LCMC Blog [Youth Ministry Topic] Read the the latest news, announcements and articles from LCMC. en-us 2022 Youth Gathering Recap Wed, 24 Aug 22 00:00:00 +0000 What happens when close to 200 students and adults show up for the LCMC Youth Gathering, July 19-22, 2022, in the middle of the summer?  God shows up with them.

That is exactly what happened this year when our students and their leaders came together at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA. God was there with us, and it was truly amazing.

The theme this year was “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” and students were reminded that even today, God is the one thing that they can rely on.  They spent time learning about their giftedness, how to read Scripture, and dealing with mental health in a society that does not look favorably on people of faith. Additionally, leaders were given opportunities to share thoughts and resources for programming when they returned home.

They also spent time in fellowship, meeting peers in the faith from across the country from Oregon to Texas to Georgia and all the upper Midwest.  New friendships were forged, and regional competition playfully sparked some state pride.  A night of “big kid” inflatables and ice cream also made an Iowa summer evening come alive.

A service element highlighted the “one mind, one mission” mentality that we developed over the course of the week.  We worked with a great organization, Meals from the Heartland, packaging meals for those in need. The truth really is in the numbers: 60,048 meals were packed for mission distribution which will feed 230 kids for an entire year.  Our students and adults worked selflessly to meet our mission goal.

Above all else, we worshipped the one true God, and it was amazing.  To stand there and see students from cities and towns across the country, side by side, worshipping was a true testimony of what we are called to be as the body of Christ.

It is often said that our students are the future of the church.  I believe that our leadership is of the mindset that our students are the “now” of the church.  If that is the case, LCMC is in good hands.  Our students are rock solid and ready to lead. 

Thank you, LCMC, for giving them a forum to join together and prepare for the work that they are called to do.

Keep your eyes open for more great youth opportunities in the future.  Be sure to join the LCMC Youth Leaders Ministry Facebook page to stay up to date with all of the happenings for youth ministry.

2022 National Youth Event - Registration is Open! Mon, 22 Nov 21 00:00:00 +0000 Registration is officially open for our next national youth event, a leadership development experience for students and youth leaders designed to help empower the ministry of the local church.

Our youth event offers a chance for students and youth leaders to connect with one another, explore God's call on their lives by participating in keynote presentations, breakout sessions, worship, and small groups, and take part in a service project through Meals from the Heartland. 

The theme for 2022 is The Way, The Truth, The Life, and keynoting the program will be speakers Brandon Foster of Trinity Lutheran Church (Columbus, NE) and Andrea Paulson of Hawley Lutheran Church (Hawley, MN). 

Chip Reynolds of First English Lutheran Church (Victoria, TX) will serve as preacher, and Noah Ruppert of Morningside Lutheran Church (Sioux City, IA) will lead worship services. 

The event takes place July 19-22, 2022 on the campus of Grand View University in Des Moines, IA and is open to students completing grades 7-12, LCMC youth leaders, and adult chaperones.

The cost to attend is $350 per person and includes food, housing, and convention materials.  A $50 deposit per person will be due at the time of registration. 

The deadline to sign up is April 1, 2022 or when capacity for the event has been reached, whichever occurs first. 

More detailed information and online registration can be found by clicking here.  We hope to see you there!

Save The Date for Our Next National Youth Event Wed, 01 Sep 21 00:00:00 +0000 lcmc youth event logoMark your calendar now for LCMC’s next national youth event, which takes place July 19-22, 2022 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA.  

The event is open to high school students completing grades 8-12, youth ministry leaders, and adult chaperones, and is designed to serve as a leadership development experience for both students and youth leaders.  

Registration for the event will be online only and opens November 22.  A $50 deposit per registrant will be due at the time of registration.  

The deadline to sign up is April 1, or when our capacity of 243 participants has been reached.

More detailed information will be available on our Youth Event page once registration has officially opened.  

If you would like to be notified when registration opens, visit and subscribe to our mailing list.

In the meantime, youth leaders serving our LCMC congregations are invited and encouraged to take part in our ongoing monthly webinars, a new initiative designed to help train, equip, support, and encourage those who are serving in youth ministry roles.  For more information and to sign up, click here

LCMC to Offer Monthly Zoom Meetings for Youth Leaders Fri, 07 May 21 00:00:00 +0000 For the past several months, a team of LCMC staff and leaders have been discerning and planning our next national youth event (The Way • The Truth • The Life, July 19-22, 2022 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA).

As we’ve discussed plans for the gathering, a shared heart and desire to attend to the care of youth leaders has become a focus.

In our meetings, we’ve had conversation about common topics of concern for those who work with youth. We’ve prayed for solo pastors doing all the things, but also striving to provide kids and teens relevant ministry. We’ve shared our compassion and concern for youth ministry staff who continue to press on in the face of a challenging year. We’ve shared our heart to equip the amazing adults who, for many congregations are the “youth staff”, whole-heartedly volunteering their time, talent and money for the teens in their congregations.

