Reforming young Lutherans for advocacy and ecumenism in a changing world

Sharing experiences and learning from fellow young reformers: Nickson Ibrahim at the workshop in Wittenberg, Germany. Photo: LWF/Johanan C. Valeriano

Nickson Makama Ibrahim, from Nigeria, shares his views from Workshop Wittenberg on being a reforming Lutheran in a rapidly changing world.


What a wonderful communion of Lutheran youth gathered to share life and experiences at the LWF young reformers’ workshop in Wittenberg. God’s church and the Lutheran community have been re-sharpened.

What then does it really mean to be a reforming Lutheran in a rapidly changing world?

To be Lutheran means to be political: that is one of the most interesting aspects about Lutheranism I’ve learned here. I had always thought that politics is of the kingdom of the world, and that we are not of the world. Before coming here, I referred to politics as “dirty business”. But as we together discovered the root of politics in the Bible, I now understand that Jesus Christ wants us to be his ambassadors, even in politics.

Most political leaders in my country are aged. But I learned here that it is my responsibility as a Christian youth to speak out. It is my right to vote and to stand for election. It is my right to take a political stand for the church and amplify the voices of those who may not be able to speak for themselves.

To be Lutheran means to be ecumenical. I learned that we establish ecumenism by working towards being one in Christ, or better put, have “unity in diversity”. There are different cultures in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, yet Christ has united us as Christians. There are different churches in the world, and though our mode of worship, doctrine, sacraments and interpretation of scriptural truth may differ, our message as Lutherans is solas Christus - that it is only in Christ that we are saved by God’s grace.

As Christians - Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans and others - we all should lay aside our differences and embrace Christ. We should strengthen the bond of friendship and bridge that which tends to tear us apart so that we may fulfill Jesus’ prayer “...that they all may be one”. Therefore for me, whatever your denomination as a Christian, you are my brother or my sister.

To be Lutheran means to be stewards of God’s creation. We are created to care for God’s creation - people, animals, plants, sea and the atmosphere. But our activities are taking a toll on nature, leading to global warming and the extinction of wildlife. We have a responsibility to carry the burden for others by doing our part to reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, stop deforestation and to plant more trees. We should feel the joy and pain of God’s creation for we too are God-created.

Martin Luther always stressed the need to care for the poor. This is of paramount importance to me as a Christian. “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life (Eph 2:10).” There are refugees in Africa, Asia and other continents of the world. We must care for them. We have been saved freely in order to serve freely.

Let me sum up my experience in the Wittenberg workshop of the Global Young Reformers’ Network: awesome, joyous, educating and challenging. I learned of God’s calling to me to be engaged politically, to be willingly ecumenical, and to be a faithful steward of God’s creation. We affirmed our conviction that the basis of our life as Christians is first and foremost a solid relationship with Jesus Christ.

And, last but not least, the delicious meals have spiced up the whole event.


Nickson Makama Ibrahim, 21, is a young reformer delegate from the Yola diocese of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria.

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