by Melanie Ave
Being fully immersed in God’s love.”
That’s how one teenager who attended the Council of Lutheran Youth Fellowship Representatives’ annual meeting in March said he felt. Bolstered by what he learned at the meeting, the teen said he was able to share the message of God’s unending love and mercy with a friend.
“The challenge is to help them understand that Jesus is real.”
Sponsored by LCMS Youth Ministry, 60 youth and adults from 17 LCMS districts attended the council’s annual meeting, where they learned how to reach other young people for Christ.
That is the No. 1 goal of LCMS Youth Ministry – helping young people grow in their faith in Jesus Christ, said the Rev. Dr. Terry Dittmer, the ministry’s director.
“The challenge is to help them understand that Jesus is real, that He suffered and died for them, forgives their sins and they share in all God’s promises, guaranteed in the resurrection of Christ from the grave,” he said. “In today’s world, that is no small task.”
LCMS Youth Ministry aims to faithfully lead, serve and provide resources and networks for youth and adults within districts and in congregational settings with a
vision of hope and celebration in the name of Jesus Christ.
In addition to the Council of Lutheran Youth Fellowship Representatives, the ministry also oversees the National Youth Gathering, Servant Events and LCMS Campus Ministry.
Dittmer said the ministry wants to create a context where people are talking, thinking and acting positively with regard to ministry with youth.
Youth are a vital part of the church, Dittmer said. Without them, the LCMS would be a “poorer, sadder place,” he said.
Other recent highlights of LCMS Youth Ministry include:
- In January, about 425 participants from more than 90 college campuses took part in the Synod’s first campusministry conference in a decade.
- The Synod’s new website to support campus ministry, “LCMS U,” was launched.
- Nearly 3,000 youth and adults participated in more than 70 Servant Events around the Synod in the summer of 2012.
- This summer, there are about 4,000 opportunities to serve.
- About 22,000 people have registered for this summer’s National Youth Gathering (NYG). This year’s NYG, with the theme “Live Love(d),” based on I John 4:9, will be held July 1-5 in San Antonio.
Looking to the future, LCMS Youth Ministry hopes to expand intergenerational ministry; to reach and support young adults in their faith walk; to support renewed efforts to rebuild campus ministry within the Synod; to provide solid, practical Lutheran resources to support congregational youth ministry; and to provide leadership training for teenagers, lay volunteers and professional church workers.
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