TSINC’s Young Adult Representative Brings Change
By Laura Poff
The Territorial Soldiers Ideas, Needs and Concerns committee (TSINC) gained its first young adult representative when Chris Flanagan was appointed to the role in 2014. Since then, he’s pushed for several young adult initiatives and tried to be a voice for the needs of young men and women across the territory. His latest project is to convince each division to appoint at least one young adult representative to the committee’s divisional counterpart, DSINC, before his tenure ends.
“It is kinda tough,” Flanagan said. “You’ve got to find the right person with maturity that represents young adults well and can sit in a room with other adults and be able to prove their worth at that table.”
Flanagan currently works as the youth evangelism and outreach coordinator for the North-South Division, which became the first Southern division to have young adult representatives on its DSINC board when Gessica Chadic and Aaron Jackson were installed earlier this year.
“They have strong voices,” he said. “They are both able to speak up on behalf of our young adults, and that’s what matters – that you are able to be at that table and have a voice.”
Flanagan has used his seat to educate and encourage representatives about existing young adult initiatives and ministries that they can take back to their divisions and local corps. He has worked with Jovannie Smith, territorial young adult coordinator, to support programs like Mind the Gap. Flanagan has been encouraged by the enthusiasm and support that the board has shown for young adult ministry.
“They really care about young adults and want to effect change for young adults,” he said. “It’s cool to see older people say that, and that’s comforting to think about for the future.”
Though TSINC has never excluded young adults, adding Chris to the team was an intentional move to ensure consistent representation where it was lacking. He says that this move was a big one for the territory and it shows a strong desire among leadership to engage with and listen to the generation that will one day step into leadership roles.
“It shows that The Salvation Army recognizes the ability to change for young adults,” he said. “Just because you have a seat at the table doesn’t mean that they have to follow everything that you say, but the fact that they are willing to listen is huge.”