National Youth Gathering 2019

by Jason Hoyt
This summer nine youth from Zion, plus two more guests (more on that below), will be going to the LCMS National Youth Gathering. The gathering is held every 3 years in various locations around the United States. Past host cities have included Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans and San Antonio, among others. This year the gathering will be held for the first time ever in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The gathering will be held from July 11th through 15th and, our team will stay in town one extra day. We’ll use that day to share some time together, “inwardly digest” the events of those few days, and also tack on a trip to Mall of America for some fun social time as well. While not yet determined exactly, the congregation can expect a special presentation by our youth and counselors soon after we return to share with you a small portion of our experience.
The National Youth Gathering is an awesome and huge event and will see approximately 25,000 youth and another 5,000 adults (counselors and staff) all in downtown Minneapolis, and mostly within walking distance of U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of the NFL Vikings that opened in 2016. The event will start on the evening of July 11th with a “mass event” inside U.S. Bank Stadium where all participants will gather to kick off the weekend. Each evening of the gathering will also end with a mass event at the stadium. On the morning of the 15th there will be a closing service at the stadium, again attended by all participants. During the three days between the opening and closing events there will be conferences held in the nearby convention center. There are four conference sessions per day, and there are far more conferences available (dozens available) than one can attend in the three days. There are a wide variety of topics and speakers at these conferences, and there is easily “something for everyone” all weekend long.
Of special note, for this year’s gathering, Zion will also be hosting two youth from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Aurora, IN. Their two youth are very excited about this opportunity to attend the gathering, and we are very excited to be able to partner with another church and welcome their youth into our Zion family. The youth from St. John’s have already been to Zion for a Sunday School and late service as well as the MLK weekend lock-in, held on January 19th. They are planning to come to some other events between now and this summer so our youth can build those bonds that will help all share in the gathering experience as part of the Zion Family. In total, we will have eleven youth and four chaperones going to the gathering.
At this time our ask from the Zion congregational family is quite simple, and just the same as in 2016, please PRAY. Pray that we WORSHIP through our words and deeds during any activity. Pray we LEARN through all of these experiences. And, lastly, pray that our youth and leaders continue to GROW. We look to grow in our understanding of each-other, in our own personal lives as they are enriched, and most importantly we want to GROW in our faith and understanding of Him who provides all these great things and who brought us to hope, salvation, and eternal life.