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WINTER 2014 Winter 2014 • $8.95

Journal of Children, Youth & Family Ministry











Master of Divinity Julie Hagen Wilson, ’07, lower right, with a group of youth during her first call at Advent Lutheran Church in New York City. Wilson is now called to Lord of Life in Maple Grove, Minn.

Master of arts

Get your Cyf at Ls! Earn a degree in Children, Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary! There’s never been a better time to earn a degree focused on children, youth and family ministry. A recent curriculum revision at Luther Seminary responds to the needs of an ever-changing church and world. You’ll learn in face-to-face classes, online, during individualized discovery and in active ministries. Luther Seminary’s mission is to educate leaders for Christian communities. As one of those leaders, you’ll get an education that is gospel-centered, flexible, integrated, service-focused and more affordable. We invite you to visit with any of our Luther Seminary staff or faculty at the Extravaganza. Or visit us online at We’d love to talk with you about your ministry goals! Online learning options available!



PUBLICATION INFORMATION Published by: ELCA Youth Ministry Network

CONTENTS Welcome! Todd Buegler


The Church In/Is The Public Sphere Cheryl M. Peterson


A Church for the World Jeremy Myers


Calendar of Events 10

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

Public Church: What Youth See Josh Graber


Seven Ways that Hands-On Service Builds Connections and Confidence for Young People Jennifer Clark Tinker


Interviews with Children, Youth & Family Workers


Book Review 20 Clint Schnekloth

Contributing Writers: George Baum, Cindy Blobaum, Heidi Smith Ferris, Kjell Ferris, Colin Grangaard, Elizabeth Lucht, Dawn Rundman, Clint Schnekloth

A View from Somewhere Else 23 George Baum

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 Design ©2014 Michael Sladek

How Do We Teach Stewardship? (Spring ‘14) The Link Between Youth Ministry and College (Fall ‘14) Story (Winter ‘15)


Tom Schwolert: Board Member

Sue Megrund: Board Member

Valerie Taylor Samuel: Board Member

Rev. Ben Morris: Board Member

Erik Ullestad: Board Chairperson

Dr. Jeremy Myers, AIM: Board Member

Rev. Todd Buegler: Executive Director

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



Dear friends, Normally, when the editorial team for this journal does its monthly online meetings, we begin with a short prayer, and then delve into the upcoming issue status, and then work through theme and content for upcoming issues. It can be a pretty wide ranging and quick moving 60 minutes, as we have to cover a lot of territory.

Congratulations to Peggy Hahn, Assistant to the Bishop in the Texas, Louisiana, Gulf Coast Synod, for being awarded the Tom Hunstad Award for Excellence in Youth and Family Ministry at Extravaganza 2014 in St. Louis! Thanks for your years of faithful service, Peggy!

Until this issue. For this issue, the editorial team got stuck. We spent almost one entire meeting, as well as the portions of two more, on the theme title. Yes, we got stuck on the name. We wanted to talk about the “public church.” We were interested in how congregations project themselves into their communities. How we have a presence in the public setting, outside of our congregational walls. The titles started out with: “The Church in the Public Sphere” “The Church IS the Public Sphere” “Public Church” “The Church in the World” “The Church of the World” “The Church Through the World”

“The Church Is the World” “The Church And the World” “The Church Against the World” “Where in the World is the Church?” “Engage the World” “Engage”

Well, you get the point. The editorial team really struggled with the title. But the more we struggled with the title, the more apparent it became that we were actually struggling with the concept of what it is to be a “public church.” Our people are so programmed to think of “church” as what happens within our buildings that we have a hard time thinking about how the church has a presence outside of our buildings…in our schools…our neighborhoods…our communities... Those who are a part of our worshiping communities live the other 167 hours outside of our church buildings (plus or minus a few hours). And they are the church. So by default, our church IS a public church. And in a world that seems to have a growing disinterest in institutions, how do we re-frame the church, so that people understand that it’s not something they “go to” but rather is a lifestyle and a vocation that they live? The church, in its fullness, should not be an institution, it should be a lifestyle. How do we talk about that? How do we help our young people understand that when they are walking around the hallways of their elementary, middle or high schools, that they are the church? Their parents in their cubicles? They’re the church. In the gym for a game? They’re the church too. So how do we talk about the 167 other hours in the lives of our people? Blessings,

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


A new and updated version of the Network app, with a smoother interface and simplified log in process will be released this spring! If you don’t have the current app (which is still very cool!) you can download it at And watch for the update!

The Network has launched a new podcast, “Things That Matter,” in partnership with the Nebraska Synod and Nebraska Lutheran Campus Ministries. It’s weekly interviews and faith thoughts. Get more info at

Practice Discipleship webinars are in full swing! They’re happening live throughout the winter and spring, and the recordings of past webinars are archived and available at

We welcome Rev. Mike Ward to his new role within the Network of Director of Partnerships and Organizational Development. Mike has a long history with the Network and is currently a partner with GSB Fundraising. Mike will be working to develop new partnerships and to develop an overall fundraising strategy.


THE CHURCH IN/IS THE PUBLIC SPHERE by Cheryl M. Peterson When I was serving my first call in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, my husband and I regularly went to the movies on our day off which was Friday. One evening, when we were queuing up to buy our tickets, I spotted one of our youth members in line to see the same movie. I waved to her and said, “Hi Emily!” She laughed nervously, almost shrieking, like she had seen a two-headed dog. I wondered at first if she was embarrassed to be seen by her pastor (though as I recall the movie was PG!), but when I asked her why she reacted the way she did to seeing me, she said, “I didn’t know pastors went to the movies!” Too often, people—even some in the church— think of the spiritual life as calling one out of the world and into some perfect Christian community. But Luther and the Reformers taught that our baptismal calling draws us into the world, not out of it! As Timothy Wengert has put it, “Daily life is Christian life!” Christian life is “this worldly.” Of course, that means more than going to the movies, but engaging the arts can be one way that we engage the world. Similarly, when we think of the church, we need to beware of thinking of the church in the same way: as a community that is called out of the world, into sanctuary, a safe place of retreat away from the troubles of the world, where we can pray to God without having to worry about the problems of society, and where we can enjoy fellowship and deepen relationships with other Christians. On the one hand, being the church means being gathered by the Holy Spirit for worship through Word and Sacrament, where we do pray to God and enjoy communion with God and with one another. However, we do not do this as a retreat from the world, but so that we can be strengthened to engage the world, to serve the neighbor in need, etc. The same Holy Spirit that “calls us through the gospel” (Luther’s Small Catechism) also sends us out as God’s people in the world, to bear the gospel in all we do. German Lutheran theologian Edmund Schlink calls this the “double-movement” of the Spirit. Historically Lutherans have been good at stressing the first movement—of gathering—but not as good at stressing the second movement—of sending.

