National Lutheran Youth Event Makes an Impact

History and future converged in June as 350 young Lutherans gathered in the historic St. Louis Union Station to investigate their roles as stewards of faith in the church and the wider world.  Impact, Youth Encounter’s third annual national high school youth event, brought together people representing 27 states for four days of praise, service, and learning in downtown St. Louis.

With Ephesians 4:12 as a focus, Impact worked to “equip the saints for works of service” in various ways.  In small groups, the students investigated simple ways to discuss their faith in the world beyond church and youth events.  In breakouts, students found themselves challenged to grow in their faith and understanding of the gospel message and to apply it to daily life.  Also included in the event was a food packaging service project in which the young people packaged nearly 50,000 emergency meals that will be used to support homeless and orphanage ministries in Haiti.

With worship led by bands Bread of Stone, Swen and Dean, Captive Free, and Todd Miller, participants experienced multiple opportunities each day to engage in corporate worship as well as hear important messages from a variety of speakers.  Pastor Jonathan Swenson challenged the youth through his vignettes about biblical characters, including encouraging students to put themselves in the shoes of Barabbas to truly understand the gift of God’s grace .  Rebecca Meidinger presented a three-talk series focusing on identifying the messages media is sending and how to avoid listening to voices in media instead of that of God.  Bob Lenz brought a humorous and poignant message of hope and responsibility as Christians.  Godfrey Minheso shared his powerful life story of growing up in an African slum and having his life changed forever when, at seven years old, the Church intervened.  The young people left Impact energized for a life in the faith and with new tools to spread the good news in their homes and communities.

Impact is an annual event for youth who completed 8-12 grade.  Impact 2014 is scheduled for June 26-29 in Cleveland, OH.  Information will be online this fall as it becomes available at

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