A Student Delegate Speaks Out

EDITOR'S NOTE: At the recent North Pacific Union Conference Constituency Session, the GLEANER asked Ian Field, a 21-year-old Walla Walla University history major and youth delegate for the session, about his perspectives.

GLEANER: What did you appreciate about the NPUC Constituency Session? What did you learn?

Field: As a lifelong member of the Walla Walla University Church, it was so wonderful to see people from all over the Northwest congregated here. Thank you all for showing such support for our university community. I really appreciated Max Torkelsen's willingness to pour out his heart to the delegates. It's clear to me he cares very deeply for the church. Furthermore, in a time characterized by economic struggle, it is so good to see our church's finances are being managed honestly and meticulously. I was particularly impressed the union is working to put more money back into local congregations. This, certainly, is the frontline of what James called "true religion."

GLEANER: How did you prepare for this session?

Field: I read the GLEANER feature on the session, I read the delegate packets, and I spoke with many spiritual mentors: professors at WWU, pastors, and other lay delegates. I sought out those who had been to similar meetings in the past so that I would have a good idea of what to expect. As these meetings happen so rarely, I think it is of utmost importance that delegates are well prepared so they can represent our church congregations well.

GLEANER: What items do you hope your church "tackles" in the future?

Field: I hope our church continues its move to be more congregation focused. One of the things I was saddened, but not surprised, to learn is there are an estimated 10 million former Seventh-day Adventists living in the United States. This is truly a tragic reflection on our church's ability to reflect the character of Christ to those around us. Jesus was not only a smart theologian, He was able to attract all manner of people to Him. If we hope to bear His name, we must do better.

GLEANER: What are the strengths young people bring to their church?

Field: I believe young people bring energy to solve problems and strengthen our religious community. We see our friends struggling with aspects of Adventism and so the need for our church to be an honest reflection of the character of Christ becomes powerfully personalized. I know that when I see my friends and peers struggling to find Christ because of the natural human failings of organized religion, I'm happy to step forward and speak up to try to make things better. I have been so blessed by the Seventh-day Adventist community I was raised in. It's given me an unwavering picture of Christ that brings me peace, motivates me to always strive to live better, and is congruent with the world that I continue to discover — both the needs I see and the goodness I encounter. The God Seventh-day Adventism has taught me to worship is forever, and I want to make sure my church continues to strive after His example.

Featured in: November 2011