When participants converge upon New Orleans in July 2016 for the LCMS National Youth Gathering, they will be meeting under the theme "In Christ Alone."
Gathering planners met Jan. 20-21 in New Orleans -- working in a hotel conference room under the shadow of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that will play host to the Gathering's group events -- to begin the creative process that would lead to the development of the theme.
As the group approached the work, they "took some time to consider the LCMS 'Stand' triennial theme first," said the Rev. Mark Kiessling, associate director of LCMS Youth Ministry and director of the Gathering program. "After looking at the 'Stand' theme, what stood out was how we stand in Christ only because of what He did for us. That's the only way any Christian can stand."
Now that the theme has been determined, planning for Gathering programs and activities will begin later this summer. Guiding that work will be a focus on what Gathering participants will learn and take away from the event.
"In a world which makes many statements about what we stand for or against, we hope Gathering participants will hear the clear proclamation that it is in Christ alone that we are able to stand," Kiessling said.
In pointing out the significance of the Synod's 'Stand' theme and the connection the Gathering theme has to it, Kiessling said, "'Stand' certainly points to the Reformation and what we hold on to as Lutheran Christians in our everyday faith. As we reflect on the great blessing to the Church that was the Reformation, we can rejoice that almost 500 years later, we are still gathering together as God's people."
The LCMS National Youth Gathering -- the Synod's single largest event -- is a triennial event bringing together high school students and adult leaders for five days of learning, service and celebration of the faith. The next Gathering will be held July 16-20, 2016, in New Orleans.
About The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members -- 600,000 households -- in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.