Imagine this: It is the week after the LCMS Youth Gathering. It was an amazing week filled with so many mountain top experiences. You just need to continue the conversation.
Here is the problem: You have absolutely no clue how to manage it. What do you do? What do you say? Which individuals need to hear about this amazing experience?
We have all been there. As a youth leader myself, I’ve struggled with those exact questions. But guess what? There are so many simple things you, as a youth leader, can do to extend the Gathering and bring it home to your entire youth group and even your home church.
The big thing to remember is it does not take huge acts to bring the Gathering back to your home church and extend those experiences. There are many awesome Bible studies that have been released by the Gathering office that you can easily use with your entire youth group. Using these Bible studies, you can bring the themes of the Gathering to other individuals who were not able to attend. One thing our youth have already done is teach Sunday School one Sunday. We used the major sub-themes of the Gathering (Identity, Humility and Community) and created activities for elementary school-aged children. We wanted to involve them because they are the future of the high school youth group as well as the Church.
In thinking about all the things that are possible to extend the Gathering, I reached out to the Gathering Adult Leader Group on Facebook. I asked them what they do, and the answers were as varied and unique as each church. However, the commonality between every response is, “say thanks.” Yes, the Gathering is for the youth of the LCMS but without the congregation’s support, these youth would never be able to attend. Host a thank-you dinner, ice-cream social or even breakfast. Create a video with pictures and movies that you can show those who supported you. Write thank-you cards to supporters.
Another great resource is this website! It’s is absolutely loaded with great resources. From Bible studies to skits and devotions, the youthESource can help youth and leaders dive deeper into the main theme and sub-themes of the Gathering.
No matter what you do or what route you take, make sure you let your youth speak to what impacted them the most during their time at the Gathering. Have you ever heard the phrase, “The best witness is a personal witness”? Let your youth extend the talk. Get them together with other youth, members of your congregation, family or even friends. Let them talk about the event and share their personal mountain top experience. You will be surprised to see what a simple conversation can do. In my church’s case, it got someone who was leery of attending the 2016 Gathering to sign up. Another youth, who had attended the 2013 Gathering, was so excited to share what Christ did for her that it got the former excited at the possibilities.
What does this all mean for you? Don’t stress about what you can do to bring everything full circle and extend the Gathering. It’s an experience of a lifetime. Use the resources from both the Gathering office (located here on the youthESource) and youthESource.com to bring the message home. Talk with your youth about what they want to do. But, most importantly, say thank-you. Thank your church, your families and your friends. Above all else, thank the Lord that you were blessed to be part of something so monumental in your youth’s lives. After all, that is the whole reason we go to the Gathering! To praise and honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
RESOURCES FOR YOU
Gathering Bible Studies
Find studies related to the themes of the Gathering. Also look for the post-Gathering Bible study, coming soon.
NYG Adult Leaders Facebook Group
Your fellow adult leaders are a great resource! Check in after the Gathering to see what others are doing.
The youthESource website has several studies, skits, devotions and more related to the theme of the Gathering.
Bringing the Gathering Home Webinar
Watch this webinar to find some tips on making the Gathering not only a five-day event, but also a springboard for local, ongoing ministry taking place in your congregation.