In the summer of 1995, I was a 17 year old with a lot of dreams and goals, but with not much of a foundation. I was a member of the Catholic Church, but I wasn’t active in the church and didn’t really want to be there. A few of my friends were going to the Lutheran youth gathering in San Antonio, Texas. They INVITED me to go and I thought that would be awesome–a trip with my friends to a far-away place I had never been… Yep, that was definitely something I was interested in!
I did go on that trip and I did have a great time. But, more importantly, I got closer to my Lord. I realized that because of my salvation through Jesus, I wanted to start living my life for my Lord! After we got back, the Director of Christian Education (DCE) at the Lutheran church INVITED me to come to his house for Bible study. As I continued to attend the Bible study, I grew in my relationship with God and I grew and expanded my relationships with a solid group of Christian friends. The result of this was that I felt led by the Spirit to join the local LCMS church and I also felt led to attend Concordia University in Chicago to become a DCE. I wanted to become the person out in the world who INVITED others into this wonderful Christian family!
Now, YOU have the opportunity to be the person who INVITED the next generation of leaders in the church! Start INVITING your church youth and their friends to the National LCMS Youth Gathering in San Antonio, Texas, from July 1-5, 2013. Information is being sent out to all LCMS churches in a few months–INVITING you to take a look and consider coming to the Gathering. There is also a fantastic website that has all kinds of information and tips for the Gathering. Check out www.lcmsgathering.com. The Gathering is also an experience not just for teenagers. There are many opportunities for young adults to serve, especially as Young Adult Volunteers (YAV’s). You can apply NOW to be a YAV by visiting the Gathering website.
The Gathering is an incredible spiritual journey, and it starts with the registration process. In the coming weeks and months, Road to the Gathering will look at different ways and ideas to encourage and equip you in this process. God is going to do some amazing things next summer and I hope you are a part of it and I hope that you can use this as a tool to get as many youth there as possible. Not only can you continue to encourage your youth who are already involved in the church, you can use the Gathering to reach out to the youth who are not already connected to God.
Take advantage of this opportunity. Get out and start INVITING!