3Generate review by Megan Thomas

Methodist Youth Conference.
Methodist Youth Assembly. 
Any one of these, or all three, may ring a bell with you. And with good reason - 3Generate is the latest initiative to take forward the Methodist Church’s recognition of its children and youth section. 

For those of you who don’t already know the purpose of 3Generate, let me fill you in. 3Generate, previously known as Methodist Youth Assembly, and prior to that known as Methodist Youth Conference, is part of the Youth Participation Strategy.  It takes place annually over the third weekend in November and is held in various locations all over the country. The event is for young people connected to the Methodist Church from all over the Connexion and is somewhere where they can come together to worship, discuss and be with God. 
The introduction of different age streams (8-13, 14-17 and 18-23) meant that our weekend consisted of various activities: logins, workshops, worship and sofa chats.  The topics chosen for discussion in logIns and sofa sessions are carefully selected each year from the views and recommendations from young people around the Connexion, enabling the discussion of subjects relevant to a wide range of young people. This year we spoke about subjects that can be seen as taboo in Church, which included the societal pressures of drink, drugs and sex along with relationships, cohabitation, sustainable living and poverty in the UK.  3Generate allows the discussion of such subjects within a “safe space”.  The aim is to talk about things that affect us and how we, as Christians and as Methodists, feel about these topics. These discussions are a vital part of 3Generate as they form the basis of resolutions that may be passed forward to Conference. The discussions may also inspire thoughts for new logins for the next 3Generate.

Activities over the weekend took advantage of the facilities available – we enjoyed archery, fencing, the zip-wire, pamper sessions and even an inflatable obstacle course, which spurred on a bit of healthy competition between the young people and staff alike.  Believe it or not, in amongst all this there was still time to fit in communal worship, free time to relax as well as time to eat and some of us even made time to sleep!

By the time we arrived to Sunday morning, as I’m sure you can imagine, we were all pretty tired to say the least, yet somehow we always manage to raise the roof with our lively worship. This year Mark Wakelin (President of Conference) led a unique communion service which was both thought provoking and uplifting.  Sunday morning is also the time we elect our Youth President for 2013/14 (the person who represents us). This year Tamara Wray was elected, so keep an ear out for her  next year! We also vote to elect youth representatives for various other roles, such as ecumenical representatives and representatives to the Methodist Council and Conference.

None of this would be possible without the fantastic Children and Youth Team and everyone working on the peripheral. They really are an outstanding group of people who are dedicated and passionate about getting the voice of the young people heard.  Without them, 3Generate would simply not be possible. 
I’m a young person in the Methodist Church, 19 now, but I have had the privilege to watch these events evolve from Methodist Youth Conference to Methodist Youth Assembly to the now brilliant, fantastic, enthusiastic weekend that is 3Generate.  In my opinion 3Generate is one of the best things to have come out of the Methodist Church and I believe that it is a massive asset.

The discipleship that takes place at 3Generate does not limit itself to just one weekend a year.  It is so much more than that and is a constant reminder to those that attend that they are not alone in their faith.  I know certainly on my faith journey it has always been something on which I have reflected and that it is something that has given me strength. Sometimes, as youth, we need reminding that our opinions matter. Our faith matters, and most importantly that we matter. 3Generate is essential in the growth and involvement of the youth in the Methodist Church and I can truly not promote it enough. If you don’t want to take my word for it then please go, find a young person who has attended 3Generate and ask them about it.  I’m completely confident that they will give you the positive and enthusiastic response it deserves.