Page 1

SPRING 2013 SPRING 2013 • $8.95

Journal of Children, Youth & Family Ministry


Ignite ministry in the first third of life A powerful new resource packed with tools, ideas and strategies to help you cultivate youth who are passionate about following Jesus.

Looking for Change? 2

Sign up for our Youth Ministry Coaching Cohort at


PUBLICATION INFORMATION Published by: ELCA Youth Ministry Network

Subscription Information: call 866-ELCANET (352-2638) or visit:

Contributing Writers: George Baum, Tim Coltvet, Jodi & Nate Houge, Tim Paulson, Clint Schnekloth, Erik Ullestad, Rebekah Wedge Thornhill Design and Layout: Michael Sladek Impression Media Group

Contributing Editor: Debbie Sladek

Connect Editorial Board: Rachel Alley, Chris Bruesehoff, Todd Buegler, Tim Coltvet, Nate Frambach, Sue Mendenhall, Jeremy Myers, Dawn Rundman, Clint Schnekloth, Michael Sladek

Cover Photo & Design ©2013 Michael Sladek

CONTENTS Welcome! Todd Buegler


Sensational, Substantial, and Sustaining Worship Melissa Bergstrom


Worshipping Well With Children Marilyn Sharpe


Finding Sanctuary Heidi Neumark


Mekane Yesus and Children and Youth Rode Shewaye Molla


Worship among Young Adults Scott and Melissa Maxwell-Doherty


66 Ideas For Engaging Children in Worship Dawn Rundman and Children in Worship Team at Concordia University


Radical, Indigenous Worship–Camp Style Randal Gullickson


Facebook Conversation: Network Members


Facebook Conversation: ELCA Clergy


A View from Somewhere Else 21 George Baum Calendar of Events 22


(w)Hol(l)y Listening (Summer ‘13) Science! (Fall ‘13)


Erik Ullestad: Board Member

Rev. Ben Morris: Board Member

Rev. Mike Ward: Board Member

Yvonne Steindal, AIM: Board Member

Rev. Todd Buegler: Executive Director

Valerie Taylor Samuel: Board Member

The ELCA Youth Ministry Network exists to strengthen and empower adult youth ministry leaders in service to Christ as a part of God’s mission. 3



Grace and peace!

Congratulations to Lisa Jeffries, of the Southeast Michigan Synod, who received the Tom Hunstad Award for Excellence in Youth and Family Ministry at this year’s Extravaganza. We are grateful for your ministry! Congratulations!

The phrase that I can never quite figure out how to react to is “worship wars.” I see that phrase occasionally in articles, magazines and blogs. It implies to me some great rift or disagreement amongst us as to worship. Now I am aware that not everyone agrees on what “good” worship is. If you put a group of 100 youth leaders in a room (or in a Facebook group!) and ask them “what is good worship?” you will get 100 different answers. But what I think is ironic is that in the midst of our faith community, we often act the most inappropriately towards each other when discussing worship. I guess that then is the origin of the phrase. Here’s what I believe*: • Worship is worship. When we gather to focus on the Holy, to express our relationship with God in community, in the name of Jesus, we worship. • We often get wrapped up in the wrong question. Instead of asking “what is good worship?” we ask “what is worship that I like?” • Traditional worship is good. • Contemporary worship is good. • People are drawn to worship that is authentically focused on God to a much greater degree than they are to worship that is working hard at being relevant (as if anything we do can make the Gospel of Jesus Christ more or less relevant?), hip or popular. Our theme this month is “You call that worship?!?” The question reflects this conflict. But even more, it invites us into a conversation about worship: • How do young people experience worship? • How are the deep contexts in which we do ministry constantly shaping our worship experiences? • How do we teach worship to young people? Helping them to understand that it’s not just about trying to create another “entertainment experience” for them? Let’s set aside worship wars, and instead engage in worship conversation. Let us recognize that the church is called to both the contemporary and the traditional, and the “safe” and the “experimental.” Networked in Christ,

Todd Buegler Executive Director – ELCA Youth Ministry Network Pastor­—Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Maple Grove, MN

Congratulations to Rev. Paul Amlin, who recently received a new call as the Program Director - Youth MInistries in the ELCA Churchwide Offices in Chicago. We’re grateful for your leadership and look forward to working with you in your new role! Congratulations to Rozella White, who also received a new call in the ELCA Churchwide Offices, working as the Program Director for Young Adult Ministry. Thank you for being willing to serve in this important ministry! Nominations for Network Board Members will open March 15 for a term that begins next January. If you know someone you’d like to nominate, please go to after that date to submit the nomination. Dr. Rollie Martinson, Academic Dean at Luther Seminary announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2013. He has served as a teacher and administrator at Luther for over 36 years. Rollie has been a tremendous gift to the church, particularly in the field of children, youth and family ministry. He has also been a great supporter of this Network and was the first recipient of the Network’s Tom Hunstad Award for Excellence in Youth and Family Ministry. We give thanks to God for Rollie’s ministry and congratulate him on his retirement! 836 people have downloaded the Network App! Have you?

*take it for what it’s worth 4


SENSATIONAL, SUBSTANTIAL, AND SUSTAINING WORSHIP by Melissa Bergstrom Investing time and energy into creating engaging and meaningful worship experiences for all remains an important and challenging task. We live in a world that barrages our children with sensory input, continuously ratcheting up its volume, intensity, animation speed, and hyperbole. Yet in worship we are called to “be still” (Psalm 46:10), to focus our minds and hearts on God, to gather for word and sacrament, to praise, to grieve, to listen, to sing, to give thanks, to contemplate, to rededicate our lives. Services can too often seem to swirl around and above the heads of our children (and ourselves), spitting us back into the seeminglyunrelated world for the rest of our week. Let’s dare to reimagine the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to worship planning. Infusing worship with a singular idea or image engages children (youth and adults, too!) and creates a synergistic arc to our gatherings.

SYNERGY: the dynamic of individual parts mysteriously weaving more meaning and power than they could have independently, just like the body of Christ!

Empowering planners and leaders of those gatherings to creatively infuse every aspect of worship with that focus, we can create both sensational and substantial worship experiences for all ages. Perhaps most importantly, we create sustaining worship experiences: a vocabulary and a reference point that will inform and guide us as we “go into all the world” (Mark 16:15). Imagine the worship experience from a child’s perspective. Walk through the doors, and start asking questions. What do they see? What do they hear? What do they touch? What do they smell? As worship begins, what will inspire a wide-eyed stare? What will make them curious? As the stories of our faith are shared, what word or image or idea might capture their attention? Where in the drama can the little children be “welcomed in Christ’s name” (Matthew 18:5)? Can our littlest ones see how the Word informs our responses in the singing, giving, and meal? What will a child remember as they leave? What kind of connections will they make between their world and their worship?

advance of a particular gathering—an intimidating prospect for many, I know. Worship leaders committed to the engagement of children in worship, however, can begin this work by focusing on one Sunday per month or a mid-week Advent/Lenten series, or perhaps by adding one thematic sensory experience per Sunday throughout a particular month or liturgical season. Whether you organize your planning around the worship elements, our five senses, one of the multiple learning style theories or another framework that allows for a flowering of innovative reinforcement, always (always!) tie everything directly, unswervingly, and obviously to the central focus of the gathering. Equipped with a singular hope, vision, concept or image to carry with them into the world, our children (and adults) will be surprised and delighted by the ways in which the echoes of that focus shape their week and lead to even more enthusiasm for worship attendance and participation.

Implementing synergistic worship requires timely communication between worship leader for weeks, perhaps even months, in

CASE STUDY 1: The Worship Focus is “Lift High the Cross” using the Worship Element Framework. By overtly focusing multiple worship elements directly on cross-related imagery, this singular and central idea can create a common thread that ties the entire service together and connect to the outside world.

GATHERING: Confirmation youth or even remotely artistic adults could create large paper crosses on the entrance doors to the church building itself and/or to the sanctuary. These crosses immediately engage a child’s curiosity about what is to come next. Often pastors will begin and end the service with the sign of the cross as we gather in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Take time during this brief moment to teach children the gesture and an accompanying mnemonic device: head/Father in heaven; heart/Jesus loves me; shoulders/Holy Spirit surrounds me or hugs me).