As a result of these conversations, we are excited to share an initiative designed to serve youth leaders. In the coming months, we will be offering a Zoom webinar for youth leaders to support, equip and encourage anyone passionate about youth ministry. This webinar will be a space to gather and be supported in the call to serve kids and teens. 

The first Zoom meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 17 at 11:00 A.M. CT.  If interested, please contact Cathy Nichol ( to be added to the email list.  A sign-up form to be added to our email list is available here

The goals of these meetings are:

  • Equip: Provide tested, tried and helpful resources
  • Train: Engage in discussions on topics that are relevant to leading youth ministry
  • Encourage: Prayer, support and a safe place to share your heart, struggle and needs

In addition, a survey was sent to congregations, pastors, youth leaders and adult volunteers to learn more about what issues and challenges are impacting their ministry. The results of this survey will help us to continue to develop robust, meaningful sessions for all called to serve our kids and teens.

If you know of a youth leader, volunteer, or congregation member that is passionate about youth ministry and would like to be included in this group, please share this information with them.

Keep your eye out for information (via the LCMC blog, Facebook and e-newsletter) about upcoming opportunities for LCMC youth and youth leaders.

As we continue to develop this opportunity, please know we are praying for you in your ministry to kids and youth. Keep these words from Paul’s letter to Corinth in your heart:

Therefore, beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58

This article has been edited to include the date and time for the first youth leader webinar and a link to the sign-up form. 

The Essential Role of Youth Ministry in Our Churches Mon, 22 Feb 21 00:00:00 +0000 We heard the word “essential” a lot this past year. The word was used in regards for necessary items and personnel; but if we’re honest, the definition fell pretty broadly as to who was categorized in this way. However, we still needed the essentials for day-to-day life.

Even in our congregations, we had to get down to the “essentials” for ministry to move forward. As things progressed, innovation took place. These changes were not easy for any of us.

The role of the Church is to respond to change while holding firmly to the essentials so that a new generation’s needs might be met. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” writes the author of Hebrews. He is the essential, but the mode of communicating His essential message requires innovation.

Here’s what I’m getting at: if we want the next generation to understand the essential message, we have to make them essential to the message. Our congregations need good youth ministries where students are treated as essential to our strategy of making disciples in all nations. Students need to feel that their congregation wants, likes, and needs them there.

I’ve had the joy and privilege of working with students for over 12 years now. In this time, I’ve heard their stories, shared in their pain, and pointed them towards hope. What’s funny is with youth, there’s always an opportunity to dwell on the essentials of our faith. But with these students, I’ve also seen Jesus become essential to their lives.

When students see that the church wants to leverage this time in their life for the important things, they grab on. They show up, they work hard, and they develop a faith that will last. Students are worth celebrating and when they are, it innovates more than you can imagine!

So, where can you start? Make young people essential in your own life. Read and learn about them. Pray for them. Talk with them. Invite them into your life. Show them how Jesus is for them. When you make our youth essential to your life, you’ll find Jesus innovating everything.

Update on Youth Events Around the Association Tue, 24 Nov 20 00:00:00 +0000 Ministry for children, youth and young adults is an essential element in the future development of our association and in the work of sharing the Gospel in the United States and around the world. With that in mind, we are so thankful for the adults throughout LCMC who are coming alongside of parents and giving of their time to share God’s love with children, teens, and young adults.

As we begin to make plans for a national youth event in 2022, we want to keep you up to date on some upcoming regional events happening within LCMC. In 2021 there are multiple regional youth events sponsored by districts, congregations, or individuals in those regions. Here are the regional events we have been informed of: 

For more regional events happening within LCMC, please visit our calendar page.  Regional events hosted by LCMC districts or congregations may be submitted for the LCMC calendar at any time by clicking on the red "Submit an Event" button at the top of the page, or by clicking here.

Register Now for Our 2020 Youth Event! Wed, 20 Nov 19 00:00:00 +0000 Registration is now open for our next high school youth event, Called 2: Love, which will be held July 21-24, 2020 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA.  

The event features worship, music, service projects, breakout sessions, and teachings on love, leadership, and what it takes to pursue a role in ministry.  

Participants will also have a chance to connect with other high school students and youth leaders in LCMC through mixers and activities, plus enjoy an ice cream social, games, and inflatables outside on the green.  

The event is designed for high school students completing grades 8-12, youth leaders, and adult chaperones.

Registration fees are $325 per person and are all-inclusive, so all you have to do is get there.

A $50 deposit for each registrant is due at the time of registration to secure your spot, and the deadline to sign up is April 1, 2020.

For more information and to register, CLICK HERE

LCMC to Host 2020 Youth Event Wed, 26 Jun 19 00:00:00 +0000 Mark your calendars, because plans are in the works for another high school youth event in 2020!