Being a “sent church” means that when we leave worship on Sunday morning, we don’t cease being the church. We are called to bear the good news of Jesus Christ in what we say and do—and not only as individual Christians, but as the corporate and public body of Christ in the world. In other words, we are called to be a public church. What do I mean by “public” church? It can mean a number of things, actually. For many people, the phrase “public church” signifies a church that addresses public issues. This can make some people nervous, because they immediately think of politics, and start worrying what it means for the church to get involved in politics. It can mean that (and there are political issues—like poverty and racism— that the church should speak out more on), but I want to begin with a more basic understanding of “public,” one that is embraced by the ELCA. A public church, according to the Strategic Direction for the ELCA Churchwide Organization, is one “that witnesses boldly to God’s love for all that God has created.”

In other words, a “public church” is one that is willing to be “public” about who it is and what it believes, and to enact that in its life and ministry out in the world. In other words, a “public church” is one that is willing to be “public” about who it is and what it believes, and to enact that in its life and ministry out in the world. As Lutheran ethicist Cynthia Moe-Lobeda reminds us, the adjective “public” is most properly contrasted with “private,” not “personal.” As individual Christians, each one of us has a personal faith in Jesus. But while our faith is personal, it can never be private. The purpose of the church is not to be a “private club;” God did not bring 5

the church into existence in order for people to privately experience God’s grace in Jesus Christ and then go about their daily lives like we always do. Rather, the church exists, as Acts 1:18 states, to be a witness to the power of God in Jesus Christ. As we already noted, the Holy Spirit who gathers us around the gifts of God in Word and Sacrament (that is, the reading and preaching of God’s Word and the receiving of Holy Communion) is the very same Spirit who sends us out into the public and to be a public witness to the good news. The church is called to be a public people. One way the church does this is by being a certain kind of “public” space itself. The New Testament describes the kind of community the church is called to be as “koinonia” or “communion.” This Greek term is often translated in English as “fellowship” but the meaning goes deeper than that: it means to participate in or share in something in common: our life in Jesus Christ. The communion we share with each other is grounded in the communion we share with Christ Jesus. New Testament scholar John Reumann has noted that Paul uses it less as a synonym for church and more as a description of the church’s character or way of being in the world. Specifically, it refers to the way to which believers are called, “namely fellowship with Christ and the Spirit, participating in the blessings of Jesus’ death and being a part of Christ’s body, through faith, with responsibilities for mission, care of the saints locally and in Jerusalem, and hospitality and benevolence.” In Acts 2:44-47, we see this way of life echoed in this early Christian community that has devoted itself to koinonia (Acts 2:42). The community is described in terms of togetherness and generosity, in which members share all things in common with a specific concern for the needy among them and for the goodwill of all people. Living as a koinonia of sharing out in the world can itself be a witness to the world. According to early church father Tertullian, the most compelling thing about the early Christians, according to the pagans, was “how they loved each other.” The way that the Christians treated each other offered a contrast to the way of the world, and this powerful witness led many to become followers of Jesus.

But koinonia goes beyond the Christian community, even as it exists as a public in the world. The koinonia Christians share with each other is to be extended to the world. In other words, as a koinonia, the church is called to be a church for others, to move with vulnerability beyond its own borders and ethnicities (as we see happening in the rest of the Acts of the Apostles!), following Jesus in self-giving service for the sake of the neighbor, to bring good news and healing to a broken world, to feed the hungry and to reach out to the marginalized and the oppressed. The church can be this kind of “public space” itself, sharing and witnessing to the new life that it has received from Christ with others in word and deed.

say that the work we are called to participate in sometimes will look like service projects, at other times worship or art, and sometimes it will be prophetic or involve advocacy.

As the recently launched Augsburg College (Minneapolis) Youth and Public Church Initiative (YPCI) states, “A public church is a local congregation deeply engaged in working as a partner for the common good in its particular locale.” This intergenerational faith community will intentionally develop practices that engage all of the members of the faith community (particularly its youth) in “discerning and participating in God’s work in their neighborhood.” The YPCI goes on to

Being a public church in the first place means a church that gets out into and interacts with the public sphere, but it also means being a kind of “public”—a koinonia—which both witnesses to the power of the resurrection in its own life and listens deeply to the struggles and concerns of the larger public in which it finds itself, in order to promote the common good of all. In order to be a public church, we need not only the courage of our own convictions; we need the “bold, undaunted courage”

Whatever form it takes, the YPCI says that “it will always begin with deep listening out in the public square for the common good.” Deep listening only happens when we build relationships with those neighbors we don’t yet know, learning what their concerns are for the neighborhood (an excellent tool for doing this is the “one-to-one” conversation used by Congregation-Based Community Organizing), and walking alongside of them to find ways to address those concerns.


that Luther says can only come from the Holy Spirit. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses. . .” (Acts 1:8).

Cheryl M. Peterson is an ordained pastor in the ELCA, and associate professor of systematic theology at Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Columbus, Ohio). She is the author of Who is the Church? An Ecclesiology for the Twenty-First Century (Fortress, 2013).


A CHURCH FOR THE WORLD In You Lost Me, David Kinnaman and the Barna Group give us some helpful insight into why young adults leave our congregations ( They leave primarily because our congregations fail to engage them relationally. They also leave because we fail to engage them in the discernment of vocation, or how God is calling them to live out their faith in their daily lives. Lastly, they leave us because we fail to teach them wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to draw upon one’s knowledge in order to better understand and respond to particular experiences. Most young adults say their congregations either focused on knowledge (i.e., confirmation) or experience (i.e., mission trips) but did not help them learn how to use this knowledge to understand these experiences. In summary, we are losing our young adults because we have not invested in them relationally, we have not helped them hear God’s call in their lives and we have not helped them think theologically about the world.


norm. It does not engage us in the tasks of discerning and proclaiming God’s radical redemptive work in our world. On the other had, praxis happens when our practices empower young people to tap into their faith commitments, the confessions of their church, and the biblical narrative in order to seek out, point out and participate in God’s redemptive work in the world. Domestication maintains a benign church culture that exists for itself. Praxis empowers a congregation to become aware of the movement of God’s spirit for the sake of the world. I imagine the church should have always been about praxis and, in fact, most likely always thought it was about praxis. However, when church attendance was the societal norm, the local congregation did not have to worry about praxis. No one was expecting praxis and no one was holding the church to this standard. Therefore, discipleship became about domestication and that was just fine because it was happening within the context of a larger culture that supported it.

Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educational theorist and leading thinker in the critical pedagogy movement. This movement is critical of traditional educational methods that (consciously or unconsciously) socialize learners into a hierarchical system that assumes those who have power will always have power and those without power will never have power. Freire spent his life working to deconstruct this system and construct a system of critical pedagogy among poor Brazilian farmers. His lessons have a lot to teach those of us in the church.

But when the culture shifted and church attendance was no longer the norm, domestication stopped working. People no longer automatically assume church is necessary for a good life. In response, we (the church) just grew angry and frustrated and started to blame things like youth hockey for our demise. We continue to assume that we are providing what people really need, even if they don’t realize they need it. But we aren’t providing what people need. We offer multiple opportunities to be domesticated into the benign culture of “church.” But the general population isn’t buying it.

In his classic text, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire says all education is either about domestication or praxis and I think this is true of discipleship as well. Discipleship is always either towards domestication or towards praxis. Domestication happens when our practices only indoctrinate or socialize young people into proper church culture and behavior. The (unspoken) priority is to see younger generations conform to the social

People are disengaging from church in record numbers. And those of us in the church continue to gather and join voices in blaming youth hockey and parents and band trips for our falling numbers. We debate, design and sell even better and more effective methods of domestication - never bothering to realize that the people don’t want to be domesticated, they wanted to be liberated. You cannot do-


by Jeremy Myers mesticate someone into the wildness of God’s Holy Spirit. You cannot domesticate someone into the radical freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These things can only be known and understood through praxis. Domestication is oppressive, praxis is liberating. We need to discover praxis-oriented methods of discipleship and faith formation. This leads us to the need for public churches.

FROM PRIVATE TO PUBLIC Historically, the term “public church” has been used to reference the political and/ or ecumenical arm of the church. A church might see itself as being public when it is engaged in writing social statements or in faith-based community organizing. A church might also see itself as being public when it is involved in ecumenical or interfaith activities such as prayer breakfasts and memorial services. I don’t want us to limit our imaginations to only these two ways of existing in the public square. A public church is a church that exists for the sake of the world rather than for the sake of its own survival. A public church is a local congregation actively engaged in its context (neighborhood, town, city, village, etc.), listening to the needs and aspirations of its neighbors in order understand what the good news of Jesus Christ might sound like in that setting. A public church has no interest in domesticating individuals or families into its wearisome cultural antics. Rather, a public church is constantly engaged in praxis as it seeks to understand what gospel means right here and right now and as it seeks to create meaningful ways to proclaim that unique gospel. Lastly, and this is most important for the proposal in this article, a public church is one that sees its engagement in the public square as its primary method or process of discipleship. It is this method that we have to discover and put into practice. Here is one idea . . .

THE ART OF BEING PUBLIC A group of 10 youth and family ministers have been meeting for the past year at Augsburg College as the Youth and Public Church Initia-

tive’s Fellows program ( We’ve identified four artforms, or movements, that we think will help congregations initiate a praxis-oriented approach to discipleship that moves the congregation into the public square for the sake of the world. This method owes a lot to the methods of practical theology, experiential education and critical pedagogy.

Accompaniment is the first movement of the congregation out into the public life of its community. Before we can assume that we know what our communities need, we must first do the hard work of listening to and knowing them. Faith is formed as we develop practices that enable us to walk alongside and listen to our neighbors. Interpretation is the second movement of the congregation into its theological claims and the biblical narrative. Our theological commitments and God’s promises shape the way we interpret what we encounter through accompaniment and those encounters shape the way we interpret our theological commitments and the biblical narrative. Faith is formed when we develop practices that enable us to put our neighbors’ stories, our stories and God’s story into conversation. Discernment is the third movement of the congregation into a posture of listening to God’s spirit. It is shaped by a willingness to see ministry as the process of following the Holy Spirit rather than a process of domestication. Faith is formed as we learn how to pray, wonder and debate about who God is calling us to become and what God is calling us to do within our communities.

Proclamation is the fourth movement of the congregation back into the community with God’s good news. Our compassionate listening, theological interpretation, and faithful discernment help us to identify what Christ’s good news might sound like or look like for our communities right here and right now. Our proclamation might take the shape of public worship, protest, service, funky rituals in the town square or flash mobs at the high school football game. Faith is formed as we learned to articulate (in word and deed) Christ’s good news for our communities in meaningful and public ways. This experience of intentionally engaging our neighbors in the public square and hearing their stories will cause us to begin asking theological questions which will draw us back into our theological claims and the biblical narrative. When this happens our congregations begin to mine the depth of our tradition not because it is what we had scheduled for that Sunday’s education hour but because they are truly seeking to make meaning out of what they have encountered in the public square. This process invites the entire congregation into both theological inquiry and discernment as we seek to understand what God would have us do and whom God would have us be in the situations that arise. But it does not end there. The entire congregation learns how to articulate Christ’s good news in the public square in new and innovative ways.

A CHURCH FOR THE WORLD These artforms are not a silver-bullet. They will not solve the church’s number problems. They will not make youth hockey go away. But they might help your entire congregation learn to seek, notice, articulate and participate in Christ’s redeeming work in the places where they live and work and go to school. A church that exists for the church will employ practices of domestication to secure its future. A church that exists for the world will invite its entire congregation into the praxis of seeking to proclaim news that is truly good in the public square for the common good. Only a congregation that is striving to be public will be able to form a faith that is vital for our world today.


A POSTSCRIPT ON BEST PRACTICES Our Fellows have also come to the realization that it is not necessarily helpful to produce a list of “best practices” or ways of putting these artforms into practice. We think this is unhelpful for two reasons. First, such practices don’t necessarily exist yet. There are some promising practices but none that have been used with children, youth and families enough to prove their effectiveness. Second, we firmly believe that it is the process of developing these practices that will help form faith in new ways in your congregations. The four artforms invite you and your congregation into a process of discerning and creating new practices that form faith and proclaim good news in your setting. Instead, we like to offer what we call “best questions”. Our hope is that as your congregations faithfully wrestle with these questions you will begin to discover the unique practices that enable your congregation to engage in accompaniment, interpretation, discernment and proclamation. As you learn, I hope you will be in touch with us and share your discoveries. What works? What doesn’t? How is God moving your congregation into your public square? Accompaniment 1. What are the assets of our community? 2. What are the hopes/ dreams/ aspirations of our community? 3. How/ where/ when is our community experiencing heartache? 4. How/ where/ when is our community experiencing joy? 5. Where is there life? Where is there death? 6. What practices enable us to truly walk alongside and listen to the stories of our context? Interpretation 1. How might we think theologically about what we’ve heard in our community? 2. What biblical narratives might help us better understand what we’ve heard? 3. What theological claims do we make as a church that might help us understand what we’ve heard? 4. Where did we hear Law? Gospel? 5. Where did we experience God’s presence? Absence? 6. What practices would enable us to guide our people through this interpretive process?