WORD: The “cross” focus is scripture driven. Thus the word or image itself occurs here and in the lyrics of hymnody. Every time the word cross is sung or spoken, perhaps a sturdy high-schooler can literally lift high a processional cross adorned with bells. Small wind chimes are simple to attach, pleasant to hear, and easy to activate with slight motion. This action audibly and visually underlines today’s central focus and its connection throughout the words we hear in scripture, sermon, and song. 5

MEAL/SENDING: Marking with the sign of the cross is not just for Ash Wednesday. During distribution or at the close of worship, use colorful face paint to adorn foreheads and/or cheeks with crosses, signs of baptism and community, and a reminder as they leave of what they encountered today. The bulletin can include an activity that guides parents and children to go on a cross hunt. How many crosses can you count in the sanctuary? What crosses can you find? (Your church may have intersecting structural beams, jewelry, hymnals, and/or bulletin cover art.)? Direct them to look for crosses as they leave outside in street signs, architecture, trees, utility poles. They can continue the search in their homes, their schools, and the broader world.

CASE STUDY 2: The Worship Focus is “Rejoice in the Lord Always” using the Five Senses Framework. Sensational worship can have substance and sustenance, too. Here, images of rejoicing, praise, and celebration captivate through a multisensory approach.

closing hymn or earlier in the service if this kind of sonic environment is enjoyed by all. Try adding random bell ringing to songs and liturgical moments like the gospel verse or Sanctus to delight the ears with joyful noise!

TASTE: Scripture has lots of taste analo-

duced as the child approaches the building itself through banners, balloons, crepe paper streamers, or other colorful indications that something is worth celebrating. Can these decorations be in the parking lot, along the sidewalks, on every door, and continue in the worship area?

gies such as salt of the earth, bitter root, sour grapes, and sweeter than honey. We associate celebration and praise with sweet treats. Dip individual craft sticks into different solutions of salt, sour and sweet and ask children to identify one or two (or just remember the tastes and make the requisite faces of reaction). What about God inspires us to be sweet? How can we avoid being sour or bitter?

HEARING: Distribute rhythm instruments

SMELL: Incense and flowers are obvious

to children so they can play along with the

(but not usually appreciated) fragrant and

SIGHT: Festive atmospheres can be intro-

celebratory aspects of worship. Calling attention to the use, presence and purpose of these both in the sanctuary and in the world can be useful. But a baptism is always cause for celebration, as is remembering our own baptisms in any worshipful gathering. Procure a fragrant evergreen branch and gather children around the font to smell its earthy (and unchanging!) scent…

TOUCH: …then dip the branch in the waters and sprinkle delight, laughter, and the unmistakable presence of its refreshing, renewing, and cleansing power. Encourage children and parents to remember their baptism at bath time or while walking in the rain.

CASE STUDY 3: The Worship Focus is “We are One in Christ” using a Learning Style Framework. Exploring unity, diversity, mission and membership using eyes, ears, and our God-given bodies! These multiple learning styles can unleash creativity in your worship planning and delight in your congregation’s children.

VISUAL: Footprints of laminated paper or cardstock can outline the many paths from each door (or even outside the church) through all the aisles or hallways to the one altar (or cross, or font). Handprints can be

traced with colorful markers during communion onto a paper-covered cross or other display such as the earth or an image of Christ to show overlapping, intertwined, and connected patterns.

AUDITORY: Spoken introductions to regular worship elements can be infused with thematic imagery. Saying things like “We stand together as one and proclaim our faith” and “Together as the one body of Christ we sing our hymn” helps to highlight to children (and adults) that we engage in unison singing and speaking as part of this communal experience.

KINESTHETIC: How about a game of Liturgical Twister? As a Call to Worship or as part of scripture readings (1 Corinthians 12, perhaps?), use the bodies of those gathered to create a picture of this connection. Instructions might sound like “Take your right hand and touch someone’s arm” or “Now put your left elbow on someone else’s shoulder.” Interlock arms during prayers, for a familiar song, at the closing blessing, or around the table.

Melissa Bergstrom lives in the Minneapolis area, serves as Edina Community Lutheran Church’s organist and choir director, and chairs the music department at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. She is blessed with a loving husband and three sons.



WORSHIPPING WELL WITH CHILDREN “[Jesus] called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18: 2-5 of the body of Christ, of the congregation. They are not a future commodity, but a vitally BEGINNING WITH JESUS important part of the present, and we need to Jesus did not welcome children because he welcome them as such. was a nice or tolerant guy. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell this story because Jesus had something important to teach adults: the lesHOW CAN WE WELCOME CHILson of love, trust, and true humility. Now, we, DREN? too, are to welcome children in Jesus’ name, Here are a collection of ideas to prepare the welcoming Jesus himself and learning what building, prepare the congregation, prepare children are sent to teach us. parents, and prepare young children to worship well together:

THE PROBLEM WITH CHILDREN IN WORSHIP But do we have to have them in worship? They are noisy, messy, and wiggly and they distract adults. Shouldn’t adults have the right to be able to concentrate and have it be a peaceful, worshipful experience? And what can the children possibly understand?

WHAT IS THE POINT? Why should children be in worship? Research tells us that children who worship with their parents are more likely to be active and involved in congregational life and have a lifetransforming faith in Jesus Christ as adults, than those children who went to Sunday school alone. Worship is learned behavior. Children learn what they observe their beloved parents doing and valuing. And, children learn what they experience. They learn the rhythms of worship. They learn the hymns. They learn the liturgy, the creed, the prayers, the elements of worship. They learn to feel “at home” in the sanctuary. It becomes a “family habit.” Children learn from babyhood on that this is what our family does. If we want them in worship in the future, we need to welcome them now. Children also need to become part of the worshipping community, to know and be known by all the generations. They need adults and youth and older kids to know them by name, to feel they are part of the family of the congregation. In baptism, the child became a member

Begin with your parking lot. Virtually all of us have handicapped parking spaces for those whose mobility is impaired. Many congregations also mark other parking spaces close to main doors as “Reserved for Visitors” or “Reserved for Seniors.” I’ve also seen parking lots that reserve spaces “For Families with Young Children.” Why do this? As a parent of three children, I know what an acrobatic feat it is to get one or two or three or more children safely across the parking lot and into a church building. Make it look like you are expecting families with young children, acknowledge the challenges, and make it easier to navigate the parking lot. And how about your main doors? Many of them now sport a handicap-accessible automatic opener, which can certainly be used by a parent with children and car seat and diaper bag in tow. One congregation I visited had a working door handle about 16” off the ground. The message to young children? “Come in! You are welcome! We were expecting you!” Another congregation in which I shared this story was so taken with the idea that they planned, right then and there, to install a “child-height” handle! To welcome the child and the family to worship, use children and families as greeters. What a delight for a child to come to worship and be greeted ... by another child! It will bring smiles to the faces of your adults, too.


by Marilyn Sharpe

Other accommodations signal that children are loved and welcomed to worship. Have worship bags available for children with books, soft toys, and coloring pictures that tell the story of that day’s Scripture lessons. Children’s bulletins are another wonderful way to greet and welcome children, making it easier for them to follow the flow of worship. Children can also serve as ushers and participants in worship. Some adults express concern, lest a child drop the offering plate. Please point out that they are uniquely well equipped to scramble under the pew to retrieve anything that might have dropped. I had the privilege of preaching on Baptism of Our Lord Sunday two years ago. At my request, they had a third grader read the Gospel lesson on Jesus’ baptism ... from the Spark Story Bible. The story was faithful to the translation we normally use. All understood the lesson. And you should have seen the children in the congregation ... they all sat on the edge of the pews to see one of their own leading them in worship. The child’s mother stood behind him to support him, as he stood on a box behind the altar and to help if he got caught on a difficult word. He didn’t! And what if your pew racks, normally featuring hymnals and “grown up” Bibles also had children’s story Bibles? What a powerful way to say again, “We were expecting you.” A friend’s congregation always announces to children and adults alike, “If you need a Bible, please take home the one in your pew rack as a gift from our congregation.” Talk about “equipping the saints,” even and especially the very young ones and their parents. Let the bulletin and newsletter repeatedly declare that “We welcome children in worship.” Have a card in the pew rack that announces the same message. In some congregations, it might be in order to retrain ushers not to hustle babies and young children off to the nursery. Invite the worshipping adults to smile at the children they see and hear. Smiling is welcoming; scowling is

not! Perhaps even pack kid-friendly supplies to offer a restless child: a few 3x5 cards, short pencils, and sticks of sugarless gum. I have deputized myself to find the young families in the sanctuary after worship to thank them for worshipping with their children, declaring, “This is what my church family is supposed to look like.” I introduce myself and learn their names. A congregation I coached has margin notes in the bulletin, explaining parts of the liturgy and suggesting places in the service that make it easy for a parent to leave with a crying or restless child ... and to return. Ask the pastor to announce in worship that children are welcome and to include sermon illustrations that are about real children. If a child speaks or cries during worship, may your pastor smile and continue. If the pastor is flustered, the congregation will jump to the defense of the pastor, leaving the child and parents feeling embarrassed and unwelcome. Deliver children’s messages that tie into the scripture of the day. The point is never to give a prize or make the congregation laugh at the expense of the children. This is a vitally important part of worship that leads all of us into the lessons and ties into the sermon. When the congregation shares the peace, make sure adults greet children. A gentle reminder to adults is never amiss. Let the music include songs children know. They are often favorites of the adults, too, and bring back many happy memories. Encourage families to sit in the front pews, where the children can see and participate. The back pews make it impossible to see and so much easier to be distracted. Wonder what they see? Sit in the back pew yourself and, when the congregation stands, get on your knees to see what a child sees. If they can’t see, trust me, they won’t behave well. Some congregations have reserved the front

several pews for families with young children. Others have removed them, providing a few rocking chairs, small bean bag chairs, or quilts on the floor instead.

child. Let’s keep our promises by welcoming children to worship.