Next year's theme is Called 2: Love and features teachings on love, leadership, and ministry.  The event also includes worship, service projects, breakout sessions, music, and a chance to connect with other high school students and youth leaders in LCMC. 

Our goal?  To empower youth ministry in the local church, provide leadership development for students and youth leaders, and encourage students to consider the vocation of ministry. 

It all takes place July 21-24, 2020 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA and is open to the first 243 high school students, youth leaders, and adult chaperones who register.  More Info >>

If you'd like to be notified when registration opens, please download our mobile app and opt in for "Youth Event" notifications.  [Here's How]

LCMC Congregations to Organize Youth Mission Trip in 2019 Mon, 18 Jun 18 00:00:00 +0000 LCMC churches and their youth have partnered on several mission trips in the past, including 2014 and 2015 in Oklahoma, and most recently 2017 in Colorado Springs. 

Plans are starting to shape for another great LCMC mission trip for the Summer of 2019. 

For details and information, please contact Scott Strachan from Faith Lutheran Church of Albuquerque NM via email at or call 505-296-0762

LAST CALL for Called 2 Follow Registration Thu, 29 Mar 18 00:00:00 +0000 We have extended the deadline to register for the youth event this summer until Sunday, April 15, but this is the LAST CALL.  We need to have all registrations and deposit money in by the 15th. 

Called 2 Follow takes place July 17-20 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA and all information including speakers, breakouts, service projects, the agenda, and more can be found under "Events" our website.

Click Here to Register Now >>

Called 2 Follow Registration Closes March 31 Mon, 19 Mar 18 00:00:00 +0000 The deadline to register for our upcoming high school youth event, Called 2 Follow, is next Saturday, March 31st! 

Participants will gain practical life advice through interactive keynote presentations and breakout sessions, make a real difference in the local community by taking part in service projects, and connect with other people in LCMC while enjoying games, music, inflatables, and ice cream.

For groups wishing to stay an extra day, we have made arrangements with Adventureland Resort & Amusement Park in Altoona, IA to make discounted tickets available for Called 2 Follow participants.  Tickets are $38 each and can be purchased by selecting the appropriate option on your registration form. 

The event takes place July 17-20 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA and is open to high school students completing grades 8-12, youth leaders, and chaperones.  To register online, click here

For updates on this and other LCMC events, be sure to sign up to receive event notifications in our mobile app.

Get Mobile Updates! Sun, 28 Jan 18 00:00:00 +0000 Did you know that the LCMC App lets you sign up to receive news updates on your mobile device based entirely on your interests?  Here's a breakdown of what's available:

General Notifications:

Select this option if you’d like to be notified ONLY of announcements that aren’t related to attending a specific event.  Examples:

  • New videos/podcasts
  • Service projects
  • Contests
  • Major news updates from the LCMC Staff and Boards

Event Specific Notifications:

We use this feature to notify you when registration opens for your favorite events, when a deadline related to an event you’ve selected is approaching, and when any major new details get announced for that event.  (For Three Days of Prayer, you’ll receive a message reflecting on the themes during each of the three days.)  App users who sign up for these types of notifications will only receive announcements for the specific events they’ve opted in for.  

On Site Notifications:  

While attending a larger LCMC event such as the Annual Gathering, opting-in for on site notifications will allow you to receive any announcements or updates that are made during the event, such as meeting room assignments and service project information.  You will only receive these types of messages for the duration of the event you’re attending.

Don’t worry, if you sign up for our notification system we won’t spam you with constant daily messages. We’re just using this feature as a way to help make it easier to receive news updates in the most timely manner possible.  

Here’s How:

  1. If you haven't already, download our app on your phone or tablet. 
  2. Open the app and click on the icon in the top left corner to access your inbox, notes, and app settings. 
  3. Select "Settings", then "Notifications". 
  4. On the Notifications page, simply toggle on anything you'd like to get updates about. 

That's it! 

Called 2 Follow Registration Opens December 1st Mon, 27 Nov 17 00:00:00 +0000 Our Called 2: Follow youth event is coming to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa from July 17-20, 2018!

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

Our youth event next summer will focus on these words of Jesus that call us out of ourselves and into something much greater!  In the summer of 2016, we gathered over 300 youth and adults from 15 different states; next summer we hope to have even more.

We will be staying in the air-conditioned dormitories on the campus of Grand View University with full access to all their amenities:  gymnasium, food service, internet, student center and more.  The registration per person remains the same as last summer, and it's all-inclusive, so people just need to get here!  Food, lodging, bedding, internet, convention costs and materials for Tuesday through Friday is only $325.  

Our keynote speakers are Andrea Paulson, a pastor from First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hastings, Nebraska and Kyle Fever, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Nexus Institute, on the campus of Grand View University.

Our breakout session leaders and topics are:

  • Sex, Lies and Identity Theft (Jennifer Roush)
  • Human = Addict, Hijacked From Our Creator (Kendra Diehl)
  • Handling Anxiety and Stress (Paul Peterson)
  • Followership/Discipleship in Daily Life (Jonathan Hunter)
  • Preparing for What Comes Next (Russ Lackey)

Music and worship will be provided by Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, Iowa.  Music for the event will be available on our website beforehand so that participants can download and become familiar with it before the event begins.

