Pastor’s Corner – NYG Update and Thank You for Support
This summer, a group of 16 youth were blessed with the opportunity to attend the National Youth Gathering of the LCMS in Minneapolis. Over 22,000 people from 49 states and even other countries were in attendance. This year’s theme was “Real. Present. God.” based on Psalm 46, which was the focus of each day’s Bible study. Days were spent at the convention center with opportunities for learning, serving, worshiping and joining in fellowship with others who were in attendance. Each evening all 22,000 attendees would gather at USBank Stadium (the home stadium of the Minnesota Vikings) for a mass event with worship and powerful speakers whose experiences tied into the theme of the event. From these speakers, we heard first-hand accounts about how God was present in their lives through experiences such as deaths of family members, being bullied throughout high school, ministering in Ferguson MO and surviving a school shooting.
Many of the stadium and convention center staff were unsure about hosting such a large gathering of teenagers, but the love of Christ was evident in all participants throughout the week. Over and over we heard stories about stadium security and local police commenting that this was the best group that has ever used the stadium and they were disappointed to hear that we would not be back next year.
A testimony from one of the youth who attended:
“NYG was an incredible experience. It was a lot of fun and very impactful. I really enjoyed the mass events at night. They gave the message to us in a variety of ways, using relatable skits and speakers which made the messages easy to receive. The music was also awesome. It’s really cool to see 20-some thousand people worshiping along with you, and it was clear that by the end of the week everyone felt comfortable worshiping and really doing everything without worrying what people would think, which was a result of the message that the events sent.”
An unexpected blessing for our youth was numerous opportunities to bond with their new Youth Director, Will LeBeau, who will be starting in August. In the midst of 22,000 people gathered we unexpectedly ran into Will numerous times each day. “There’s Will!” became a familiar exclamation throughout the week and our youth enjoyed opportunities to bond with him by attending sessions together and even sitting down to play UNO during some downtime.
Thank you to everyone who supported the group with prayers and financial contributions. God’s presence was evident throughout the entire trip and the preparations beforehand. Thank you to our adult volunteers (Chalyce Deterding, Tony Holub, Ali Monkemeyer, and Brian Monkemeyer) for volunteering their time and truly shepherding our youth during this trip. God was truly present through the event volunteers, adult leaders and the youth throughout the entire trip.
Andy Winkelman – Volunteer Leader
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”— Psalm 46:1