A Presbyterian friend from North Carolina, who received her MDiv from Luther Seminary, shared a strategy from her home congregation. Her congregation trains “pew angels,” loving adults who offer to sit with a frazzled parent and children; an improvement on glowering ushers or tongue clucking pew judges, a better way to welcome children and welcome Jesus.


Prepare your child for worship, talking about why and how we worship. State the behavior you would like to see. Catch them doing it well.


Worship at home. Pray with your child. Teach your child simple songs of faith.


Speak with your pastor about how to encourage parents of young children to worship with them and underscore the importance of doing so.


With your pastor and worship team, share some ideas for how to make worship in your congregation more childfriendly … and offer to help.


After worship, find a parent with a young child and thank them for worshipping with their child. Let them know that this is what their church family is supposed to look and sound like and that you appreciate all of the effort it took to be here.

Schedule a time when worship is not in session to invite families and their young children to come and explore the sanctuary. Be available to describe what things are, their function, and provide names. (Many adults don’t know this either!) Invite children and adults into the chancel to see things close up. If you have windows that tell a story, share those stories with the kids. All of this helps kids feel “at home” in the place they worship. This will inspire respect, not undermine it. So, what will the young child learn? Twentyfive years ago, Gerhard Frost, Lutheran pastor and poet, spoke gently to one of my friends, a young dad struggling to worship with his two young daughters while their mother sang in the choir. The father felt defeated, concerned that they had distracted others, not sure what his little girls had actually learned. Frost gently reassured him, saying, “They will always remember who worshipped with them!” Remember, in baptism, parents promise to bring their children to worship in God’s house, in the midst of God’s family. Children have faith. Children worship. Children experience reverence, awe, love, and praise. Let them bring those qualities to worship and inspire the rest of us. In baptism, we welcomed the child into God’s family, into our faith family, and promised to support the parents in this lifelong faith journey with their



Marilyn Sharpe is the principal of Marilyn Sharpe Ministries, LLC, dedicated to helping congregations equip households to nurture faith in all of the generations, all of the time, wherever they are. She is a congregational coach, trainer, writer, presenter, speaker, retreat leader and teacher. Her first book, For Heaven’s Sake! Parenting Preschoolers Faithfully, captures the wisdom of parents and best parenting practices, as they nurture faith in God’s youngest children.


FINDING SANCTUARY Our most extensive ministry with youth exists for the sake of those who are on the outside of our church and, for the most part, from any church. They are youth who have been rejected and kicked out of their homes by family members who would often describe themselves as devout church-goers. These young people are understandably angry and suspicious around churches.

by Heidi Neumark

Jasmine requested a strawberry cheesecake for her birthday, but when the day came, she was in the hospital with severe sickle cell anemia. I brought her the cake but what she really wanted was for me to call her mother. When Jasmine was sixteen, her church-going mother had given her an ultimatum, date boys not girls or pack your things. Before long, Jasmine was forced out on the street. Now she lay hospitalized in pain on her 21st birthday, longing for her mother. She asked me to make the call, thinking that her mother might listen to me, a pastor. Instead, I heard her mother say, “I have no daughter! And I don’t know how you can call yourself a pastor.” When Jesus was thirteen years old, he came out at the dinner table. His mother jumped up and began stabbing him with her fork, screaming, “This is a Christian home!” The sharp tines left several rows of scar bumps on his arm and another on his side. After the fork attack, Jesus ran away and survived one way or another until he found his way to Trinity Place, our church’s shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth. On the day before Hurricane Sandy hit our city, Derrick excitedly got ready to leave for the Bronx. His grandmother had invited him to stay with her and his siblings there because she felt that it was important for the family to be together during the storm. Derrick was thrilled to be included. At 11pm, when all of New York City was paralyzed by the storm, Derrick called to say that his father had arrived at his grandmother’s house, beat him and kicked him out. It had happened before. His father’s abuse and refusal to accept his gay son forced Derrick to live in a shelter to finish up high school. Now he was on the street in the middle of the storm. But this time, Derrick knew he had a place to go. Our social worker told him that we’d pay for the car service to get back to the church. When he arrived, she greeted him and paid the driver. Derrick stepped inside our shelter and said with relief, “I’m so glad to be home!”

Home is a church basement. Many people in the congregation call it the undercroft, but whatever you call it, it’s a very humble space. When Trinity felt drawn to shelter homeless queer youth and young adults, we looked around and saw a space that was already inadequate to our present needs. How could we add more? Other churches had much better spaces -- newer, nicer, bigger. We had one dingy shower that was a remnant of a time when an intern lived in the church basement. This would not likely fly today, although the intern has returned from the Midwest to show his kids and wife how cool it was. We realized that while our space was bustling during the day, it was almost always empty at night, when homeless youth had no safe space to sleep. We knew that churches had helped to create this problem and we felt called to respond. We cleared a small room to store ten beds and bins to hold the worldly belongings of the youth. It’s not big enough and those who get the daily chore of putting the beds

back in the morning call it bed Tetris. It would be nicer to have more space but we are the stewards of what we have. Being connected to God and to each other is what matters most in our lives. For so many LGBTQ youth, those connections are brutally cut—spiritually, emotionally and physically as they are cast out of families, churches and homes. Trinity Place exists to make healing connections. It’s a transitional shelter where young people can stay for up to eighteen months, getting connected to a community of being beloved, then to health care, education and job training that will enable each one to move on. The shelter is not a worshipping community. We do not have “shelter worship” or “shelter prayer.” In fact, the shelter is intentionally (and legally) non-sectarian and only functions because of many partnerships. When we started out, we not only saw an inadequate space, we saw a paucity of resources. We 9

thought we could not do this, but our “we” was too limited. We prayed, we reached out and we spun out into a grand web of connections. “We” has grown to include not only Lutherans from one congregation, but Lutherans from around the city and around the country, and not only Lutherans but Christians of many other denominations and Jews and atheists and God knows who else. Unitarians provide special meals. Women’s circles in Wisconsin knit scarves and hats. Downtown drag queens hold a fundraiser to refurbish our bathrooms. Jews show up to volunteer on Christmas Eve (and we go to their shelter on Yom Kippur.) Some who have promised themselves never to enter a church again, have edged closer. A goodly number of those who have joined our church in the past six years have come and stayed because of the witness of the shelter. Some young people who stay in the shelter seek out counsel and prayer and some come to worship and participate in worship leadership. I am intentional about trying to get to

know each resident, letting them know they are welcome without indicating any pressure. A few years ago, on the Sunday when we celebrate the baptism of Jesus, Jesus with the fork tine scars was baptized. He couldn’t control the tears ahead of time. He wept because there was no mother, no father, no sibling, no partner at his side. Our church council president stood with him. I poured the water and proclaimed the words of baptism and prayed that Jesus would hear the voice his namesake heard: You are my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Even when the youth are not in worship, they are present. They are present in weekly prayers and preaching. They are present during the Christmas season as their stockings hang in the back of the church waiting to be filled. They are present during Lent when we have wrapped barbed wire around the legs of our altar. It was fake and harmless, but quite realistic in appearance. We did the same around our pulpit and baptismal font - a scandalous reminder that our holiest things have, at times, been hideously perverted.