Our emcees next summer are Noah Ruppert, a pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Altoona, Iowa and Chip Reynolds, a pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, Texas.  They will both also be participating in leading music and worship.

We begin Tuesday evening with an opening worship service that sets the stage and theme for our time together.  Wednesday is filled with breakouts and large group sessions, music and more.  Thursday, we start with the keynote presentation, then a panel discussion called, “Ask the Pastors”.  We spend the afternoon in service projects:  Meals from the Heartland, working at Riverside Bible Camp and performing Random Acts of Kindness.  Thursday evening is time to play on “the Green” outdoors with games, inflatables, music and ice cream.  On Friday we will close our time together to be sent off to serve in our own communities and congregations.

Registration opens December 1, 2017 for the first 350 participants.   

Click here to learn more >>

Save the Date: Called 2 Serve 2018! Thu, 12 Jan 17 00:00:00 +0000 Mark your calendars!  Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ's next Called 2 Serve youth event will take place July 17-20, 2018 at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.  

A total of 300 people attended our 2016 Called 2 Serve event, which featured workshops, service projects, keynote speakers, an ice cream social, and a concert by the Christian rock group Remedy Drive.  (You can read a full recap here, and check out photos from the event in our photo gallery, listed under the "Events" menu of our website.)

Additional details will be available here and in our mobile app at a later date, so stay tuned!  


Grand View University Welcomes LCMC for Called 2 Serve Youth Event Wed, 03 Aug 16 00:00:00 +0000 Students in Grand View University Wellness CenterHigh school students and youth group leaders from across the nation headed to Grand View University in Des Moines last month to take part in our 2016 summer youth event, Called 2 Serve

According to Cathy Nichol, LCMC’s administrative assistant, a total of 300 people from 32 different LCMC congregations attended the four day event, which was designed to help strengthen the ministry of the local church by giving students a better understanding of what is possible in their own church and local community. 

The event featured keynote speakers Culynn Curtis, Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Maple Lake, MN, Alex Krumm, Director of Student Ministries at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA, Ken Jones, Professor of Theology and Religion at Grand View University, and Jody Skogen, Director of Youth and Family Ministries at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Marion, IA, who emceed the event.

Also speaking at the event were Kyle Fever, Pastor of Beyond Ministries and Director of Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp, Jamie Strickler, Assistant Dean of Educational Ministry for North American Education at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, Wendy Berthelsen, Pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, and LCMC staff members Mark Vander Tuig, Steve Lien and Dan Clites

Throughout the week, students also had the chance to explore topics such as love, truth, their "call", the life that Jesus promises and how to follow Jesus during high school by taking part in interactive breakout sessions and enjoyed music performed by the worship band at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, IA. 

On Thursday, participants had the option to take part in one for four different service projects that were geared towards making a real difference in the local Des Moines community. 

Approximately one third of participants opted to help pack meals for the hungry with non-profit organization Meals from the Heartland.  After exceeding our goal of raising $10,000 in donations from LCMC congregations (enough to purchase enough supplies for 50,000 meal kits), volunteers were able to package a total of 80,784 meal kits in under three hours. 

Another group of volunteers chose to visit Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp, where they laid a gravel path, mulched the facility's low ropes course, cleaned and weeded any landscaped areas, mulched a whole trail and stained a large fence. 

A third group met up with the people at Hope Ministries, an organization who seeks to help meet the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of people who are homeless.  Participants volunteered at some of the various sites that Hope Ministries operates, performing tasks such as cleaning and organizing items at a local thrift store. 

A fourth group went out into the local community to perform random acts of kindness, such as cleaning up a local park, giving away cookies, cleaning up several areas on the Grand View University campus, and handing out bottled water to people with scripture verses attached. 

While there were plenty of opportunities for learning and serving at Called 2 Serve, the event also offered everyone a chance to get connected with others through small group discussions, games and mixers led by Chip Reynolds, Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, TX, 

Participants also enjoyed an ice cream social featuring Peanut Butter Belly Buster, Cake Batter, Knee Deep in Chocolate and Cookies & Cream flavors from Over the Top, followed by a live concert by christian rock group Remedy Drive

Overall, the event was well-received by those who attended.  Here are just a few of the comments our staff has received from participants' evaluation forms:

