A number of ‘back-home’ connections for the July 28-Aug. 1 LCMS National Youth Gathering and first-ever companion Adult Gathering in Orlando will help link congregation members with their members at the Gathering.
Under the theme “CHOSEN,” based on 1 Peter 2:9, some 25,000 participants and thousands of volunteers will gather for the Gathering at the Orange County Convention Center.
Those connections include a Sunday-morning Bible study written by the Gathering Bible-study team and based on the theme text -– the same Bible study members in Orlando will be using — and a first-time Web video stream of Gathering mass events and the Tuesday-evening worship service.
The text from 1 Peter reads, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God.”
Also online, youth groups will be able to create a personalized Web page known as “Our Space” via the Gathering Web site at http://www.lcmsgathering.com where they will be able to share their experiences and photos with family and friends back home.
Another new feature of this year’s Gathering is that each congregation with a group registered will receive a complimentary copy of the post-Gathering DVD.
“Our intent is to include those parents and [other] individuals who have been a part of the participants’ three-year preparation in the event,” according to Gretchen Jameson, associate director for LCMS Youth Ministry -– Communications, in a news release about the Gathering.
Jameson added that as congregations “make use of the Gathering Commissioning Service [available at the Gathering Web site], before the event, share in Bible study, view events, and hear the stories of the participants, the Gathering becomes more than a one-time ‘big’ event. It becomes part of the larger youth ministry happening back home.”
Plans called for the Bible study to be posted at the Gathering site in July.
The live video streaming through the Gathering Web site will be available for a cost of $5 per event or $20 for the entire Gathering.
Jameson said that the post-Gathering DVD, to be produced by a team of LCMS volunteers for distribution in September, “is being designed with use in mind, [especially with] how a congregation [will] really engage with the Gathering program.”
She said the DVD will “include unique features for use in Bible study, worship, or at family and youth events — relevant even for those who were not physically present at the event.”
In summary, Jameson said that Gathering participants will encounter the theme through daily Bible study, workshops, plenary sessions, and hands-on activities focusing on the CHOSEN theme” with daily sub-themes of “in Christ, with Others, and to the World.
“The Gathering demonstrates a churchwide effort for the nurture of LCMS youth,” she said. “Certainly, the sheer number of volunteers needed to coordinate the event and the presence of 76 LCMS organizations and districts at the event as exhibitors and program sponsors represents the support of the adult church for young people. “[But] beyond that, when a congregation says ‘yes’ to the Gathering, youth and adults commit to work together to make the Gathering experience more than five days in Orlando in a way that connects with the faith life of the entire congregation.
Jameson said that more than 1,780 congregations “representing all 35 LCMS districts” are registered for the 2007 event -– the 10th LCMS National Youth Gathering since 1980. Set for 2010, the next Gathering’s dates and location will be announced in Orlando
For more information about the 2007 Gathering, go to its Web site at http://www.lcmsgathering.com.
Posted June 29, 2007