And for those Trinity Place youth who do not find their way to worship in our sanctuary, the church is their sanctuary. One young transgender woman from Utah came in one night, sat down at the piano to play and said, “This is the only place I feel human.” Helping children of God who have been dehumanized reclaim their precious humanity is what we do. Little things count. We celebrate birthdays. As I write, during Advent, the youth are baking cookies and making ornaments with volunteers from another church. As a pastor of word and sacrament, I do not understand Trinity Place as just a social ministry. For me, it is an essential part of my proclamation of the Gospel. And it is sacramental. Upstairs we have a china baby Jesus in our nativity set. Downstairs we have living children of God filling the night with their gloriously safe snoring. While some still call it the basement or undercroft, manger seems more apt.


Holy Child within the manger,
long ago yet ever near; come as friend to every stranger,
come as hope for every fear.
 As you lived to heal the broken,
 greet the outcast, free the bound,
 as you taught us love unspoken,
 teach us now where you are found.

Heidi Neumark is the author of the book Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx (Beacon Press). She grew up in Summit, New Jersey and now lives on the Upper West Side with her husband Gregorio Orellano of Manhattan, and has two children, Ana and Hans. Rev. Neumark received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and completed her Master of Divinity at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.


3rd Tuesday Conversations are monthly gatherings of friends. They are great continuing education events. They are opportunities to hear from, and interact with experts in the field. 3TC conversations are free for Network members. Our schedule: April 16 - Mark DeVries (Avoiding Burnout) May 21 - Shannon Savage-Howie (Spiritual Direction)

Our conversations: We use online webinars. You can log in to a special webinar site and listen to the conversation while watching images on your screen. Or, you can watch on the computer while calling in and listening on your phone. You will have opportunities to ask questions as well.

Times: All 3TC conversations begin at:

2:00 p.m. Eastern, 1:00 p.m. Central

12:00 p.m. Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific

Join the conversation!

Here’s our belief: There is an amazing amount of talent, expertise and skill within our community.

open source youth ministry

And we have all developed resources for use in our congregations. Many of us are willing to share those resources that we have created. MartinsList is a place to do that. Here, we can share our work with each other...and can create a community of mutual support in our ministry. It’s open source ministry.

It’s MartinsList.



by Rode Shewaye Molla

I am Rode Shewaye Molla, from the Ethiopian evangelical church Mekane Yesus. I am a Master of Arts student at Luther Seminary in Children, Youth and Family Ministry. From Nov 2008 until August 2011, I was working in the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) as a national children’s ministry coordinator. I am married and my husband’s name is Evangelist Endriase Ahmed Assen and he serves in the Mekane Yesus Church and now is studying in Mekane Yesus Seminary and will graduate in the coming June. I also served in the same congregation as a full-time minister and children’s holistic development project director before I started working in the EECMY head office. I grew up in a Christian family and my father, a pastor, is named Shewaye Molla and my mother’s name is Meneber Lesanework. I am the oldest daughter and I have two younger brothers, both of whom were married last year. My mother and father were married while the communist government was leading in Ethiopia. The communist government persecuted evangelical Christians all over the country. My father and mother were living in the northern part of Ethiopia, where persecution was severe. They were imprisoned many times and during one of their imprisonments my mother was pregnant with me. They left my mother when she was close to giving birth to me, but my father stayed in the prison. My mother was alone during a critical time in her life. However, she gave birth to me and the day she gave birth to me my father heard the day he would be freed from the prison. When the people went and told him that my mother had given birth to a baby girl, my father named me “Rode,” from Acts chapter 12. In Acts chapter twelve, Peter was in prison and the apostles were praying for him in Mary’s house and while they were praying the angel set Peter 1

free from prison. Peter came to the house where the apostles were praying and knocked on the door and Rode was the one who heard Peter and told the others that Peter was at the door, even though they didn’t trust her. So my father called me “Rode,” because he believed that I would open the door for him when he came back from prison. The meaning in the context is like “door opener,” and my name has had an impact on my life and ministry. When we were kids, my brothers and I and other evangelical Christian children were not free to play with other children in the school and in the playground because all the children saw us as the followers of a new religion. It was typical for me and my brothers to be hit, slapped or insulted every week. Even though some of them didn’t hit us, they called us “pente mete mete”; pente means “Pentecostal” and mete means a “newcomer.” I, my brothers, and my husband all grew up in the same context and these experiences made us strong in our Christian faith in the critical times of life and to live in love and forgiveness all the time, even though we knew that people didn’t like us. Many people in the EECMY agree that persecution had a great impact on the growth of the EECMY. As with the early church, the blood of the martyrs was the seed for the growth of the EECMY. There were many people who were killed by the communist regime; the Rev. Gudina Tumas, the General Secretary for the EECMY, was one of the martyrs who were killed by the communist government. During this persecution, there were many cell and prayer groups, and after the persecution, people came to the church like a flood, especially in the western and southern parts of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus is a Lutheran church, but the name Mekane Yesus is indigenous, and comes from the Ge’ez language: mekane means “house” or “dwelling place” and Yesus means “Jesus,” meaning “the dwelling place of Jesus.” Mekane Yesus was established as a national church of Ethiopia in 1959. In the middle of the nineteenth century, different missionaries came to northern, southern, and western parts of Ethiopia. Before the EECMY was established as a national church, many congregations were established in different parts of Ethiopia by indigenous missionaries and the support of expatriate Lutheran missionaries.1 The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus is one of the fastest growing Lutheran churches in the world. The church has more than five million members and for the last seven years has grown at 7% a year; in total it increased 50% between 2001-20082. According to the EECMY’s 2009 census, the EECMY had 6,644 established congregations and 2,818 preaching places in 21 synods, one area work and one parish (Galana Abaya). There are 2,061 pastors, 2,728 evangelists and some 300,000 voluntary persons actively involved in the mission work of the church. The EECMY has 5,279,822 baptized and 2,465,637 communicant members. This growth has made the EECMY the largest Lutheran church in the world.3 There are many factors for the growth of the EECMY. As a children and youth minister in the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), I would like to mention three things as main factors for the growth of the EECMY: worship life, the structure of the church and multi-lingual ministry.

Fekadu Gurmessa , Evangelical Faith Movement Ethiopia ,Trans by Ezekiel Gebissa (Minneapolis, MN: Lutheran University Press,2009) ,13.

Hagström, Magnus. “Reasons for the growth of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) in Western Wollega, Central Synod, 2004-2009: a quantitative study.” Svensk Missionstidskrift 98, no. 2 (2010) : 157-168, accessed November 12, 2012 via ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost. 2


EECMY, “History,” last updated 31 Dec, 2009,



Worship life: The EECMY worship is attractive for children and youth, because they are part of it. The people, including children and youth in the EECMY, have a devoted spiritual life. Many people agree that the charismatic movement has had an impact on the devoted life of the people in the EECMY. People like to pray and read the bible and fast at home and as a community. All members of the EECMY are active in the church--including children and youth. Children have their own worship program and they are also part of the community worship. Youth have a great role in most EECMY congregations. Youth take part in most of the EECMY congregations’ ministries. They participate in prayer, choir, bible study, and evangelism groups. They lead worship and prayer in worship service and also preach in many congregations. Youth are not only receivers; they are givers and participants in the EECMY congregations. This participatory approach of the EECMY congregations makes youth ministry life giving. In some congregations, youth have their own worship programs on Sunday or Saturday afternoons; they use these programs to worship and to reach and evangelize others. Structure: The structure of the EECMY is participatory. I have participated in the election of the church since I was thirteen years old. Youth have a vote from the congregation to the national level of the church. In the overall EECMY structure, youth have a 25 percent representation. The structure of the EECMY ranges from the congregation to the synod to the national office. For some synods, there are parish coordination offices between the congregations and the synod because the synods can’t reach all the congregations. Youth and children’s ministry has its own coordination office at the synod and at the central office of the church. There are also youth forums and board members from the congregation to the national level of the church. There are many people who have worked hard for the success of this structure and one of the main leaders was Mr. Lalissa Daniel Gemechise, who was my immediate supervisor when I was working in the EECMY

central office. My life and ministry is a witness for the participatory approach of the EECMY structure. Before I started working at the national level of the church, I was serving in the congregation as youth committee member and then elected to be the youth forum leader in my synod (North central Ethiopia Synod). I attended the national youth forum held in May of 2006 as a representative of my synod’s youth forum. In the forum, I was elected to be the national youth forum member. The youth forum was upgraded to the national children and youth ministry board and me and others who were in the youth forum automatically became EECMY children and youth ministry board members. From the board of children and youth, I attended the executive board of the EECMY, representing all youth and children in the church. My participation in youth ministry at the congregational level had an impact on the youth and children’s ministry all over the EECMY. While I was serving on the board, I was attracted by the mission of the office and Mr. Lalissa Daniel, who was working at the national office, encouraged me to start working in the EECMY head office as children’s ministry coordinator. The open system of the church allows all youth to participate and feel part of the church all the time. It has an impact for the life and the ministry of all youth in the EECMY because we believe and claim that the EECMY is ours. God uses the structure of the church to encourage the youth for the mission and the ministry of his kingdom. Multi-lingual: There are more than 80 ethnicities in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus ministers and reaches more than 20 tribes in their own language. There are different bible translation programs to translate the bible into different languages. Using one’s mother tongue has been supportive for evangelism and also for children and youth ministry. Because children don’t speak other languages until they study another language in the schools, worshiping in one’s mother tongue has a great role for strong children and youth ministry and the growth the EECMY.