  • "This was by far one of the best weeks I have ever had and I thank you all for it. God Bless."
  • "Longer! I loved it and I wish it was longer! Breakout sessions more interactive and how it's applicable to life."
  • "I loved how service project was incorporated with the event. This was an excellent event. I am looking forward to the next one."
  • "Thank you for your hard work! God moved in some awesome ways!"
  • "We had a wonderful time at the National Youth Gathering. Having attended two NYG in another denomination, I appreciated that there was no political agenda or ideological propaganda spewed forth at our kids. It was nice to be centered in the Word, what Jesus has done for us, and the privilege to share that message as those Called2Serve."
  • "Our group of [people] were barely more than Sunday friends from multiple high schools and wound up growing personally and collectively in Christ. They're bonded with big ideas for God now! Two, who've attended church their entire lives and been confirmed, shared with me that it was the very first time they were truly feeling a personal connection to Jesus, prayer, and seeing how Christian support works. I'm so grateful! These ladies arrived home and were so on fire that our pastor is devoting an entire Sunday service/sermon in August for them to share the Called 2 Serve Bible message, music, and a takeaway activity to hopefully inform and inspire our congregation to sharing their gifts, loving one another and being called to service!"
  • "God moved in many ways: - Students started sharing their stories of faith with one another in small groups during family time - Students started thinking about going into vocational ministry maybe for the first time - Student spent her first extended time away from home, successfully! - Student became more of her aware of her actions and asked for forgiveness from leaders. - Student left the week with an understanding that serving is more than something we do it’s about who we are as Christians - Student felt the presence of the Holy Spirit during the Thursday night worship gathering - Student felt her calling to be someone who is there for her friends during difficult times. That is just SOME of the cool things God did during the youth event!"
Service: A Central Part of Our Gatherings! Fri, 04 Mar 16 00:00:00 +0000 Dear Friends,

“Service” is becoming a central part of our gatherings!

This year for our Called 2 Serve youth event, which takes place July 19-22 at Grand View University in Des Moines, one of the service projects is again working with Meals from the Heartland.

In order to reach our goal, we need about $10,000 to have 140 young people package meals for two hours, which would amount to about 50,000 meals. 

At our Annual Gathering this year, we are working with Lutheran World Relief (LWR), one of the most efficient and effective relief agencies in the world. 

Our goal is to have Annual Gathering participants (we normally get between 750 -1,100 people in attendance) assemble 10,000 personal care kits. To make this happen, we need to receive about $50,000 in special offerings from the congregations of LCMC. The people with LWR believe that we can easily assemble that many kits in Denver!

The people of our congregations have been extremely generous for these projects in the past, and I am hoping we can be once again.

If your church would like to participate, please send checks, made payable to to LCMC and earmarked for "Meals from the Heartland" or "Lutheran World Relief" to the LCMC office at:

7000 N Sheldon Road
Canton, MI 48187

You can also make a donation online by clicking one (or both!) of the following links:

All funds need to be received by July 1, 2016 so we can purchase needed supplies.

Sincerely In Christ,

Mark Vander Tuig
LCMC Service Coordinator

Why an LCMC Youth Event? Fri, 05 Feb 16 00:00:00 +0000 First, Youth Are the Present.

The best people to witness to other youth are the youth that we already have.  The local church must do what they are able to train and equip youth to be disciples to their own generation.  One of the best ways to do that is to build mentor relationships with mature Christian adults who can mentor youth in the development of their relationship with Jesus.

Second, Youth Are the Near Future.  

One of the things that we have not done very well is prepare our youth for the next chapter.  Many of our youth after leaving high school tend to struggle with their faith in a culture that pulls them in a hundred different directions.  University campuses are not always friendly places for Christians and are we helping them figure out how to navigate that new setting?  But almost no place in the culture: work, military, vocational tech, etc. is welcoming to young adults who also want to remain faithful to Jesus.

Third, Youth Are the Further Future.  

One of the biggest issues we face is finding leaders for the local church who love Jesus, love the church and love the people the Holy Spirit brings.  Raising local leaders for the local church must become a priority for each congregation.

Fourth, Youth Are the Future Pastors.  

The vocation of ministry requires the brightest and the best that our congregations have to offer.  People forget that pastors come from congregations...and so we need to find ways to help youth catch the vision that serving Jesus happens in every vocation, but the vocation of ministry is one of them. Being a pastor/leader of a congregation has been a great life for many and has been a great blessing to those families.  We need more and more youth to ask the question: could God be calling me to consider pastoral ministry as my vocation?

Our 2016 “Called 2 Serve” youth event is July 19-22, and registration closes March 1st.  If you are planning to attend, please register!

2016 Event Registration Deadlines Thu, 28 Jan 16 00:00:00 +0000 If you're headed to one of our spring or summer events, don't forget to register.  These deadlines will he here before you know it!

2016 Youth Event

The registration deadline for Called 2 Serve is Tuesday, March 1.  The event is open to students completing grades 8-12 and takes place July 19-22, 2016 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA.  Chaperones are required. 

2016 Leadership Conference

The early bird deadline for our 2016 Leadership Conference is fast approaching!  Pastors, church leaders and church members who register for the conference by Monday, February 29 will save $30 per person on the cost of registration.  Seminarians who register in advance will also receive discounted admission. 