WINTER 2014 Discernment 1. Given all we’ve seen and heard in our community and in our tradition, what do we believe we are being called to do? 2. What is the bad news for our community? 3. What is the good news for our community? 4. How are we being called into our community to proclaim Christ? 5. Who is Christ for us today? To whom is Christ calling us today? 6. What practices would enable us to lead our congregation through this process of discernment?

Proclamation 1. What is the Good News we wish to proclaim to our community or lift up from within our community? 2. What is the best way, place and time for us to do this proclaiming? Service? Ritual? Worship? Celebration? 3. Who do we need as partners? 4. What skills or knowledge do we need in order to proclaim this message in this way? 5. How will we do this in partnership with


our community and in a way that honors the gifts and assets present in our community? How will we know if we succeeded? What practices would enable us to guide our people through this process of innovatively proclaiming Christ in the public square?

Jeremy Myers is a religion/ youth ministry professor at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. He is a commissioned Associate in Ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. His current academic interests include articulating a vocational understanding of youth and a public understanding of church. He lives with his wife and two children in St. Paul, MN. Bluegrass music, strong coffee and huge pancakes are a few of his favorite things.



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PUBLIC CHURCH: WHAT YOUTH SEE by Josh Graber One of the lessons I learned as a youth director and one of the lessons I’m sure any one who works with youth has also learned is that youth aren’t dumb. They play dumb sometimes, sure, and they may even seem to play dead sometimes, right in the middle of what you think is a great lesson, but they are usually listening. They are paying attention even when it seems like they aren’t. And late at night during a lock in or traveling back from a mission trip, when you get that chance to talk with them one-to-one, they will reveal a whole world of ideas, emotions, and faith that you probably could not see on the surface. Youth are not dumb. They notice things, they are curious, they pay attention. When they see their fellow youth group leaders graduate from high school and go off to college or the work force or their parent’s basements and not show their face in a church and not connect with a faith community, they know that this time in youth group has an expiration date. The least common demographic in church involvement is young adults. Statistics back this up but any youth group participant could tell you that too. We as a church do many great things for youth and provide opportunities for young adult leadership as camp counselors, campus ministries, and service leadership in places other than congregations, but it is leadership that churches and youth rarely see. Even when they do see these examples, they may not translate into a faith that is a daily experience and a life changing call. Youth need to see that young adult years are not years to spend away from the church; years to graduate from the need for faith communities. This is the time that faith communities most need to step up to support the human growth and contemplation of major life decisions and personality formation that occurs during young adult years. We need to be there for young adults. If we are connecting with young adults, and the church and world sees that, it will be the best possible way to engage youth who are ready to grow up but not ready to grow out of the faith. Youth are not dumb and care more about their faith communities than they will admit.

PUBLIC CHURCH: A VISION OF WHAT’S NEXT I have had the privilege to work with the leaders of Lutheran Year programs like Young Adults in Global Mission, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, Urban Servant Corps, and Border Servant Corps. Along with the great tradition of Youth Encounter these ministries have given support and a transformative community experience for young adult Christians for decades. Now we are working together to share these experiences more openly and publicly to the rest of the church and especially so that youth can see that there are opportunities for them to live out their faith even more deeply when they finish their youth group years. This winter we will begin a push to let churches and youth groups know more about these opportunities. For the most part these experiences are seen as service year opportunities, but there is room for new ideas and models that can reach young adults that may not see the church as having anything to offer them more than membership in a club that is owned and operated by older generations.

PUBLIC CHURCH: ENGAGING THE CHURCH AND CULTURE IN ABUNDANT LIFE ALT Year is a new model that creates space for young adults to boldly live out their faith with peers, the church, and society. ALT stands for Abundant Life Together and it is a call for all people in our church to live into the abundant life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10) - a life full of joys and challenges, faith and doubts. It takes what has often been seen as the major weakness of our church, a lack of young adult participation, and gathers a critical mass of young adults in a specific location making it a strength for area congregations to gather around, support, and learn from. The young adults participate in service leadership at area congregations, ministries, and nonprofits, they connect with mentors who teach them a skill or help them pursue a vocational interest, they have bible studies and do spiritual practice exercises with area pastors, they learn life skills like cooking,


financial management, and group dynamics. They pursue intellectual growth connected to faith conversation through texts, films, and speakers around monthly themes like Freedom, Imagination, Community, and Vocation. This abundant way of living and learning is a relational “grade-free” model based on a 150 year old Scandinavian Folkehøgskole Tradition that values learning for learning’s sake and treats life as a curriculum.

PUBLIC CHURCH: FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP ALT Communities also gather around the strengths and resources of the community that hosts them. Our first site in Toledo, Ohio chose to focus on “Faithful Citizenship” because of its rich political tradition, its placement in the state that determines all presidential elections, the placement of the host church in the midst of the government plaza in downtown Toledo. The windows of the ALT Room in Saint Paul’s (the host church for ALT Year Toledo) looks out on the courthouse, the police station, and the government center, with the Toledo Blade Newspaper building and the Valentine Theater in the periphery. I like to say that this Faithful Citizenship site is planted in the middle of every season of the Wire (an HBO Series about the interconnected participants in civic life in Baltimore). In one of our first sessions I looked out on the government center and saw that the flags were lowered so we had a discussion and prayed for those affected by the shootings in Washington D.C. Most of our sessions and prayers are interrupted by the sound of sirens passing by whether going from a police station, hospital, or fire house to help someone in need. The sirens are a constant reminder of the needs of the community and to pray for those who are suffering.