The strong family life and open, loving and caring pastors, volunteer ministers and female ministers in the congregations are the main thing for the strength for youth and children ministry in the EECMY. After I came to study at Luther Seminary, I have learned a lot from my professors and the Luther Seminary community, my contextual learning place, Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, led by Pastor Gary Drier, and the diverse community there. When I was serving in the EECMY, I was working with different tribes from the same country, but serving at Christ Lutheran has broadened my experience to serve and minister with people from the diverse continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and America right in the capitol city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. As I look forward, I have a vision for my church and my country to work for a better life for children and youth in Ethiopia and for the growth and the development of God’s kingdom. If you need further explanation about the EECMY’s youth ministry, you can communicate through Rev. Tim Coltvet, my contextual learning professor or email me at

Rode Molla, Master’s of Arts student at Luther Seminary, graduated from Mekane Yesus Seminary, Ethiopia in 2005 with a Bachelor of Theology Degree. In Ethiopia, she served in the Mekane Yesus Central office as Children’s Ministry Coordinator. She is married to Evanglist Endriase Ahmed, who also serves in ministry in the Mekane Yesus Church in Ethiopia.

WORSHIP AMONG YOUNG ADULTS Lutherans understand worship as a deep encounter with God who loves, saves, frees, calls, challenges, and equips us. We gather weekly to be reminded of God’s work in the world, to listen and respond to God’s word, to feast at the table of forgiveness, and to share prayers for those in want and need.

they relate. Joining online Bible study groups, following blogs and responding to its commentary, FaceTime conversations with fellow Christians, and making music with others are just some of the influential faith communities that feed their soul in addition to a church worship community.

While these common elements ground us in our gatherings, how we worship is as varied as the seasons of the year or the covers on our smartphones.

Relinquish the idea that one community can support all that is needed to nurture their adult faith. Celebrate that you are one of the places that can foster their growth. Be clear about what it is that you do and do it to the glory of God.

Over the past twelve years we have had the delight of worshipping weekly alongside the young adult tribe between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four. Here are some of the things we have noticed and learned among the young adult population at California Lutheran University.

HIGH EXPECTATION FOR AUTHENTICITY Young adults expect that the preaching and prayers deal with current issues of faith intersecting culture, relationships, and core values. Anything that comes off canned or preformatted is held in suspicion. Yet ancient liturgies speak deeply among this cohort. Using both contextual and classic styles communicates across the young adult bandwidth.

HIGH DEGREE OF NEED FOR IMMEDIATE TACTILE EVIDENCE It is one thing to pray and preach about the damaging effects of Malaria or the eighteen combat veterans who commit suicide each day. It is quite another matter to respond to these concerns in a tactile fashion and do so quickly. Hosting a Malaria awareness film which leads into a campaign to give money for Malaria nets or developing a veteran’s support group, these are essential tools making worship tactile. Leaving worship to meet with veterans or conducting an “change for change” collection makes worship immediate.

WORSHIP AMONG MULTIPLE COMMUNITIES Many young adults have more than one worshipping or faith community to which

Stretch your notion of what it means to be a “regular attendee”. Help them to be fully present in your community when they are with you and find ways to link to them when they are not. Could you add to your worship regime a reflective blog or live stream devotion? Gather at a local coffee shop or take a morning bike ride with their club. Find them and go to them in as many ways as you can. Participate in their culture and don’t expect them to always come to you.

HOST WITH VARIETY Worship is one of the ways communities of faith gather yet it is not the only one. Ask them to watch Modern Family, Season 3, episode 10 called “Express Christmas”. Host a pre-Christmas event where young adults are asked to bring a sample of their family’s traditional holiday appetizers. Gather with them around food and let the conversation about their families at Christmastime take center stage. Bridge this into a discussion about the wise sages who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, myrrh to the infant Jesus. Wonder together about the value of giving and receiving in this time when story, tastes, and community come together.

INVITE COMMENTARY Ask young adults within your community and beyond to comment on-line about a current topic, subject, or issue. The invitation to intentional dialogue validates their current experience, honors their intellect, and challenges them to articulate their convictions.


by Scott and Melissa Maxwell-Doherty

Remember that worshipping communities are “present time” so the stuff of their daily life is a dynamic part of their worship life.

CONNECT THE DOTS Include young adults in planning worship experiences that delve deeply into the scripture themes of the day. We have discovered delightful energy in teaming with them to craft what we call “station worship”. Worshippers are invited to move to various places in the sanctuary to respond to a prompt---to watch a video clip and write responses to it on a graffiti wall, to journey up the stairway slowly following prayer prompts along the way, gathering around a lit candle surrounded by rocks painted with a single word (despair, anger, resentment) and praying about those things until they are ready to turn the rocks over revealing new words (compassion, reconciliation, joy). One night they wrote prayer requests or words of confession with neon markers onto a hanging paper banner. Their words were not revealed until a black light was focused on the paper and became the basis of the prayers of the gathered community. When we craft worship together, we honor their experiences and invite them to connect the dots between the faith they know and the scripture they read. Finally, this deep encounter with God challenges us to be wonderfully creative, intentionally collaborative, and not at all static. This is, after all, the churches’ liturgy – the work of the people.

Scott and Melissa Maxwell-Doherty have served as Campus Pastors at California Lutheran University for 13 years. They love to cook, with garlic, onions, and cilantro being among the favorite aromas.They have two adult children who still like to vacation with Mom and Dad. Melissa loves any and all of the 007 movies and Scott loves home improvement television shows except the ones that begin by throwing a hammer thru a window to start the project.


66 IDEAS FOR ENGAGING CHILDREN IN WORSHIP by Dawn Rundman - Developed with the Children in Worship Team at Concordia University

1 Purchase booster seats or provide cushions for your youngest

20 Use a child’s name when you greet him or her.

members so they can see more of the action during worship. (Remember—families wouldn’t return to a restaurant a second time if it didn’t offer high chairs or booster seats.)

21 Post children’s pictures on their baptismal birthdays. 22 Invite children during worship and in the bulletin to receive a

2 Reserve front pews for families with young children.

blessing during communion.

3 Include banners with symbols and pictures in the sanctuary.

23 Invite children to surround the baptismal font during a baptism.

4 Use the specific names for objects in the church - altar, pew, aisle,

24 Ask children to submit prayer requests.

font, etc.

25 Invite children to place a non-monetary offering in the offering

5 Let families with young children know where the nursery is, but

plate that tells how they will offer their time and abilities.

don’t assume they’ll want or need to use it.

26 Invite children to give a non-monetary offering like gently-used

6 Provide a rocking chair for nursing mothers and others who need

clothes or toys.

to feed/soothe infants.

27 Welcome all children during worship by asking them to raise

7 Invite families with young children to visit the altar after worship

to smell the candle smoke and the altar flowers.

28 Include something relevant to children during the “grown up”

8 Include an invitation in the bulletin for families with young children


to sit in the front pews. (It may take just a few brave families to get this started.)

29 Include a physical object, action, or song during the children’s message.

9 Hang a picture of Jesus at a young child’s eye level.

30 Ask the pastor to explain a part of the liturgy, hymn, or special

10 Appeal to children’s sense of touch by including textures they can

custom each Sunday; reinforce with bulletin inserts.

feel - a touchable statue or a textured cross.

31 Include children in choir, bell choir, skits, or recitations.

11 If you have a balcony, worship there one Sunday and pay special

32 Observe Lutheran Schools Week, Week of the Young Child, or a

attention to where families with young children sit and what they do during worship.

Young Child Sunday with special songs, prayers, presentations, etc.

12 Shake hands with or hug a child during the Sharing of the Peace.

33 Offer large print hymnals and bulletins for children in your congregation who are new readers.

13 Encourage members to learn the names of the children in

their hands.

34 Rethink the contents of activity bags - do they help kids tune in or

your congregation.

tune out?

