“Chosen” is the choice for the theme of the 2007 National LCMS Youth Gathering, set for July 28-Aug. 1 that year in New Orleans.
The theme came out of a Jan. 14-16 meeting in New Orleans involving the staff of LCMS District and Congregational Services (DCS) — Youth Ministry (which sponsors the Gatherings), a six-member Gathering executive council, and five “invited creative experts,” according to Rev. Terry Dittmer, director of Youth Ministry.
Calling it “a powerful theme,” Dittmer explained that “Chosen” comes from 1 Peter 2:9 (“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”).
He said that planners “will aim to make clear through the Gathering [that] the most important choice in a Christian’s life is not one we make, but the one God made when He chose us to be His people. That choice is even more powerful as we realize that it can only happen through God’s choice for His own Son to suffer, die, and rise for the salvation of humankind — something He chose even before the creation of the world.”
The 2007 Gathering will be the third one in New Orleans.
“It’s a city with great facilities, excellent and plentiful hotel space, great hospitality, interesting customs, and a strong Lutheran heritage,” Dittmer said.
The 2007 Gathering will be the 10th one held since 1980. Last year’s event in Orlando drew 33,651 participants. Gatherings are held every three years.
Gretchen Jameson, associate director for Youth Ministry, said that although planners of the 2007 Gathering “anticipate record crowds, they share that participants will have a very different type of Gathering experience….”
“Unlike recent years,” Jameson said, “this Gathering theme is not driven by the geographical location of the event. While the Gathering has always worked to meet the needs of today’s youth, more than ever before our focus in 2007 is to provide them with the opportunity not only for celebration and fellowship, but also for growth and learning in the Lutheran Christian faith.”
“While large-scale dome events will still take place, participants also will move in groups of 10 to 12 thousand throughout each day of programming,” said Mark Kiessling, program manager for national Gatherings. “In these groups, they will experience the event differently than before, while learning, serving, and doing in the context of a Lutheran faith community.”
“Overall, the mood of planners is to slow down and refine the Gathering program,” Jameson said. “While big is impressive, it’s not always been [impressive] when working with teens and providing them the chance for conversation, growth, and learning.”
Registration for the 2007 Gathering is set to open in fall 2006.
Posted Feb. 25, 2005