PUBLIC CHURCH: MEETING COURAGEOUS LEADERS One of the values that we hold up in ALT is “Courage”. Courage is what is lacking in our church. Our belief is that if our church leaders


were better at embodying courage, especially the courage to change, courage to create something new, our voice among young adults would be magnified. When we talk about a Public Faith we should understand that this is a faith defined by the courage to speak into a culture that may not understand or agree with us. The ALT Year participants are introduced to courageous Christians from our tradition like Luther and Bonhoeffer, who followed their faith even to the point of risking their lives. They learn about the prophets of the Bible and the Prophetic Imagination that has called empires to tension points of transformation. They identify leaders around them or from their past experience that they also see as courageous and willing to stand up to the status quo in order to help others and follow their calls faithfully. We learned about Martin Luther King Jr., Oscar Romero and the musician Rodriguez, a Detroit musician who affected the end of apartheid through his music. Learning the courage to speak and to take action are areas that the group needs to be challenged in and they often challenge each other to live out their faith more deeply. But the best way to be inspired to live out a courageous faith is to meet people who live out their faith in courageous ways in the very moment of our own context. Our first Faithful Citizenship Session happened to be on the first day of the government shutdown this fall. One of the hopes of ALT Year groups and especially this one in Toledo focused on Faithful Citizenship is that these young adults may be able to give older generation a better model for dialogue than what they see on TV and hear on the radio from D.C. and elsewhere. The polarized paralysis of government this year was evidence of the need, but the group in Toledo got to see first hand that change is possible through civic action and living into a role of public church participants. Early on the morning of the shutdown our ALT Facilitator gave me a call telling me that her husband, a local pastor at Salem Lutheran in Toledo’s Northside neighborhood, was

organizing a trip to visit politicians’ offices with some of his parihsioners, in order to advocate for the poor who he said would be most quickly affected by the shutdown. I pondered how involved to get in the action. Our pilot group is made up of a pretty good cross section of the American political system from anarchists, to liberals, to conservatives. We invited Pastor Vince to come talk with us along with his parishioners and they let the group know why they felt this action was important and was part of making their faith active and engaged with the world. One of the ALT Participants joined them at their Toledo action where they attempted to go to a Senator’s office. They had media cameras with them and when they were denied, the media revealed that the senator was meeting with corporate lobbyists at the same time in Washington D.C. Vince was in the middle of a news story and in the middle of being public church. He came back at the end of the week and shared the experience of the group and the news footage from local TV about the Toledo event. At the same time he was presenting, we learned that the Senator, perhaps in need of good publicity, had begun floating compromise bills conceding some points to the opposition party. I doubt the compromise went anywhere, but thanks to Pastor Vince sharing his action with us, the young adults is ALT Year were able to see first hand what being Faithful Citizens could look like and how these actions of lived out faith can make an impact and a chain reaction that we may not see at the beginning.

PUBLIC CHURCH: BEING COURAGEOUS LEADERS Too often we wait to act until something else happens. We wait for the reaction as a link in the chain, but don’t know how to start it. It’s my hope that the young adults who go through ALT Year will be exposed to so many people who practice an active public faith that they are able to easily live into the same faith. But more than copying the best of our Christian example, I sincerely hope that these young adults will be able to lead us with good


courage and creativity to new ventures of faith. And that those actions and lives of faith are public to the people who most need to see their future in those lives of faith…our youth.

Josh Graber Pastor Josh Graber was a youth director during seminary and a pastor for young adults in his first call before becoming the Mission Developer for ALT Year, a new “gapyear” experience for young adults age 18-25.


by Jennifer Clark Tinker

My experience with church life got supercharged when my mom became the chair of the Social Ministry committee at my home church near Columbus, Ohio. All of a sudden I was involved in missions and ministries outside of our safe suburban church, and to diverse communities in my state. By the time I was in high school, serving and being in the public sphere had become ways of life for me. I was a pretty good kid but I don’t think I was that exceptional in terms of what I was willing and able to do. These experiences were formative for me though and were part of how I became interested in becoming a Lutheran Deaconess. Whether youth go into churchwork or not, hands-on service can build young people up by connecting them with others and bolstering their confidence for a life of faith. What follows is a series of seven insights about the ways in which serving builds connections and confidence for youth. Each insight is accompanied by a vignette of an experience I’ve had with service in my youth.

1. SERVICE PROVIDES MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS FOR YOUTH AND PARENTS The summer before sixth-grade my parents volunteered to start a Vacation Bible School class for older youth. My brother (two years older than I) and I were both too old for the usual age range for VBS, but my mom envisioned a class for middle-schoolers. Her big idea was to take us on field trips to different social service agencies around the area. The idea was approved and my parents were put in place to lead the class. A number of other middle-schoolers joined the class and we had a real critical mass! Many times in the church I hear grown-ups in charge debating the involvement of parents in youth ministry. Sometimes I even hear parents say, “My kid doesn’t want me around.” I can’t speak for all youth of all time, but for me, when my parents led that VBS class, I was proud to be their kid. When one student after

another decided to join this new class which my parents started, I was impressed that my folks could command the involvement of my peers. Knowing my parents were in charge did not hinder my engagement with the class. Instead, I felt loved and cared for by my parents that they would create a class just for my age-group. Not all youth will handle parental involvement the same way, but many are more okay with parents being around than is often acknowledged. Furthermore, the bonding that can happen with parents involved in ministry is treasured by parents and youth alike.

2. DOING SERVICE TOGETHER BUILDS CONNECTIONS AMONG YOUTH One of the field trips that we took that year for VBS was to a Lutheran Social Service resale shop. We got a tour of the facility and then we got put to work (willingly, of course). Our big task for the day was to paint the very large tables that held the clothes on display. Our visit was when the resale shop was closed, so we were the only people there besides staff. As we worked side-by-side painting the bins we also talked and laughed together-I’m sure there were some inside-jokes born that day. We were glad to do something helpful, but in the process we also got to know one another better and began to gel as a group.

And I liked it. And the next year when it was time for the hunger walk again, I was eager to participate. Eventually they changed the walk to be 10k instead of 10 miles. To be perfectly honest, I was disappointed. The old “no pain, no gain” adage comes to mind. I still did the walk when it was only 10K, but somehow it didn’t feel quite the same. I felt like being physically challenged to go the 10-mile distance helped me feel solidarity with those for whom we were walking. It was like the toll that it took on me was somehow a signal that what I was doing was important. I mean, I know the funds raised were important, but also significant to me was that I was putting my whole self into the effort. Later in life, as a Deaconess, I went with church members on a hunger walk where there was the choice of either a 1K or a 10K. I was so pleased to see when families with youth willingly chose the longer walk. I really do think that youth are willing to go the distance for something they believe in. We needn’t oversimplify a task or shorten the duration of something in the belief that they can’t handle it. They can go further than we think.



Another project that I got involved in during middle school was serving meals at Faith Mission, a homeless shelter in inner-city Columbus. Providing the meals had two phases, first a bunch of people got together at the church a few days ahead of time to prepare the food that we would serve. I enjoyed the communal aspect of chopping and assembling and visiting together throughout the process.

Another one of the projects that my mom was in charge of at church was an annual hunger walk. When we first began participating, it was a 10-mile walk all around Columbus. I wasn’t too sure if I could do it when I first heard about it. But even though it was exhausting I did it.