14 Say a prayer for the parents of a wiggly child. Encourage others to

35 Develop guidelines for worshiping with young children, create

do the same.

laminated cards with these guidelines, and then place these cards in every pew.

15 Encourage worship planners to involve children in many ways acolytes, processional members, readers, choir members, soloists.

36 Use children’s drawings as bulletin covers.

16 Encourage children to make the sign of the cross to remember

37 Provide photos of your church for children to look at during the

their baptisms.


17 Include children in the prayers of the church.

38 Include words to listen for in the bulletin or children’s bulletin.

18 If a child has a biblical name that is mentioned during worship, tell

39 Encourage children to draw pictures of what they heard about in

the child, “I heard your name today!”

church, and then post their art in the narthex.

19 Celebrate baptismal birthdays by sending a card or noting them in the bulletin or newsletter.


40 Create age-appropriate activity bags (readers versus nonreaders

54 Include next week’s readings and themes in the bulletin.

is a start).

41 Include suggestions for family worship in the bulletin inserts.

55 If a child has a biblical name, talk about its meaning.

42 Have confirmands create stoles or banners to keep as a remem-

56 Emphasize that sound and movement in children are okay! Children are present members and future leaders in the church.

brance after the confirmation service.

57 Emphasize children’s importance and involvement during new

43 Provide opportunities for children to make banners that will be

member classes.

hung in church.

58 Help parents teach their children the parts of the liturgy.

44 In the activity bag, provide a flannel board that contains story

items from the church season, a current lesson, or other relevant topic.

59 Form a committee for children’s worship issues, or ask the

45 When children are baptized, provide a baptismal candle for the family to light each year on baptismal birthdays.

60 Create a special photo album that contains photos of each child

46 Create a baptismal banner every year, adding the name and

Christian Education committee or Worship Planning committee to address issues of children in worship.

who is a member.

baptismal date of each child as baptisms occur.

61 Ask children and their families to wear seasonal colors - blue for

47 Invite families with young children to church on a Saturday morn-

the Sundays in Advent, red on the Day of Pentecost, etc.

ing to teach them about the objects and symbols in the sanctuary.

62 Provide nametags for children, and let them decorate them.

48 In the bulletin, include a brief description of one part of the wor-

63 Ask families to be greeters so children can greet people

ship environment each week.

49 Teach children how to cross themselves when the pastor says “In

attending worship.

64 Let children distribute something to every person at the end of the

the name of the Father...”

children’s message.

50 Create a handout that describes the symbols and pictures in the

65 Point out when a Bible story matches up with stained glass and

sanctuary, and provide it for new and current members.

other images in the church.

51 Ask children why they think their family goes to worship.

66 Smile at children!

52 Sing a well-known kids’ song during the time children gather for their message.

53 Use a Hymn of the Month to increase predictability, and teach it

in Sunday school, day school, meetings, and other events each month.



RADICAL, INDIGENOUS WORSHIP–CAMP STYLE by Randal Gullickson One day, when I was in seminary, we had a guest teacher who asked us to list first, what people in love do together, and then what people in worship do together. After we had our lists, he asked us to compare the columns and use lines to connect the similar actions: Invitation with invocation. Kiss goodnight with benediction. Kiss and make-up with confession and absolution. Flowers with offering. Affirm their relationship with the creed. Making babies with baptism. Compliments with hymns of praise. Sharing their good news with hearing the Gospel. He did this with the intention of offering us a tool that we might use in pre-marital counseling to help couples to realize the sacred nature of a loving relationship. Over the years I have used it in reverse, as a way of understanding the lovingly relational nature of the liturgy. A “date” with God is an easy image to understand. We invite, greet, kiss and makeup, praise, revisit the stories of our past, consider the meaning and movement of our life together, affirm our relationship, bless one another, give our gifts, eat a meal, share a goodnight kiss... all of which is interspersed with bits of prayerful conversation and music. Liturgy is the “work of the people.” The work of God’s people is to be the Body of Christ in the world; loving one another as Jesus did – sharing the things of life where there is death. As we feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, we love and “give life” to God, unknowingly. Love, understood as giving life, is what Christ commands. Worship, understood as a date with God, offers a paradigm for liturgy in intent, content and form. The fun thing about dates is that they can be wildly creative! There’s the gala anniversary date, the “jeans and pearls” date, the costume party date, the pizza and a movie date, the concert date, the surprise date and the list goes on and on. Not all dates are big – a pizza and a movie date is not a 50th wedding

anniversary date and doesn’t need to rise to the same level of formality. There is a date minimum, however. In our camp setting, a date needs to have at least five elements. Invocation, prayer, scripture, a means of clearly tying the Word to life, and a benediction. Music that reinforces the message is almost always added. What does this mean? The word, radical has to do with “growing from a root,” or “from the origin,” but may carry the notion of a “departure from the traditional,” as well. “Indigenous” is about a contextual connection to a place and a time. Worship that proceeds from this philosophy is worship that is rooted in the origin of God’s loving relationship with us, but which is also grounded in the place and time of the gathered community. One way to do it is to ask the community to “plan a date with God,” generating the list of elements for the date and then asking for volunteers to take responsibility for each element of the experience. Three rules are imposed when we do this in the camp setting: No one may use a book of worship except for songs. Anyone may ask others for help and the only acceptable answer is an enthusiastic, “Sure , I’d love too!” Lastly, everyone is encouraged to make their component tactile, using the resources of the place. In this process, we are connecting with the root of our faith, life and liturgy, and with the immediate place and time. The result is that we often move, perhaps visiting the cross on the hill, the pond, the cave in the woods, a stream bank, a dock, a campfire circle, a big oak, a spring, or a crossroads. We might use incense, candles and bells, but we are more likely to write our sins on leaves and burn them, make crosses of sticks and yarn, manipulate clay, draw red hearts on tiny stones, write prayers on strips of cloth, splash one another with water as we remember our


baptisms, trace a cross on our palms with concrete nails, share our common grief and our favorite bible verses, celebrate the Eucharist as a picnic, and lay on holy ground to look at the sky through lacy branches. Yes, that is a lot of work, orchestration and logistics. We don’t have time for that every day. A simpler way is for leaders to assume the “date” mindset and plan a date for the faith community. The elements of that date are drawn from the community itself, as we notice what people are up to; what questions are surfacing; what issues are raised. The rules of tactility and creativity apply. The setting, the place, is consulted; how does this place speak the Word in this context? This frame on the liturgy and these principles that make worship engaging for youth and adults in the camp and retreat setting, also work in the parish setting. We should not forget the drama, pageantry, theatricality, banners, processions, sights, sounds, smells, acoustics, and architecture of the places – the cathedrals of Europe that created and contained our liturgy in the first place. All of that was designed to make the message come to life in the Body of Christ. We can do it, too.

Randal Gullickson has served as the executive director of Lutherlyn, a camp, retreat and environmental education center of the ELCA since 1985. He and his wife, Tracy, have two grown children and live near Butler, Pennsylvania.

YOU CALL THAT WORSHIP? A FACEBOOK CONVERSATION - NETWORK MEMBERS Q: How are you integrating young people fully into the worshiping community and moving beyond a youth Sunday approach? Ariel Williams Our youth sign up along with the rest of our members on time and talent sheets. They usher, read, assist with communion, are worship assistants as well as acolytes, torch bearers, and crucifers. Several are in our handbell and vocal choirs. We are starting to encourage parents of school age children to have their children serve with them when they are worship leaders as well. Becky Maser In addition to several of the ideas shared above, I try to have youth share some special gifts. For example, they did special candle-lighting monologue during Advent and will represent the 3 Kings and the bright star that led them for this Epiphany Sunday. These sharings provide teaching moments and friendly reminders of the meaning of these seasons. Casey Cross Our youth are involved in the sound and light team, cantor, musicians, regular service as acolytes/crucifer, and ushers. RevPriscilla Austin Small congregation setting so we are able to have youth assist as readers, ushers, Altar guild, media, communion servers, special offerings of music and more. Children’s time during the service will periodically serve as a time to teach the little ones about each of these roles. Becky Maser I often do the children’s sermon. I end with one of the children reading a closing prayer. Initially it was like pulling teeth. Now, they jump and waive their arms to be chosen to read the prayer. Even if they can’t read, I’ll say the words and they repeat them into the microphone. Geoff Sinibaldo We do a youth skit in worship about once a month - not always, but usually acting out one of the readings.

