I’ve been to 8 or 9 National Youth Gatherings in my time – at least one pre-dating the ELCA. Honestly I have a hard time figuring out how many I’ve made it to. All but twice, I have attended in the role of a chaperone. Once I served as a hotel pastor when they still had planned activities at hotels, and this latest time now as a Youth Gathering Partner working the NT-NL booth in the Interactive Center. I was blessed to work with three young women from the synod: Alma from Emanuel in Dallas and Lynzy & Amanda from Calvary in Richland Hills. Alma shared many of her own photos and videos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/zmqPnkdN1YwKyCX36
This was a whole new experience for me and I have to admit I liked it. I still got to attend the nightly mass gatherings, but by staying out in one central location throughout the event, I saw far more people than I would have run into by chance.
The mass gatherings were impressive as always – full of energy and spirit and life. Have to admit though, my taste in music doesn’t much match these events any more.
The speakers were awesome and the closing worship fed my soul.
But my favorite thing was reconnecting with people from every part of my ministry life – from the congregation I attended before seminary to people I’ve met in my role on synod staff, and every congregation in between.
These Gatherings really are life-changing and inspiring events, and I am grateful to have been a part of such many. I’m also grateful to the church for realizing how important they are to so many lives. Next one is in three years!