices of children and young people asking the Church to tackle issues of justice and to support their journey of discipleship. The Conference is the governing body of the Methodist Church and meets annually to discuss matters affecting the life of the Church, the nation and the world.

The report to the Methodist Conference detailed how the children and young people had expressed their views as part of their participation at 3Generate, the Methodist Children and Youth Assembly, held last October at the NEC in Birmingham. 3Generate is a space for children and young people to tune into God, the world, and each other, to hear what God is saying to them and to discern what action they need to take by themselves, with their local church and the wider Methodist Church.

In his speech to the Conference, the Methodist Youth President, Tom Hart, explained, “We should be listening to each other’s ideas. And that is why this year we have deliberately put a focus on having our children and young people’s voices at the forefront of our work across the Church and beyond.

“Our children and young people do want to be followers of God, and do want the love of Christ to be spread across their communities and indeed the world. They want this to be a just world, where homelessness is eradicated and food poverty is a thing of the past. They want us to be a hospitable Church that is accessible to all and they want us to be a Church that cares for the environment.”

Having received the report, the Conference agreed a range of resolutions to support youth events and engagement with young people.

The report detailed how children and young people are aware of the ever-increasing social injustices that are present within our society in Britain and internationally and how the Church can support them as they grow in faith.

Tom Hart, Methodist Youth President standing at the lectern of the Methodist Conference

“We should be listening to each other’s ideas. And that is why this year we have deliberately put a focus on having our children and young people’s voices at the forefront of our work across the Church and beyond."


Concerns were expressed in relation to justice and making poverty a thing of the past, ensuring that The Methodist Church celebrates its rich diversity, eradicating discrimination and treating all people justly and with dignity. The Children and young people recognised that hospitality comes in many forms but critically, that this hospitality must be nonjudgmental and welcoming to all. Essential to the young people was the need for churches to be physically accessible.


Children and young people believe that the Methodist Church should become more sustainable. However, they also recognise that the ambition to create a healthier environment requires financial support.

Community and Fellowship

Conversations at 3Generate identified that most children and young people see God at work in their communities through the fellowship of church life. This fellowship is often found through youth groups and uniformed organisations such as Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade who were specifically recognised as somewhere young people can go to know God.

Connecting with God

A strong sense of biblical engagement was expressed by the children and young people.

They have a desire for varied styles of worship. These included more conversational services and those that feature games and activities, along with intergenerational worship and a chance to expand our connection with God out into communities.

Youth Gatherings

Discussions during 3Generate show that there is a real desire for more localised and frequent gatherings where children and young people can meet and have a voice.

Work is underway to find a fair and equitable approach to aid all children and young people within the life of the Methodist Church to attend 3Generate.

Young people gathered in conversation around a desk at the Methodist Conference

Tom continued in his speech, “We can help and resource young people to be agents of change in our world. Community and Fellowship play a key part in discipleship for our young people. We can facilitate this discipleship for those who are within our church families, so let’s do it. Let’s also get our churches and communities to engage with those children and young people, who don’t yet know the love of Christ.”

Having received the report, the Conference passed resolutions encouraging the managing trustees of Methodist premises to implement an accessibility audit, to encourage churches to support uniformed youth organisations and recommended that churches develop plans detailing how they intend to engage and connect with children and young people. The Conference agreed a resolution urging all districts to allocate money for local churches, circuits or the districts to apply for youth events.

Read about 3Generate 2024 taking place at the NEC in Birmingham, 4 - 6 October, and how you can volunteer to be part of the delivery team for the event.