Geoff Sinibaldo When we started doing the skits I tended to direct them - since we’ve been doing them a few years now - it’s collaborative - they come up with a lot of the ideas. It’s been a cool way to discuss and think through scripture out loud when you are preparing to share it visually with others. Geoff Sinibaldo I wish we did it more - but you know how schedules go - we have been taking about starting puppets with younger ones in a similar way. Geoff Sinibaldo Just FYi - avg worship size about 85. 1/2 time music dir, 3/4time office, full time pastor (me), are the only paid staff. Ray J Gentry IV Usher, Acolyting, Communion during our traditional service regularly. They could read if they wanted but rarely do. Additionally, at our contemporary service HS youth serve in the praise band singing and playing instruments. We have a children’s sermon for the younger kids every week. Molly Haggerty-Brewster I am able to write dramas for multi-generational participants. Today we did an Epiphany Drama called the Wise Guys. ages ranged from 11 to 72 years old. They all helped me write it too! We also do our summer events as a whole church. Elayne Stoen Werges We do milestone ministry where we recognize life events cross generationally. For example, when we bless backpacks we also bless teachers, bus drivers, and lunch ladies. Or when we bless grandparents we have the kids bless their grandparents. Tara L Ulrich We do 17 faith milestones in a year! Each milestone has a blessing during worship! During the blessing we have the entire community of faith to stand and place


their hand on their neighbors shoulder connecting back to the altar where those who celebrated their milestone that day are standing! It shows everyone that we are all connected! Linda Brandvold McPeak We are lifting up “youth-led” worship, in forms that include scripture being re-told through the youth puppet ministry, drama and skits. We have youth standing up as song leaders for the congregation, but also leading the younger grades in singing songs. ... Don Marsh We do everything we can to encourage young people to be involved and connected. Lately, this has been focused on inviting young people to participate in congregational service projects....signing up just like any other adult would...

JOIN THE FACEBOOK CONVERSATIONS! For ELCA Youth Ministry Network: groups/2310375886/ For ELCA Clergy Conversation: groups/elcaclergy/


YOU CALL THAT WORSHIP? A FACEBOOK CONVERSATION - ELCA CLERGY Q: How are you integrating young people fully into the worshiping community and moving beyond a youth Sunday approach? Brad Dokken I posted a file mid-November as to what we are doing in detail, but in summary we are incorporating them as ushers, greeters, readers, communion servers - they exist on the same list as 85 yr old Bertha and 47 yr old John.

Kris Totzke Youth are regularly part of the rotation for ushers, children’s sermons, greeters and a/v. Some kids also usher with their parents. In addition, the Sunday School has monthly Sundays when different age groups are ushers and greeters.

Clint Schnekloth We simply integrate youth into worship leadership at all levels. We have a ten-year old drummer in our praise band. One of the singers is in high school. We regularly have musical offerings from our youth, solos and ensembles.

R. Kevin Murphy Our teens participate in worship in the usual ways: ushers, lectors, serving at our prayer stations (during Communion and after worship), Communion assistants, praise band and ensembles, drama and occasionally sharing testimonies as part of the sermon....

Kris Totzke Clint, I always try to have something in my sermon that will stick for every age. I think it’s the former elementary teacher in me, but I figure if I can engage the kids too, the adults will catch it as well. And I have frequently had comments from parents that their kids have talked with them about my sermon later. So I must hit it at least once in a while.

Anne Rukakoski Roser we have teenagers who are musicians each week and singers in the adult addition to traditional roles such as acolytes, etc.

Donna M. Wright I always have a youth/young adult serve on the transition team and give them significant responsibilities. And am alert to their gifts and encourage them to use them.

Emmy Kegler Our children and youth serve as greeters, ushers, readers, singers in the worship band, offertory musicians, and communion assistants. The younger kids (age 10 and down) almost always form a dance circle during our final song. Chris Gaule All of our worship roles are rotated among households, so youth serve along with their families as readers, greeters, ushers, communion assistants, fellowship servers, etc. We have a youth band that leads music once each month.

Tim Housholder Our high school youth band leads a weekly worship service at 11:30am, the confirmation kids serve at this service weekly as ushers, greeters, readers, etc. In our other three weekend services, youth are encouraged to participate in any of our volunteer/music opportunities.

Dave Daubert At Zion, we simply have them participate like everyone else. A few years ago we ditched the confirmation students as acolytes and had them simply participate in some role on Sundays - but it could be anything they were capable of. Sue Seiffert I have youth participate in whatever way they want at whatever age they want. In confirmation classes, I encourage them to try doing something a little different, a little outside their particular comfort zone. Scott Alan Johnson We’re working on it. Currently a good portion of our young folks participate with their families: ushering, etc. I am considering ditching “acolytes” and assigning those tasks to ushers as well. We have a rotation of assisting ministers and lectors... Mark Parker I worked to shift a larger suburban church in this way by moving away from ‘youth Sunday’ and having every Confirmation graduate (25 that year) sign up to serve as worship leaders in all the same roles as other members of the church. Cathy Mims Our children and our youth participate in the worship life of our congregation at every level. Ushers, communions assistants, lectors (even as young as 2nd grade-they have lots of help and practice, and they have always done a great job)

Mark Huber So I read that question and immediately thought more in terms of engagement rather than roles or jobs. It’s a pretty hard question we’ve been kicking around for a while, especially now that we’re stating a new worship time to try and do this more effectively... Anne Rukakoski Roser we’ve also invited youth to write devotions in our congregation’s Lenten devotional booklet... Justin Grimm Well same as in the integration piece. Our children and youth actively help with the leadership of worship at all levels. 19

Clint Schnekloth It would be interesting to know how people intentionally prepare their sermons in ways they think engage (or don’t) youth.

Keith Andrew Spencer CROSS+Generational Worship creates truly a cross+generational community. All ages participate in serving communion, assiting in the leadership of the service, the dramas, puppet shows, creative art responses, the sharing during Faith Five time Chuck Meyer After confirmation we treat youth like adults in that they are allowed to volunteer to help serve communion, read lessons during Sunday worship, be a trustee (be in charge of the building maintenance and money), or help in any other way. Karen Sease I grew up in a congregation that asked me to sing the kyrie at age 7, write and lead one or two petitions in the prayers of the church by 3rd grade, and sing solos and with the children’s choir throughout elementary school.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! THRIVENT CHOICE The Network is grateful to its individual donors and organizational partners for supporting its mission and vision for the future. The Network is funded in 3 ways: Extravaganza fees cover approximately 2/3 of the cost of the event. The remaining 1/3 is covered by organizational and partnership gifts.

Thrivent Members Can Now Choose


The Network! The ELCA Youth Ministry Network is now a recipient of Thrivent Choice dollars! Folks


who have access to these dollars can go to


Funding for developing our future vision comes from financial gifts from individuals, and organizations.


operating expenses


Network operational costs are covered by membership dues.



Connect Journal • Staff • Publicity • Etc...


These individuals have made a special gift during the current fiscal year to help further the mission of the Network. We are grateful for their support! Rachel Alley Nate Althoff Jeff “Spanky” Amlotte Catherine Anderson Andrew Arnold Kristen Baltrum Sarah Bane Molly Beck Dean Don Behrendt Mark Behrendt Arne Bergland Kris Bjorke Ramona Bouzard Lois Brown Eric Carlson Melissa Chaddick Debbie Clipson Timothy Coltvet Heidi Cryer Carole De Jardin David M Deeds Susan Detwiler Jeffrey Engroff Patty Erickson Margie Fiedler Liz Fisher Shannon Fleischfresser Ryan Fletcher Ray Gentry Desta Goehner Regina Goodrich Joshua Graber

Shannon Greely Deborah Grupe Julie Hagen Heidi Hagstrom Peggy Hahn Barbara Harner Ian Hartfield Emily Henselmeier Jim Holthus Mary Houck David Hunstad Kathy Hunstad Kate Huron Chelle Huth Tony Kerlavage Lisa Kramme Kim Krummel Leann Kruse-Arcia Shirley J Lee Lynn Leisen Martha Maier Tyler Malotky Matthew March Don Marsh Cary Mathis Karla May Tiger McLuen Julie Miller Susan Miller Sarah Moening Rick Mollenkopf-Grill Andy (Mo) Moscinski

Pat Netko Julie Schuessler Peralta Rose Prasad Rachael Puttbrese Linda Rambow Jason Reed Paul Rohde Greg Ronning Nikki Rud Katie Russell Marilyn Sharpe David Shoub Geoff Sinibaldo Beth Smallbeck Brenda Smith Dean Smith Jonathan Steiner Jacob Thogmartin Mary Toufar Kathleen Ulland-Klinkner Katie VanBeek Larry Wagner Kelli Weiss Hans Wiersma Lindsay Williams Jonathan Wills Colleen Windham-Hughes Beth Wolslegel Amy Woods Tammie Zarfos Stephanie Zinn

the Thrivent choice page and designate the Network as the recipient of your dollars! It’s a great way to support the Network! To make a donation, please go to: . Log in, and from there you can search for the ELCA Youth Ministry Network in the listing of approved organizations, and make your designation! Thank you to all who have chosen the Network for your donations so far!