The event, themed Shift: Retooling Church, takes place April 10-12, 2016 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, IA and features keynote speakers, worship, and a chance to connect with fellow LCMC-ers through interactive discussion groups. 


Pre-Register Now for Called 2 Serve Fri, 06 Nov 15 00:00:00 +0000 Registration is now open for Called 2 Serve, our 2016 youth event featuring keynote speakers, breakout sessions, service projects, mixers and an outdoor concert featuring christian rock group Remedy Drive.

The event is designed to help strengthen the ministry of the local church by giving high schoolers a vision of what is possible in their own church and local community.  Participants will have a chance to meet other high schoolers from all over the country, lend a hand to people in need, and gain a better understanding of what God might be calling each person to do within his or her local comunity. 

Students attending the event will have the ability to choose from three of five different breakout session topics, as well as one of four service projects.  Participants also have the option to purchase discounted tickets to Adventureland Theme Park and Adventure Bay Water Park.

The event is open to high school students completing grades 8-12.  For the safety of the students, a minimum of 2 chaperones is required per group, with 1 adult for every 5 youth attending.

The cost to register is $325.00 per person, which includes housing and all meals listed on the conference schedule.  Priority will be given to pre-registrants for air-conditioned housing.

Called 2 Serve takes place July 19-22, 2016 on the campus of Grand View University in Des Moines, IA.  For more information, click here

Our DNA: Sunday and Monday Recap Mon, 05 Oct 15 00:00:00 +0000 This week, 744 people from the U.S. and abroad traveled to Frisco, TX for the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ 15th Annual Gathering.  The theme this year was “Our DNA”.  

The event kicked off on Sunday night with dinner and an opening worship service featuring Pr. Becky Hand from Life in Grace Lutheran Church of Odessa, TX and the worship team from Martin Luther Lutheran Church of Giddings, TX.  

Dessert and a reunion for all church planters within the association followed the service.  

Monday morning opened with worship led by Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Victoria, TX and Bible study with Rev. Steven E. King, Managing Editor of Sola Publishing.

Rev. Dr. W. Bruce Wilder, Senior Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM took the stage as our first keynote speaker, followed by a panel discussion featuring LCMC Service Coordinator Rev. Mark Vander Tuig, Rev. Bill Sullivan (Lead Pastor of New Life Lutheran Church and former Service Coordinator of LCMC) and LCMC Director of Operations Sharon MacFadyen.  

During the afternoon session, LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry Rev. Steve Lien announced the association's 2016 Leadership Conference, which will take place April 10-12, 2016 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, IA.  The theme for next year’s conference is Shift: Retooling Church.  He extended a special invitation to young pastors and church leaders for the event.

Steve then invited district leaders, certification interviewers, new congregations, new pastors seminarians and military chaplains to stand and be recognized.  Pastors who are currently celebrating ordination anniversaries of 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50+ years were also recognized.  

During the Service Coordinator’s report, Rev. Mark Vander Tuig announced two events for 2016, Called 2 Serve and Three Days of Prayer.  

Called 2 Serve is an LCMC youth event for high school students, which will take place at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA from July 19-22, 2016.  Registration for this event will open soon.  

Mark also stated that every congregation, church member and pastor is invited to take part in our 4th Annual Three Days of Prayer from January 5-7, 2016.  Each congregation can organize the three days in any way that makes sense.  The focuses of each day are:

  • January 5:  Confession
  • January 6:  Petition
  • January 7:  Direction

During the opening business session, Pastors Sean Kelly (Area 1) and Enrique Estrada (Area 7) were re-elected to the Board of Trustees.  Laurel Swanson was re-elected as Treasurer.  

The afternoon concluded with a fellowship dinner, giving LCMC-ers a chance to connect with a fellowship group or district of their choice. 

2016 Youth Gathering: Save the Date! Fri, 22 May 15 00:00:00 +0000 At our 2014 Annual Gathering, it was decided that we should have a National Youth Gathering.  I have been meeting with a team of volunteers; we have proposed our ideas to the Board of Trustees and they have approved the following proposal:

  • Theme:  Called 2 Serve
  • Purpose:  To strengthen the ministry of the local church
  • Location:  Grand View University, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dates:  July 19-22, 2016
  • Participants:  Youth going into 9th grade through 12th
  • Cost:  $325 per person, which includes meals, lodging, wi-fi, facilities and costs (all you have to do is get there!)
  • Registration:  Goal—811 participants

There will be more detailed information to follow, but I wanted you to know: it’s going to happen!

Annual Gathering and MFTH Project Statistics Announced! Wed, 29 Oct 14 00:00:00 +0000 Earlier this month, 1,012 people from around the world came together in Des Moines, IA for LCMC’s 14th Annual Gathering.  

