What Young People Want from the Church – Helen Heston

Challenge me!

I want to see The United Methodist Church recognize and embrace the uncomfortable. I want to go to a church that pushes and encourages me into an experience or relationship I wouldn't have chosen otherwise. There is absolutely a place for being comfortable, for having a sense of belonging and feeling at home in the church. But I want that home to come with challenges. Difficult challenges. If it doesn't come with challenges, it doesn't remind me of family.

Right now, it is important to me that my church family makes room for diverse perspectives – different ages, genders, races, sexualities and socioeconomic classes. Everyone's identity is complex and, at times, it can be extremely difficult to share those parts of yourself, but it is important for the church to make room for that sharing.

I would like to see the church stand with people in their pain and be uncomfortable in it, stand with those who don't look or speak or act like them and be uncomfortable in it and be OK with that.

My peers and I have a lot of energy. We get excited and are passionate, and we want help to harness that drive and use it toward something active. Young adulthood for me has been a time where I start to realize where and how the world is broken but also where I contribute to that brokenness. I want to be part of a church that recognizes that brokenness as well and helps me respond to it. I want to be challenged, and I want to be part of a church that wants to be challenged with me.

Helen Hesston, 20, is a rising junior at the University of Texas and expects to graduate in 2017. She worships and serves at Servant Church (United Methodist) in Austin, Texas.