Then the real fun was on the day that we packed up everything we had prepared and we took it to Faith Mission to serve it to the patrons. Once we got there we bustled around the kitchen a bit and then we had the

There’s nothing like a group project to help build community among youth.



chance to go over to the chapel for a brief worship service led by our pastor. I liked going to the chapel because the energy among the patrons was very different than what I was used to on Sunday mornings at my suburban church. I loved hearing the “Amens” out loud at non-scripted times. Then the patrons would file over to the dining room and we would serve the meals from a window in the kitchen. It took several church members working assembly-line style to get the meals plated and handed to the patrons. I especially enjoyed being in the window so I could interact with the patrons. One time when I was in the window serving fruit and rolls, a patron insisted, “Don’t give me any of that fruit!” I know there’s a feeling among some altruists that “beggars can’t be choosers” but I think that’s a terrible idea. I found it incredibly grounding when this person--this homeless person--asserted his personhood by telling me what he did not want. After being momentarily taken aback by the request I offered an extra roll instead. I could’ve stayed in the back of the kitchen the whole time. I didn’t have to go to the chapel. I certainly didn’t have to be in the window. But I wanted to be face-to-face with the people. Even as an awkward middle school kid, I could handle face-time with the folks we were helping and it made the experience all the richer.

5. YOUTH GAIN CONFIDENCE BY HAVING THEIR IDEAS INCORPORATED INTO THE MINISTRY Another advantage of being in the window passing out the plates at Faith Mission was I could make observations about how the distribution process was going. The first few times I was involved, we had the plastic flatware and napkins set out for patrons to pick up. Picking up each piece of flatware and the napkin oneby-one made the serving take longer than it should. I grabbed some of each item, ducked into the back of the kitchen and started wrapping the flatware in the napkins to make all the items easier to manage. This streamlined the serving process considerably. The only problem was, I was missing out on getting to be in the window interacting with

the patrons! I decided to spend time at church wrapping the flatware and napkins well ahead of our next visit to Faith Mission. As time went on, I recruited peers to help me with this behind-the-scenes Ministry of Flatware. Naturally, I wasn’t the first person to ever think of wrapping flatware in a napkin, but no one in our group had thought of it for the context of serving a meal at Faith Mission. But I, as a youth, created this small ministry that served the larger purpose.

6. SERVICE CAN PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH TO CONNECT MORE DEEPLY THAN WE MIGHT EXPECT Each year a handful of youth from my church would head to Southern Ohio to join other youth to lend a hand at an ecumenical work camp. Most of the projects we did were homeimprovement projects. There was a lot of painting--indoors and out, and there was a bit of yardwork too. At one home, several of us were finishing up our work when one of the older girls from my church went to ask the homeowner a question about the job. The girl was gone longer than we expected.

junior in high school. It was a delightful group of students and they were eager to learn. The curriculum that year was for the Old Testament. I particularly remember teaching about Noah and the flood. I enjoyed making the details of the story come alive by relating the size of the ark to the familiar high school football field and by relating the idea of a massive flood to recent flooding we had in our community. One of the intangibles about the experience of teaching that class was I got to be a big person modeling faith for those kids. Just as Sunday School teachers had been significant faithbearers in my life, I got to do the same for the children I had in class. I didn’t have to be all grown up or hold a Theology degree as I do now. As a youth I was able to pass on the faith to others.

CONNECTED & CONFIDENT The numerous opportunities I had to be involved in service during my youth provided connections and confidence that have undergirded my life of faith and service in Christ. Though not all youth are called to formal ministry, as baptized believers, we all are called to lives of service in Christ’s name for the sake of the world. And we’re never too young to start!

It turned out that the homeowner felt a positive connection with this youth and began to share parts of her story with my friend. The young woman was indeed a very good listener and a compassionate soul. When she later explained why she had been delayed, she spoke with a sense of awe about the trust the homeowner placed in her. My friend held the woman’s story as sacred and in this way ministered to the homeowner at a very deep level.

Jennifer Clark Tinker is a Lutheran Deaconess living in rural Texas. She’s contemplative and discerning, yet bursts out laughing at a good joke - sometimes even in church where her husband is the pastor. Jennifer homeschools her son and tries to bring out the best in him. Jennifer’s blog, Living Faith, is at jenniferclarktinker.wordpress. com and she is a Spirituality Editor at Life & Liberty at If she had more time she would crochet squares, lots and

7. SERVING GIVES YOUTH CONFIDENCE TO PASS ON THEIR FAITH I appreciated the ministries of Sunday School and VBS as a youth. I was disappointed when I finally was too old to be a participant in VBS anymore. I kept coming back year after year as a helper and eventually became an assistant teacher. I loved teaching VBS so much that I volunteered to fill a vacancy for the third and fourth grade Sunday School teacher when I was a


lots of squares.


Cindy Paulson currently serves as Director of Children and Family Ministry at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, MN.

What is the public sphere (context) that your congregation lives within?

Provide support to children, youth, and families in our surrounding area by: Financial and material support to Oasis for Youth, a non-profit organization serving homeless youth in our local community. Support comes from a church pledge to give 10% from special fund drive, and Sunday school offering monies and material donations are dedicated to Oasis. Outreach to community children with special events three times a year (Spring Party for young children, End of the Year party for school-aged children and youth, and Trunk or Treat event in October) Provide free preschool education to nonEnglish speaking families at our licensed preschool.

How does your ministry with young people step into the public sphere?

We are known as “the church with the flags” that likes kids (we have three flagpoles with solid color flags that change with the church season). We are on a main thoroughfare, so coming and goings of groups of people are highly visible as are our outside activities including events referenced above, as well as a Rally Day 5K and fun run through the neighborhood, Wednesday night kid/youth activities, preschool activities, playground open to neighborhood use, and children’s activities outdoors during summer worship.

What is the public perception of your ministry with children and youth?

Awareness of public perception is from seeing how many non-members come to our events/programs and anecdotal comments.

How will your community be changing in the next 5 years?

Our community is in transition, with many new families moving in as elderly people move out. The community is becoming more diverse in ethnicity and non-traditional family units. There is growing need for scholarships for program fees (VBS, summer camp, Sunday school, preschool). These trends are sure to continue for several years to come.

How do you hope your children and youth ministry’s public presence will change in the next 5 years?