Throughout the year, the 833 congregations that make up LCMC came together to raise a total of $91,005.40 for our service project with Meals from the Heartland (13.75% more than our goal of $80,000).  On the evening of Tuesday, October 7th, many of the people who attended the gathering met up at the convention center and assembled a total of 291,168 meals[Watch Video]

During the Business Session of the gathering, Pastors Christopher Miller (Area 2) and Kenneth “Corky” Spitler (Area 5) were elected to the LCMC Board of Trustees.  Pastors Nathan Hanson and Stephan Turnbull were appointed to serve on the Ministry Board.  

Rev. Mark Vander Tuig announced the launch of the LCMC Prayer Chain, an opportunity for people to sign up to pray for all of the congregations in LCMC on a weekly basis.  Click Here to learn more and sign up.

It was also announced that our 15th Annual Gathering will take place from October 4-7, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Frisco, TX. 

Photo galleries from the Annual Gathering, downloadable copies of our 2014 Book, and presentation notes from our Keynote Speakers are now available at our website.  To view any of these materials, Click Here

Videos of our speakers will not be available until later this winter.  We will announce via E-Newsletter, blog, Facebook and Twitter when these videos have been posted.  

LCMC Staff Welcomes Photo Submissions for 2014 Annual Gathering Book Tue, 22 Apr 14 00:00:00 +0000 How has your congregation been "in Mission for Christ" over the past year?  Whether you've organized a creative fundraiser to help raise money for our meal packaging project, traveled abroad on a mission trip, or put together a program to help reach out to the people in your very own community, we want to hear about it! 

For the next several weeks, our staff is inviting all "LCMC-ers" to send us photos of themselves (or fellow members of their congregation) "in Mission for Christ".  All photographs received by Thursday, July 31st will be considered by the LCMC Staff for possible inclusion in the design of the book that will be distributed at the Annual Gathering this October, and on our website!

From 5k races to beauty treatments to English as a Second Language programs, we've seen all kinds of interesting photos and creative ideas in the past.  We are very much excited to see what is going on within the congregations of our association, and to incorporate these stories into the artwork of this year's Annual Gathering book.


Before you get started, please read through the requirements and instructions below.

What we're looking for:  Photos of you (or people in your congregation) in action!  For examples of photos we've used in the past, check out some of our previous books here

What we're not looking for:  Pictures of buildings, but no people. 

Here are a photo guidelines, terms & conditions:

  1. Our staff welcomes photo submissions from now through Thursday, July 31st, with special consideration being given to photos received by Monday, June 30th.  Due to early printer deadlines, any photos submitted after this date will be ineligible for consideration.
  2. Please do not place text or clip art on photos, as these things can be difficult to read should we need to re-size your photo. 
  3. Because chosen images will be used in a printed publication, please send only high resolution/print quality images.  Very small and/or distorted images will not print clearly.
  4. Acceptable file types are: JPG (preferred), GIF, TIFF and PNG.  (No PDFs or Word documents, please!)
  5. Any photo submitted must be an original work (owned by the individual or the congregation), and not the intellectual property of another party.  
  6. By submitting any photo(s), you agree that any images (and likeness or subject matter within) submitted may be used without compensation for the purposes described above.
  7. Photos must be submitted by pastors, congregation members/staff or associate members of LCMC.  
  8. Photo content must be relevant and in accordance with who we are and what we believe.
  9. Each photo submission must be accompanied by your name, the name and location of your congregation, and a brief description of the photograph (see below for more info).  
  10. Please note:  Due to space, time and other constraints, we are unable to guarantee the publication of each and every photograph submitted to us.

How to Submit Photos:

Please be sure that we receive your photo entries no later than Wednesday, July 31.  All photos submitted to LCMC must be accompanied by the following information:

  1. A brief description of the photo(s) 
    • Who is in the photo?
    • When and where does it take place? 
    • What's going on in the photo?
    • How has your congregation been "in Mission for Christ" over the past year?
  2. The name of the person submitting the photograph and/or the photographer's name
  3. The name of the congregation, and the city and state in which it's located. 

Photo entries and all accompanying information may be submitted to us in one of the following ways:

  1. Online:  Click here for an online form, which will allow you to upload a photo.
  2. Email:  Attach the photos to an email and include all description information in the body of the email.  Photo entries should be sent to Kristy Thomas, Communications and Public Relations Specialist for LCMC, at
  3. Flickr Users:  If you have a Flickr account and would like to submit your photos by sharing an album, please email a link to the album, along with the requested information, to  If you are submitting multiple photos this year, we highly encourage you to submit your photos using this method. 
  4. Instagram:  Photos uploaded to Instagram will be considered for submission when accompanied by the hashtags #lcmc and #2014agbook


Youth Encounter President Larry Johnson Announces His Retirement Mon, 17 Mar 14 00:00:00 +0000 March 14, 2014 – St. Paul, Minn. – After forty years of leadership, Rev. Dr. Larry Dean Johnson announces his retirement as president of Youth Encounter. Under Johnson’s leadership, Youth Encounter has reached millions of youth worldwide with the saving message of the Gospel and has developed more than 1,100 professional church leaders through its team ministry program.