These organizations have taken the extra step to become Network partners this year to provide support for the Network. We are grateful for their support!

Gold Partners: ELCA Youth Gathering iGivings Luther Seminary Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Silver Partners: Augsburg Fortress Publishing Lutheran Educational Conference of North America Lutheridge+Lutherock Ministries ELCA Mission Investment Fund 20

Wartburg Theological Seminary Youth Encounter Youth Leadership, Inc. Mike Ward Stewardship


A VIEW FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE Q: You Call That Worship? A: You Call That Doctrine? So, as you may or may not know, I grew up Lutheran, switched to the Episcopal Church, and then got ordained some years later. As an Episcopal priest, I duly confess before you, my brothers and sisters, before the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, that I am in fact a liturgy snob. Dennis Michno is my bedside reading, and dropping his name like that with no explanation just proves the point. Reus liturgicis arrogantiam. At the same time, having grown up Lutheran, I understand the corresponding theology snob. That is, I know that some people cannot help reflexively scoffing at poorly thought-through truth claims about God and the work of Christ on our behalf. Sermons anchored by folksy stories from the internet, or culminating in harsh judgements with no gospel leave them shaking their heads in sadness. Perhaps you’ll find this helpful as an over-simplified explanation of the difference between an Episcopal and a Lutheran understanding of things . . . Lutherans are bound together through common doctrine . . . A “confessional church” is one that shares a common confession. (Duh, right?) Episcopalians are bound together through common worship . . . The Book of Common Prayer is a book of “common prayer.” (Also duh, right?) At the risk of over-simplifying my oversimplification, one might put it like this: In the Lutheran Church, you can worship any way

you choose, but you must believe these basic things. In the Episcopal Church, you can believe anything you want, but you must worship using this little red cookbook. Lutherans are bound together by belief; Episcopalians are bound together by worship. And, as you might’ve guessed by now, this leads many Episcopalians to wonder aloud, “You call that worship?” And it leads many Lutherans to shake their heads and say, “You call that doctrine?” In practice, it allows Lutherans to tolerate things like omitting the sursum corda, putting the dismissal before the closing hymn, and wearing toga-length albs. And it leads Episcopalians to tolerate things like bad sermons, a profusion of labyrinths, and John Shelby Spong. The question, “You call that worship?” could be followed by “You call that doctrine?” which could be followed by “You call that music?” and “You call that a Bible Study?” and “You call that systematics?” etc. etc. Which, of course, leads to my simple little point here: We all have things we cherish. Things that we think are non-negotiable. Things that we’re certain are so obviously the most important thing in God’s mind, and that’s why we’re so passionate about them. And not just that a right relationship with God is in the balance, but the future of the Church itself. If the Episcopal Church suddenly decided that common worship were just a local preference, the glue would be gone. If Lutherans abandoned a common confession, there’d be


by George Baum

nothing to gather around except pot-lucks and coffee. For others the slippery slope is the King James Version (in its original inerrant form), or the Evangelicals’ Great Commission, or The Calvinists’ TULIP. We all have our pathways to God, and ironically we all run the risk of putting those pathways before God. So, yeah, I’m a guy who might ask, “You call that worship?” Just as you might ask, “You call that doctrine?” And when it comes down to it, the appropriate answer is “yep.”

George Baum is one half of the band Lost And Found (, and is also a supply priest in the Episcopal Church, the father of two, and the husband of one.


End Date



Contact Person

Web Site

Targeted to:

3/19/13 1:00 PM

3/19/13 1:30 PM

3rdTuesday Conversation


Dannica Montplaisir

Adult Professionals

3/22/13 10:00 AM

3/22/13 11:30 AM Webinar: The Mission Trip as Global Tourism

online with Dr. Andy Root

Center for First Third at Luther Seminary

Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals

3/28/13 9:30 AM

3/28/13 12:00 AM What is Faith Formation in Missional Age?

South Central Synod Office

Brenda Goble

4/7/13 3:00 PM

4/7/13 4:00 PM

Practice Discipleship Webinar: Going Public

Online Webinar

Catherine Anderson

Adult Professionals, Parents

4/12/13 8:00 PM

4/13/13 3:00 PM

Middle school youth gathering

Telemark Lodge, Cable WI

Carole De Jardin ( milddle School youth gathering)

Jr High Youth, Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals, Parents

4/16/13 1:00 PM

4/16/13 1:30 PM

3rdTuesday Conversation


Dannica Montplaisir

Adult Professionals

4/27/13 8:00 AM

4/27/13 11:00 AM YM103

Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Vienna, VA

Barbara Harner

Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals, Parents

4/28/13 12:00 PM

4/28/13 1:00 PM

Practice Discipleship Training

Newberry College - Wiles Chapel

Rev. Tommy Lineberger

Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals, Parents

5/4/13 2:00 PM

5/4/13 4:00 PM

Faith Formation in a Missional Age

Fellowship Lutheran Church

Annette Kezbers

Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals, Parents

5/6/13 9:00 AM

5/6/13 2:00 PM

Youth workers network

Bethany Lutheran Rice Lake WI

Carole De Jardin ( events )

Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals, Parents

5/21/13 1:00 PM

5/21/13 1:30 PM

3rdTuesday Conversation


Dannica Montplaisir

Adult Professionals

6/22/13 9:00 AM

6/28/13 9:00 PM

Nebraska Synod Youth Mission Trip

Dallas/Ft. Worth

Lisa Kramme

Sr High Youth, Adult Volunteers

10/19/13 6:00 PM

10/21/13 11:00 AM


North East, MD

Ed Kay

Jr High Youth

10/31/13 3:00 PM

11/3/13 12:00 PM ELCA Youth Leadership Event

Camp Carol Joy Holling (Askland, NE)

Ed Kay

11/22/13 6:00 PM

11/24/13 12:00 PM

Lutheran Youth of Nebraska (LYON) Assembly

Holiday Inn & Convention Center-Kearney

Lisa Kramme

Sr High Youth, Adult Volunteers

11/22/13 6:00 PM

11/24/13 12:00 PM

Lutheran Youth of Nebraska (LYON) Assembly West

Sullivan Hills Camp-Near Lodgepole

Lisa Kramme

Sr High Youth, Adult Volunteers

1/18/14 10:00 AM

1/19/14 4:00 PM

Nebraska Synod Middle School Gathering

Bethany Lutheran ChurchElkhorn

Lisa Kramme

Jr High Youth, Adult Volunteers

1/25/14 6:00 PM

1/27/14 11:00 AM RoadTrip

Ocean City, MD

Ed Kay

Sr High Youth

1/30/14 1:00 PM

1/31/14 3:00 PM

Extravaganza 2014 Intensive Care Courses

Hyatt Regency; St. Louis, Missouri


Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals

1/31/14 7:00 PM

2/3/14 12:00 PM

Extravaganza 2014

Hyatt Regency; St. Louis, Missouri


Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals

1/29/15 12:00 PM

1/30/15 3:00 PM

Extravaganza 2015 Intensive Care Courses

Marriott, Detroit, Michigan


Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals

1/30/15 6:00 PM

2/2/15 11:00 AM

Extravaganza 2015

Marriott, Detroit, Michigan


Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals

7/15/15 6:00 PM

7/19/15 11:00 AM ELCA Youth Gathering

Detroit, Michigan

ELCA Gathering Office

Sr High Youth, Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals


Adult Volunteers, Adult Professionals, Parents

Sr High Youth


There’s a NETWORK APP for that...

Streaming Video • 3rdTuesday Conversations • Extravaganza Keynote Talks • Practice Discipleship Webinars & Video Network News Prayer Wall Event and Training Calendar The Network Blog Social Media Links Media Galleries Connect with the Network Local Network Finder (coming in March) Download for FREE at the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace by searching for “ELCA Youth Ministry Network”

frame January 30 - February 3, 2014 Intensive Care Courses: January 30 - 31 Main Event: January 31 - February 3 Hyatt Regency at the Arch St. Louis , Missouri 23


ELCA Youth Ministry Network 11821 98th Pl. N., Maple Grove, Mn 55369


Connect Journal - "You Call That Worship?"  
Connect Journal - "You Call That Worship?"  

The journal of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network