Honestly, I hope we are still around and going strong. There are 9 ELCA churches in Bloomington, in various stages of growth, stagnancy, or death. We aren’t dying, nor are we seeing much growth. We are a congregation of elderly people as our largest percentage of members, then middle-aged, then young families. We are bringing in more new families with young children, which seems to be about a third because parents grew up there, a third people moving into the neighborhood, and a third because their children experienced a program we offer (preschool, VBS, joining outdoor activities). I’ve just completed researching baptisms over the last five years: were parents connected to SLLC as active participants, or in a previous life, or non-members but connected to a program, relative of member, etc. That was really telling, and how I could estimate the third/third/third example above. There is interest and hope to build a music program available to the community at no or low cost, things like instrumental or voice lessons. We are doing a music camp this summer in connection with our morning VBS as a start to this. We would like to be known for our warmth and welcoming to kids of all ages and types, and have ever growing numbers of kids and youth coming to events and to just hang around in our youth room. I think you know my theory, which fits this congregation pretty well: If you can get them in the door and make them feel safe, welcome, loved, and that this is a place for them, then God stuff comes easy!



Name and Position

Ariel Williams serves as Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Emanuel’s Lutheran Church in Seguin, TX.

What is the public sphere (context) that your congregation lives within?

Our public sphere is a small, aging, Southern community which is currently experiencing a lot of growth and transition.

How does your ministry with young people step into the public sphere?

We hold a weeklong Vacation Bible School Day Camp open to the community each summer (Pre-K through 8th grade). It is free and we feed the children and youth who attend snacks and lunch as we have many low-socioeconomically disadvantaged families in our community. Our goal is to provide a safe, stable, Christian environment for this particular week. Additionally a lot of interaction with the children and youth of the community happens on a relational level. I see them at community events, athletic events, music events, the park, the grocery store, etc. and make sure to say hello and ask how they have been. Every child we encounter needs to know they are loved and important.

What is the public perception of your ministry with children and youth?

The public perception is that our children and youth ministry is safe, nurturing, and welcoming to everyone. Even those who belong to other congregations and denominations. I have been told by my peers in the community as well as parents and community leaders that youth and family ministry at Emanuel’s is very highly regarded in the community.

How will your community be changing in the next 5 years?

Our community is experiencing a shift culturally. We used to be made up predominantly of Caucasians of German heritage. We are now predominantly Hispanic. We are also experiencing aging within the former majority. Additionally there is a shift from being an agriculturally based community to one of more industry with a lot of economic redevelopment and growth. (We’re getting a STARBUCKS…I’m so excited!)

How do you hope your children and youth ministry’s public presence will change in the next 5 years?

I hope the reputation of excellence, nurturing, and caring will continue. I hope current efforts being made to transition from being a child-tolerant congregation to a child-loving congregation will also continue. I am getting ready to begin seminary this fall and my greatest fear is that all we have built the past 4 years will crumble when I am no longer here to push forward. I want the ministry to grow and excel without me and 5 years from now look like something I could never have dreamed of on my own. I want equipped disciples to be the motivators, innovators, and leaders who strive for growth and renewal, not staff members.

contines on page 18 17

Name and Position

Rev. Alison Whitney Shane serves as Pastor at Poulsbo First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo, WA.

What is the public sphere (context) that your congregation lives within?

We are on a peninsula that functions both as small town and suburb of Seattle. Many people have lived here their whole lives, many have retired here, and young people find it too expensive to move here.

How does your ministry with young people step into the public sphere?

Our youth ministries revolve around family faith development and service in the community. Our engagement with the public sphere is in service.

What is the public perception of your ministry with children and youth?

How will your community be changing in the next 5 years? How do you hope your children and youth ministry’s public presence will change in the next 5 years?

Name and Position

I don’t know what the public’s perception is. Even in our service, we tend to fly under the radar. Since our youth ministries are family-centered there are some in the community, (and indeed in our own congregation) who have said to us that we have no youth ministries. Demographics suggest that our county is aging far faster than the rest of the state, and the state at a higher rate than most other states. By 2030, (ok, that’s more than 5 years, but these are the stats I have), one study suggests this community’s largest demographic will be over 65. I’m pleased with the engagement our families currently have in the public sphere. I would like people to know that this is a place where families are strengthened, but our main hope is that the public perception of “the Lutherans” will be, “oh, they’re the ones who are always helping” (including the kids) instead of, “oh, that’s the white church on the hill, isn’t it?”

Arlene Flancher serves as Director of Children’s Ministry at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, MN.

What is the public sphere (context) that your congregation lives within?

Wealthy, White, Suburban, Minneapolis.

How does your ministry with young people step into the public sphere?

Kids involved in leading worship on Good Friday and Christmas. We also do service-related activities that directly impact our community.

What is the public perception of your ministry with children and youth?

We have received positive feedback from our congregation about Children’s Ministry, including our Sunday school, VBS, and camping ministry options. We are aware of the perception because people tell us and because our programs our growing, especially our camping ministry.

How will your community be changing in the next 5 years? How do you hope your children and youth ministry’s public presence will change in the next 5 years?

Our community will be aging and become more ethnically diverse.

I would like our Children’s Ministry on Sunday morning to be known as the BEST place in Eden Prairie for kids, where kids are known by name and loved no matter what. I would also like to be very intentional about developing a robust family ministry that supports kids and parents worshiping together in church - and actively living a Christian life at home.



Name and Position

Joshua Kelly serves as Director of Youth and Family Ministry at Grace Lutheran Church in Hockessin, DE

What is the public sphere (context) that your congregation lives within?

Grace is in an affluent suburb of Wilmington, Delaware. Much of Delaware is founded upon the works of the DuPont family, and so the Fortune 500 company, based in Delaware, still creates a strong influence. Therefore many of our members are “Duponters” working for, or having worked for, this major industry. So while our membership tends to be very affluent, we are geographically very close to the super wealthy and the super impoverished.

How does your ministry with young people step into the public sphere?

Honestly, I’m not convinced that my ministry does step into the public sphere. It’s an issue I wrestle with frequently. The exciting news a brand new elementary school is being built on our property line, so they will be our new neighbors. I guess I better have a real plan in place addressing this question within the next year.

What is the public perception of your ministry with children and youth?

I believe that people looking for a church to come to believe we have strong, solid, and high functioning youth ministries because this congregation has a dedicated full time Director of Youth+Family ministries. So the conception is, they have a full time professional, the ministries must be good. I do believe the ministry that people observe from outside our congregation is very strong and faithful - especially for teens!

How do you hope your children and youth ministry’s public presence will change in the next 5 years?