“Larry has given his ministry life to this organization and we are fortunate beyond belief to have had him for so long,” said Brian Brooks, Chairman of Lutheran Youth Encounter’s Board of Directors. “I rejoice in that life of ministry as Larry moves to a new time with new goals and new challenges.”

Johnson’s caring Biblical emphasis has bridged across church bodies and made Youth Encounter activities a prominent inter-Lutheran gathering point for generations.  The organization has partnered with over 50% of the Lutheran congregations in the United States and with national Lutheran churches in over 50 countries.
“It has been my privilege to serve Jesus Christ through the ministry of Lutheran Youth Encounter,” said Johnson.  “Our Lord has richly blessed me.  I trust that He has also richly blessed many others during my years of service.  My thanks to everyone who has participated in this ministry. I am pleased to welcome my successor Thomas O’Neill. I will keep Tom and this ministry in my prayers that God might continue to bless it.”
O’Neill comes to Youth Encounter with significant experience in both the non-profit and corporate world.  He spent seven years as the Director of Programs at Camp Luther in northern Wisconsin and most recently as a Senior Community Engagement Leader with Thrivent Financial.

“Thomas possesses the gifts Youth Encounter needs at this time in its ministry. We are blessed that God sent him to us at this time,” said Brooks.

O’Neill’s appointment is effective March 17, 2014. He succeeds Johnson, the only president in the history of Youth Encounter.

“I’m extremely excited to be back in youth ministry,” O’Neill says.  “God has a fantastic plan for Youth Encounter, and I am humbled that He has chosen me to be a part of that.”
O’Neill grew up in eastern North Dakota and graduated from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND with a degree in Mass Communications. He and his wife Jennifer live in the Minneapolis area with their three young boys, Austin, Caleb, and Trevor.
For more information please visit

About Youth Encounter

Youth Encounter, a non-profit Christian ministry organization, has been offering relational youth ministry resources to Christian communities for 50 years. Rooted in the Christian Scriptures and shaped by the Lutheran tradition, Youth Encounter partners with Christian communities of all denominations throughout 30 countries.
Annually, Youth Encounter facilitates over 100,000 encounters with Christ all over the world and shares the Gospel with thousands of youth through its event ministry, team ministry, and service ministry.
For more information about Youth Encounter, visit]]>
Lutheran Youth Take the Urban Plunge Fri, 15 Nov 13 00:00:00 +0000 Over the past eight years, groups of youth from Lutheran churches all over the country have gone to love the poor, serve the homeless and care for their communities; trading in their weekends and vacations of relaxing, catching up on homework, and enjoying their comfortable nights in front of the television, to take the Plunge. The Urban Plunge; forty eight hours of working with the poor; feeding the homeless, visiting the jail; and serving, serving, serving.

82 Lutheran groups have taken the Plunge, most recently including Bethany Lutheran Church from Spencer, Iowa, the First Lutheran Church from Bottineau, North Dakota, Bethany Lutheran Church from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the King of Kings Lutheran Church from Woodbury, Minnesota, Our Savior Lutheran Church from Albert City, Iowa, the Immanuel Lutheran Church from Dixon, Illinois, the Peace Lutheran Church from Pella, Iowa, the Messiah Lutheran Church from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, St Johns Lutheran Church from Bennington, Nebraska, and the Lutheran Church of the Master, from Omaha, Nebraska.

The teams have all had the experience of a life-time, stepping out of their suburban bubbles to discover what life is really like for so many less-fortunate in and around their own nation.

"It put faces to the homeless and really changed my perspective on how approachable people in poverty can be” said Bethany Johnson, from the Bethany Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids, “I am more aware of the needs others might have, and seeing what I can do to help make a difference. "

"It showed me that everyone has a need, and as God's child, it is my duty to help fulfill them. It showed me a little work goes a long way" commented Annette Hanke, from Immanuel Lutheran Church, Dixon Illinois.

During the weekend, all the groups visited 8-9 different faith-based organizations that are working among the poor, discovering what their passions and gifts are, and how best to use them in their local area.
The Urban Plunge, operated by Christ For the City International, does not provide a ‘tour of poverty,’ but instead, helps participants to grasp how they can use their talents and passions to assist faith-based social-service agencies who already work alongside those who are in great need. They therefore aim to meet need, offer practical love and assistance, and ignite lasting passions to help back home.
"It showed me just how much more the church can do for the people in need in our area" said Mindy Lavender, from the Bethany Lutheran Church, in Spencer Iowa.

"Now I know that they are really in need, I want to do this for the rest of my life" encouraged Addison Baker, from the Messiah Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City.

"I learned that compassion is action" said Weston Grunke, from the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Omaha.

The Urban Plunge operates all year round in Lincoln, Omaha, Kansas City, Dallas, Des Moines and Sioux Falls.

For more information, visit

National Lutheran Youth Event Makes an Impact Fri, 26 Jul 13 00:00:00 +0000 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]]>