Tag Archives: ELCA Youth Gathering

Citizens with the Saints

Eight youth and two adults from Resurrection Lutheran Church are on their way to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. They will join more than 36,000 participants from across the country for five days of service, study, and worship. They will gather under the theme of Citizens with the Saints, based on Ephesians 2:14-20:

Jesus is our peace. In his life and death on the cross, Jesus broke down the dividing walls so that we are no longer strangers and outsiders, but we are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God. The foundation of God’s house was built of apostles and prophets, and Jesus, the cornerstone, holds it all together.

Like many of the participants, this will be a mile-stone for our youth. Growing up in a congregation like Resurrection, where their confirmation class is from 15-20 classmates, our youth often perceive the church as a small intimate group. Gathering with several thousand other youth will expand their vision of what the church is and can become. The Holy Spirit power of 36,000 youth singing and rocking the Superdome will energize and renew the faith of many who attend.

A couple of years ago, I attended a similar Christian gathering called Catalyst. About 10,000 young adults gathered from across the nation in a small arena in suburban Atlanta. The packed arena of singing, cheering, stomping, passionate followers of Jesus Christ made my heart sing.

I am so proud of how Hannah Koehler, our first-year youth director, has worked to make this mission trip become reality for our youth. She attended a National Youth Gathering several years ago and the experience transformed her life. She and others on the trip are writing their own blog to keep our congregation informed.

I invited you to join me in praying for all the youth in New Orleans this week as they discover their place as Citizens with the Saints.

Lord Jesus, bless, encourage and nurture all the youth who have gathered in New Orleans this week.

Seeds that Bear Fruit

Yesterday was a great day of worship at Resurrection. The youth lead us in prayer, preaching and song. All did a great job, from the sound and video team to the ushers and greeters.  I am especially grateful for our three preachers, Cooper Dillon, Garth Natwick and Ryan Garbe. All three have been active in the congregation for years and they each expressed their appreciation for how the congregation and pastors have shaped their faith. Each declared their faith in Jesus as a dynamic, growing relationship that has grown over many years of participation.

Being the newcomer at Resurrection, I need reminding that a solid foundation has been laid prior to my coming. I tend to live my life in episodes and seasons, seeing only the immediate events around me. I forget that God is weaving a much bigger narrative through the life of this congregation and through the history of the global church. The Holy Spirit has been shaping the lives of the youth and families long before I began my ministry here. It is joy to witness the seeds that were planted bear fruit for God’s Kingdom.

Paul wrote about this in his first letter to the Corinthians as the congregation argued over which pastor had the more lasting spiritual impact,

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. I Corinthians 3:5-6

The good news of yesterday was highlighted in the generous response of the congregation for our Youth Scholarship Fund. Over $3500 was donated so that eight of our High School Youth can attend the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans this summer. Thanks be to God!

How has your church community shaped your faith?

Lord Jesus, continue to call me back into deeper relationships with all your children, young and old.