I hope that we are a beacon to the community, a place known for welcoming all young people to come to this place and wrestle with faith and life, and reality. I hope we are an outpost of love. Real, genuine, Christ-like love, to students and their families. I hope when the public thinks about Grace, they think, there’s a place I know my children will be safe, loved, cared for, pushed, challenged, and developed into faithful Christ disciples. And a place where parents know they will be safe, loved, cared for, pushed challenged, and taught how to raise faithful young disciples.

Name and Position

Ingrid Frojker is Director of Children and Teen Ministries at Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church in St. Luis Obispo, CA.

What is the public sphere (context) that your congregation lives within?

The public sphere that my congregation lives within is a college town of 45,000 permanent residents. We have a large population of retired people due to the high cost of home prices. Also large population of families (6 elementary schools).

How does your ministry with young people step into the public sphere?

Our ministry tries to be visible within our public sphere. We accomplish this by having a college ministry, service projects in the community, and combining efforts with other churches within our city for larger projects.

What is the public perception of your ministry with children and youth?

The public perception of our ministry is focused primarily on Vacation Bible School. We are known as the church with a good VBS and we fill up quickly each year. We are also known favorably for our college ministry.

How will your community be changing in the next 5 years?

I don’t see our community changing too much in the next 5 years. There is a 1% growth cap in our city which keeps everything from growing and changing too quickly.

How do you hope your children and youth ministry’s public presence will change in the next 5 years?

I hope to be more visible in the community and to be known for more than a good VBS. I want to have more of a sense that we have family ministry rather than separate ministries within our church. 19


by Clint Schnekloth Brock Morgan portrays himself as a conservative evangelical, and that is his tradition. You hear it in the directions his conversations with young people go. You see it in some of his confessional commitments.

but Brock is willing to simply open himself up and lay on the line what he does, how he thinks, when he fails, and more. It’s really eye-opening.

I am not a conservative evangelical. I’m a Lutheran on the progressive side of the Protestant spectrum. Yet I loved this book. I love it because Brock is wide open to conservation with and learning from all over, and it shows. Two favorite chapters in this book include “The Way Forward: A Response to a Post-Christian World,” where Brock lists all the things conservatives typically dislikes about what they caricature as “liberal”--tolerance, spirituality, relativism, intellectualism, mystery--but then leans into them and shows how a conservative Christian can live them out in youth ministry. Great stories here.

The last two chapters are a wonderful melange of story-telling, practical advice for moving forward in youth ministry in a post-Christian world, and encouragement to spiritual practices that help the reader rest into the grace of Jesus. Brock and I may have different theological perspectives, but we both love Jesus and young people a lot. Which is what this book ends up being about more than anything else. Highly recommended.

Clint Schnekloth Clint

Brock Morgan Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake Up Call. The Youth Cartel, 2013.

I also appreciate the story in the next chapter on how he developed ministries in and with the schools, a missional rather than attractional model. His regular presence at a school opened space for the principal to invite him to teach courses on social justice in conjunction with the history department. The book also simply opens a window into the daily ministry of a youth worker. You may not agree with every decision or perspective,


Schnekloth is Lead Pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Fayettevile, AR. He is the author of Mediating Faith: Faith Formation in a Transmedia Era, and blogs at


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: Stay tuned at for Spring schedule!

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.

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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.


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.

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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! . Log in, and from there you can search for the ELCA Youth Ministry Network in the listing of approved organizations, and

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Mary Houck

Ascension Lutheran Church Foundation

Lisa Jeffreys

Kristen Baltrum

Jim LaDoux

Kris Bjorke

Nancy Laskowski

Melissa Chaddick

Lynn Leisen

Timothy Coltvet

Karla May

Carole De Jardin

Linda McPeak

Dori Fotsch

Julie Miller

Desta Goehner

Manuel Retamoza

Deborah Grupe

Tom Schwolert

Julie Hagen

Marilyn Sharpe

Peggy Hahn

Katie VanBeek

Barbara Harner

David Wolfe

Daniel Hofmann

Beth Wolslegel

make your designation! Thank you to all who have chosen the Network for your donations so far!

Laurie Hoium

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: Augsburg College ELCA Youth Gathering iGivings Lutheran Retreats, Camps & Conferences Luther Seminary Mission Investment Fund Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Silver Partners: Augsburg Fortress Publishing Luther Crest Bible Camp Lutheran Outdoors in South Dakota Lutheran Lutheridge+Lutherock Ministries GSB - Mike Ward Stewardship


Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp Trinity Lutheran College Trinity Lutheran Seminary Wartburg Theological Seminary Youth Encounter Youth Leadership, Inc.


A VIEW FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE THE CHURCH AT HOME So, I don’t have much space to carefully parse this broad synopsis I’m about to make, but I ask you to trust that I did actually learn something in my four semesters of Church history, and to excuse my simplification of two complicated movements. In the early 1800’s, the Oxford and Cambridge Movements aimed at moving the Church of England back toward various “Romish” practices, along with a theology of “real presence” in the Eucharist. As such, many priests were accused of “popery,” and were banished to inner-city slums, where they happily took up their incense and candles and made the best of it. One very positive result was that these parishes became places where the cities’ poorest residents could have a weekly dose of beautiful music, flowers, candles, and a brief escape from the gray dirty world around them. Last year, I finished up a three-year commitment in a blue-collar parish near Cleveland as the Priest-in-Charge. During my reign of terror, my admiration for the Oxford Movement priests could not be hid. I outlawed the fake flowers, insisted there would be no more singing to tracks, ordered wax candles, chanted the Preface each week, and on occasion imposed the use of top-notch incense. I was determined that Sunday morning would be a time that did not look like the rest of the week for my parishioners, and I was certainly

successful in achieving at least that one small goal during my time with those folks. Currently, I call myself a “Free-Agent Priest,” and when I’m in town on a Sunday, I fill in for other priests around the Diocese. A couple weeks ago, I took my place at the back of a huge procession to start the service, with torchbearers and a choir, and a soaring organ in a beautiful sanctuary, and I must say, it was transcendent. And in that moment, I was reminded of those Oxford-Movement priests as we began singing. Those priests who poured everything they could into their weekly services, because they knew it mattered. They knew that such experiences can transport one’s soul to a place that the rest of the week cannot possibly manage. And so here is my point: The Church should come out into the world more, I agree. It makes total sense for the Church to go into the world and baptize, just as Jesus said. But the Church also has a unique responsibility to transport the soul and senses in worship, because worship is what we do. What we do in worship is what defines us in our faith lives. Let us strive to make the 168th hour an inspiration that carries people through the other 167 of the week, however and wherever we might spend those hours.


by George Baum

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. —Collect for Musicians and Artists, BCP 1979

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.

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

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Connect journal winter 2014 167  

Issue Theme: 167

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