Emanuel Lutheran Church, Council Bluffs, Iowa
11th-grader at Abraham Lincoln High School, Council Bluffs

I pray for others who may not be as healthy as me, for people who don’t have enough and for people who don’t have a place. 

Attending the ELCA Youth Leadership Summit taught me more about how the church works for people and how I can advocate for others too.

To me, church is a place where you grow your faith, where you find people who love you and care about you. A place where it’s easy to just be me.

Most people think that because I have a disability, I am limited in how I can participate in the world—that advocacy is something I need rather than something I can do for others. The truth is we all need an advocate, someone who will stand beside us, lift us up, and see us for who we are and the gifts we bring.   

As a member of the broadcast journalism class at my high school, I get to explore different topics, write and produce stories on all kinds of things, and even anchor our newscast.

My favorite Bible story is in the book of Exodus, when God tells Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. Moses doesn’t want to do it because he thinks he doesn’t have the ability, but God tells Moses that he has made him just as he makes the mute and deaf and blind. God tells Moses to go and I will be your words. My disability may cause me to worry about what I can and cannot do, but God made me and he tells me to go, just like he told Moses.

My favorite part of going to church is being with the people of my congregation. I also love to be part of worship as a reader or assisting minister.

As a sled hockey player and taekwondo martial artist, my advice to other student athletes is don’t let anything stop you from trying something new. 

To me, grace means no judgment. Love without strings. 

I share my faith by spreading kindness, making sure I help others. I hope people can see Jesus in me through the way I treat others.

I think there are opportunities for young people to be leaders in church by participating! In small ways or in big roles, if we are part of the church then others will see that church isn’t just for adults. There is a place for everyone.

Something I wish more people understood about young people in church is that we have a lot to offer. We aren’t just the future of the church; we are an important part of the church now.

I’m a Lutheran because I belong at the table—and the tAble! (The tAble is a pre-event to the ELCA Youth Gathering for youth with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities.)

I believe everyone deserves a place.

People are surprised when they see me do things they don’t think I should be able to.

When I talk to people about my church, I tell them it’s a welcoming community. The first time you go there, you will feel like you belong.

My favorite part of high school is all of the opportunities I have to try new things.

My favorite hobby is painting. I like acrylics on canvas, but I will paint just about anything!

 

Sentence prompts are provided to each person featured. If you’d like to nominate someone for “I’m a Lutheran,” email Megan Brandsrud.

Megan Brandsrud
Brandsrud is an associate editor of Living Lutheran.

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